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[Primal] Meatball Wars


NeverThatBored

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Since meatballs are such a convenient food for meal prep and are relatively fast to make, I've decided to test a bunch of meatball recipes and see which one comes out on top! I'm sticking to primal recipes here, so while cheese in some might be ok, I'm avoiding any grains or sugars in the recipes. 

 

I'll update this first post with the rankings!

 

Current Rankings

  1. 5 Napkin Meatballs (contains cheese)
  2. Carrot Ginger Meatballs
  3. Fried chicken meatballs
  4. Emergency meatballs
  5. Mini turkey meatballs in spicy tomato sauce
  6. Thai mini meatballs
  7. Chicken pesto meatballs in marinara sauce
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Gargoyle Ranger | Level 47

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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This week I tried carrot ginger meatballs made with ground pork, and they are A++. They're an excellent mix of sweet, lightly spiced, and savory.

 

Next week's meatballs will have to be pretty good to top them!  (I did not make the carrot noodles with them.)

 

carrot-ginger-meatballs_plaidandpaleo-2.

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 47

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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I never thought of prepping meatballs for future dinners, so I'm just gonna lurk here and steal your ideas.

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25 minutes ago, Jarric said:

I never thought of prepping meatballs for future dinners, so I'm just gonna lurk here and steal your ideas.

 

They freeze really well too! 

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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2 hours ago, navis said:

Nice topic! Definitely following.  I agree, meatballs are very convenient for meal prep.

 

This one has been my go-to (I sometimes use turkey and/or omit the egg): http://nomnompaleo.com/post/114332618983/the-homegrown-paleo-cookbooks-lemon-ginger

 

Ooh! I'll add these to the list of meatballs to try! 

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 47

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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1 minute ago, rketterman said:

Excellent idea! I've also never considered prepping meatballs in advance.  These would be a quick and easy protein to heat up. I'll be keeping my eyes on this thread. 

 

They're great because you can throw them on top of pretty much everything. I put some in soup yesterday and it was glorious.

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

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Being alive is heckn swell. 

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This week I made chicken pesto meatballs in marinara. The meatballs by themselves are white speckled with green and are very pretty. They have a pretty mild flavor on their own without the sauce. The recipe has you make the pesto, so there's an extra step involved in making them. I'm sure you could use a premade pesto too though. With the sauce they're entirely edible. They're moist and stay together really well, but they aren't so good that they're worth the extra work to cook them. 

 

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

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Late to the party, but count me in. I also enjoy meatballs as a freeze-in-advance item; making all those tiny balls is tedious, so I usually make a triple batch so I have plenty to freeze and reheat later. Having a favorite tv show on to makes the tedium less painful. :) 

 

I too am a fan of store-bought pesto. The local grocery carries one made with kale as well as basil and it has a bright, almost citrusy flavor. Goes great on anything!

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Sorry for the double post, but I just read the recipe for the chicken/pesto meatballs. I think I'd leave out the pesto, mix in chopped cilantro instead, add quite a bit more garlic, and bake them for about 10-15 minutes before using or freezing them. I'd be shooting for not-quite-done so that reheating them after freezing would finish them off without overcooking them.

 

Also - did the original author say what the baking soda/cream of tartar fizzy water thing was supposed to do for the meatballs? I looked but must have missed it.

 

They sound like they'd be excellent as the chicken in a spicy chicken soup!

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"'It's time for a few small repairs,' she said." - Shawn Colvin

 

 

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I broke down and got a few lbs of beef.  The idea of meatballs as a convenience food has had me wanting to play around with some ideas.  So this week on my days off I'm going to be meatballing it up.

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On 10/1/2016 at 7:23 PM, Bookish Badger said:

 

Also - did the original author say what the baking soda/cream of tartar fizzy water thing was supposed to do for the meatballs? I looked but must have missed it.

 

They're a replacement for the function of breadcrumbs, I think. They help hold everything together. She explains somewhere in the comments. 

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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10 minutes ago, NeverThatBored said:

They're a replacement for the function of breadcrumbs, I think.

Ah. I've never bothered with replacing breadcrumbs; even before I went low-carb I honestly never thought that breadcrumbs or a milk-bread panade ever did much. An egg seems to bind them just fine.

