There was one year I was watching Gordon Ramsey on one of his many shows, I can’t remember which one now, where he slammed into someone so hard for preparing meatballs in a way similar to the way I’m about to share with you. Apparently I have created mush balls in the eyes of Gordon Ramsey and I should never be allowed to cook again because clearly I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not going to lie… the day I heard him lash out about not cooking meatballs in a pan or oven first my heart really sank.
The thing is I have eaten meatballs cooked in the sauce since birth practically. Not only this though my mother’s meatballs have been something people will travel for and she makes hundreds at a time because they go so fast. For any family reading this now THIS IS NOT HER RECIPE. Haha! I am using coconut flour to bind the meatballs and it’s a completely different animal then breadcrumbs. These meatballs are inspired by her recipe.
The problem with making them the way she does while being on low carb is what to do with all that sauce afterwards? I can’t justify opening cans and cans of tomato sauce that I can only have 1/2 cup of at a time. The meatballs would go fast and then I would be left with a LOT of sauce. The idea of using up precious freezer space with sauce is not appealing to me either. I tried a few times cooking them in the oven and it was good enough I suppose. Good enough is just not the same and if you’ve ever had my mother’s meatballs you understand. It all started with the Not Crocker recipe for chicken crust pizza. I absolutely love the chicken crust recipe and for a long time we just called it “Meatball Crust” pizza. It finally dawned on me to try it out as a meatball. The thing is though, the shredded cheese added to the meat mixture really takes away from a real meatball texture. I also really wanted this to be easier than using tongs to turn over each meatball to make sure they cook evenly etc. It was a lot of work. I love meatballs and I almost never make them because I can’t do it in a sauce like my mom’s!
I came across a recipe for Italian Wedding Soup by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion in their (not low carb) cookbook Keepers. Low and behold they cook their meatballs in broth! (Well, yes, of course. It’s a soup!) This is the perfect solution for me though. I immediately went out and bought a pack of chicken drumsticks for $3.oo, roasted them for 20 mins and then made a broth. I added 1/2 cup store bought low carb pasta sauce to my broth for more flavor. Then it was the simple, or not simple matter, of getting my flour and seasonings correct!
I can remember as a child eating meatballs anywhere else besides home and being extraordinarily disappointed. I remember thinking, “Why are they all burnt? Why is it so dense??” I like a meatball that is soft, solid, and no weird crust on it. This is the best way to make a meatball. Aside from what’s proper or not though this is the easiest way to make a meatball as well! All I had to do was roll them out and plop them in the broth. Within 30 mins they were done. I’m very excited about this combination of seasonings. I think it came out really close to what I’m used to with Progresso bread crumbs. I hope everyone will enjoy this simple easy Italian meatball recipe like we do!
- 8-10 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup pasta sauce (no sugar added)
- 1 1/2 lbs meatloaf mix (veal, beef, and pork-8oz each)
- 5 tbsp Coconut Flour
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp dried parsley flakes
- 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning blend
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 6 tbsp almond milk
- Heat up 8-10 cups of chicken broth on medium heat in a big pot. (instructions below for making an easy homemade broth.)
- Combine coconut flour, parmesan cheese and seasonings. Mix well and set aside.
- Beat eggs with cream and almond milk.
- Combine meat, egg mix, and dry mixture with your hands until well combined and form into 20-22 medium sized meatballs.
- Add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce or store bought pasta sauce (no sugar added) to 8-10 cups chicken broth. (Make your broth easily at home with a pack of chicken drumsticks! Either roast them for 20 mins first or add directly to a pot of water with 1 tsp each salt and pepper! Let come to a boil and then simmer for an hour or two. Reserve chicken meat when you're done for another meal!)
- Add meatballs to your broth and cover until it starts to come to a boil (5-10 mins). Take the cover off and let the meatballs cook 20-30 mins longer. If there's any sort of gritty texture from the coconut flour then they haven't cooked long enough but they should be done within 30 minutes.Take meatballs out of the broth and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat!
- Top with no sugar added marinara and parmesan cheese.
- Double the batch and freeze half the meatballs on a lined pan. Place frozen raw meatballs into a ziploc and store for later. Frozen raw meatballs keep for 3 months in the freezer. Allow frozen meatballs to cook longer in the broth or be sure to defrost them ahead of time.
- 122 Calories; 9g Fat; 9g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; .68 net carbs per meatball