 

It's true that the texture will be firmer, but I don't think that's really a bad thing. My husband now refers to traditionally made meatballs as "squishy." :P

 

"'It's time for a few small repairs,' she said." - Shawn Colvin

 

 

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If you want the texture of using bread crumbs with something more wholesome - try cooked quinoa.  It's my secret weapon for my meatloaf (along with BBQ sauce on top rather than ketchup - which my hubby still thinks is cheating).  Speaking of - I haven't made meatloaf in a long time - and I bet that meatloaf recipe would make great meatballs.  Hmmmm....

 

The mix:

1/4 cup quinoa (cook according to package instructions - use 1/2 - 3/4 c. chicken broth or water)

1 cup onion, chopped (if I don't have an onion, I'll cook 3 tbs of dried, minced onion with the quinoa)

2 large clove garlic, chopped

500g (about 20 oz - 1.5 lb - but I've used 2lb w\o issue) extra lean ground turkey (or beef - I both work just fine)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp sambal oelek or hot pepper sauce

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

1 egg

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

 

Mix it all together. For meatloaf I form it into a loaf  in a baking dish (this allows what fat there is to leave the loaf rather than cooking in the fat) so you can lift it out of the fat for slicing.  Top with your favorite BBQ sauce if desired.  Bake at 350 for about 50 - 60 min (internal temp should be at least 160 - USE A MEAT THERMOMETER).  Let rest 10 minutes to allow for easier slicing (if you can LOL).

 

For meatballs - just form into meatballs instead :)

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1 hour ago, Athaclena said:

If you want the texture of using bread crumbs with something more wholesome - try cooked quinoa.  It's my secret weapon for my meatloaf (along with BBQ sauce on top rather than ketchup - which my hubby still thinks is cheating).  Speaking of - I haven't made meatloaf in a long time - and I bet that meatloaf recipe would make great meatballs.  Hmmmm....

 

The mix:

1/4 cup quinoa (cook according to package instructions - use 1/2 - 3/4 c. chicken broth or water)

1 cup onion, chopped (if I don't have an onion, I'll cook 3 tbs of dried, minced onion with the quinoa)

2 large clove garlic, chopped

500g (about 20 oz - 1.5 lb - but I've used 2lb w\o issue) extra lean ground turkey (or beef - I both work just fine)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp sambal oelek or hot pepper sauce

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

1 egg

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

 

Mix it all together. For meatloaf I form it into a loaf  in a baking dish (this allows what fat there is to leave the loaf rather than cooking in the fat) so you can lift it out of the fat for slicing.  Top with your favorite BBQ sauce if desired.  Bake at 350 for about 50 - 60 min (internal temp should be at least 160 - USE A MEAT THERMOMETER).  Let rest 10 minutes to allow for easier slicing (if you can LOL).

 

For meatballs - just form into meatballs instead :)

 

Thanks for the recipe! The recipes in this thread are actually all primal, meaning grain-free, and quinoa is considered a grain in this context.

 

This sounds really yummy though. :) I'm craving meatloaf now! 

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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29 minutes ago, NeverThatBored said:

 

Thanks for the recipe! The recipes in this thread are actually all primal, meaning grain-free, and quinoa is considered a grain in this context.

 

This sounds really yummy though. :) I'm craving meatloaf now! 

Actually - it's not a grain.  One of the reasons I disagree with hard core primal\paleo purists about it.  It's been cultivated for 4000+ years and I'm sure part of the diet for the people of the area (Andes Mountains in South America) for far longer.  Our ancestors gathered as well as hunted.... I personally just limit carbs and try to choose which ones I do eat wisely.

 

But all that being said is certainly better for you than bread crumbs.

"Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

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1 hour ago, Athaclena said:

Actually - it's not a grain.  One of the reasons I disagree with hard core primal\paleo purists about it.  It's been cultivated for 4000+ years and I'm sure part of the diet for the people of the area (Andes Mountains in South America) for far longer.  Our ancestors gathered as well as hunted.... I personally just limit carbs and try to choose which ones I do eat wisely.

 

But all that being said is certainly better for you than bread crumbs.

 

Sighhhh. Sorry if I annoyed you. I know it's not technically a grain, but it's close enough in carb content etc that I group it into the grain category for my purposes, as do others. I don't think quinoa is that bad or anything, and I'm certainly not looking to get into arguments about it or promote any particular diet. I'm only testing primal-compliant recipes here because that's how I try to eat most of the time. 

 

 

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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25 minutes ago, NeverThatBored said:

 

Sighhhh. Sorry if I annoyed you. I know it's not technically a grain, but it's close enough in carb content etc that I group it into the grain category for my purposes, as do others. I don't think quinoa is that bad or anything, and I'm certainly not looking to get into arguments about it or promote any particular diet. I'm only testing primal-compliant recipes here because that's how I try to eat most of the time. 

 

 

It's not you - it's what "qualifies or doesn't" as paleo\primal seems so arbitrary to me (quinoa isn't ok but baking soda\cream of tartar are - tell me how available that was 200 years ago, much less 5000 - seriously - if you don't know - look them up :)).

But I'll stop now before I derail the thread :)  Enjoy the meatballs\meatloaf recipes and feel free to alter to fit your dietary needs!

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"Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

 My Recipe Thread

1st dozen-ish Challenges for the curious 12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,More attempts, #1 with Intro, Failed attempts

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Quick Bio: IT Consultant, Been in IT 25+ Years, Bounced around and landed as a traveling Consultant for a medium-sized Software Company. I love to cook & read, I travel for a living (although amount varies widely, sometimes I'm home for weeks, others I'm traveling for weeks on end), and trying to move out of Atlanta (plan in place, working to implement).

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3 minutes ago, Athaclena said:

It's not you - it's what "qualifies or doesn't" as paleo\primal seems so arbitrary to me (quinoa isn't ok but baking soda\cream of tartar are - tell me how available that was 200 years ago, much less 5000 - seriously - if you don't know - look them up :)).

 

It is totally arbitrary! I think pretty much all ways of eating are, tbh. You can find a study to support pretty much anything. I just know that it works for me when I actually do it, and it is the first thing that has, so it's what I do most of the time when I need results. Everyone's just got to find what works for them.

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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10 minutes ago, Athaclena said:

quinoa isn't ok but baking soda\cream of tartar are - tell me how available that was 200 years ag

Well, since cream of tartar is a by-product of wine making and traces of it have been found in ancient wine vessels, it's been around at least as long as wine has been :P  Though I'm still not sure what those ingredients are supposed to do in a meatball recipe.... my google-fu indicated that when used in meringue, c of t keeps the egg-white proteins from binding too much and squeezing water out - watery meringues make for sad pies. (And if I'm going to eat pie, it'd better be worth the carbs!) In baked goods, it's used to help activate the baking soda to improve leavening, and both apparently help improve browning.

 

But since meatballs don't need to rise and those cooked in sauce don't brown at all...I'm leaving it out when I try that recipe. Not because I'm suspicious of any food not on an arbitrary and frequently contradictory list, but because I'm lazy and am all for skipping unnecessary steps and ingredients.

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9 minutes ago, Bookish Badger said:

Well, since cream of tartar is a by-product of wine making and traces of it have been found in ancient wine vessels, it's been around at least as long as wine has been :P  Though I'm still not sure what those ingredients are supposed to do in a meatball recipe.... my google-fu indicated that when used in meringue, c of t keeps the egg-white proteins from binding too much and squeezing water out - watery meringues make for sad pies. (And if I'm going to eat pie, it'd better be worth the carbs!) In baked goods, it's used to help activate the baking soda to improve leavening, and both apparently help improve browning.

 

But since meatballs don't need to rise and those cooked in sauce don't brown at all...I'm leaving it out when I try that recipe. Not because I'm suspicious of any food not on an arbitrary and frequently contradictory list, but because I'm lazy and am all for skipping unnecessary steps and ingredients.

 

Fascinating. Now I kind of want to try two versions of one of her recipes - one will the mixture and one without, and see if it actually makes a difference. 

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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6 hours ago, NeverThatBored said:

 

Fascinating. Now I kind of want to try two versions of one of her recipes - one will the mixture and one without, and see if it actually makes a difference. 

Melissa Joulwan doesn't add egg to her meatballs, and the cream of tarter replaces that. I've done it without. It doesn't hold together quite as well ,and I don't think it tasted quite as good.

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8 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Melissa Joulwan doesn't add egg to her meatballs, and the cream of tarter replaces that. I've done it without. It doesn't hold together quite as well ,and I don't think it tasted quite as good.

 

I figured that was the case! She's a recipe developer so I doubt she would include ingredients for no reason.

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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