Gluten-Free Low-Carb Meatballs!

Before we get to the recipe, a couple of things. First off, Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, will be appearing on the Dr. Oz show today. It’s my understanding that Dr. Oz is a big proponent of vegetarian eating and “healthy whole grains”, so it should be a fascinating program.

Also, on one of the low-carb blogs I read, today someone posted a recipe without any pictures. I gasped and clutched my pearls. Unbelievable!

Onward! The other day, The Gluten-Free Homemaker posted a recipe for meatballs. I’ve tried meatballs before, but without the breadcrumbs, they get really dry really fast. This recipe tickled me because she used potato flakes as the filling/binding agent. I read that and thought to myself, “Self, didn’t you used to put actual grated potato in your meatballs, years ago?”

Why yes. Yes I did.

So I made a few changes to GFH’s recipe, adding in more of the Italian flavorings I crave.

Gluten-Free, Low-Carb Beefmeat Balls

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef (I used 80/20 chuck)
1/3 cup potato flakes*
1/4 cup water (or milk, or stock, or broth — something to moisten those dried taters)
1 Tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp chopped garlic (that’s right, double garlic)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 egg

* I figured the potato flakes would be way carbier than they actually are. For the 1/3 cup, it’s 17 grams of carb, with 1 gram of fiber. That means for this batch of 20 large-ish meatballs, it’s less then one gram of potato-based carbohydrate per meatball. Compare a dish of 6 big-ass homemade meatballs to one of those craptacular low-carb wheat tortillas for the same carb load, and this meal totally comes out on top in any battle.

I threw on some of my trusty rubber gloves and mashed it all together. You certainly could use a mixer with a paddle attachment, but for me half the fun is getting in there with my hands.

Roll them into balls and put them on a baking sheet or pan. I used my cake sheet pan, lined with non-stick foil, because I didn’t know how big a pool of fat would form at the bottom. I’m glad I did — with the 80/20 beef, it was a sizeable amount of beefy grease. It might have overwhelmed a cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven at 400° for 15 minutes.

Now in my house growing up, we’d pan-fry meatballs. Which can be kind of messy and splattery. I’d never done them in the oven, and now I can’t imagine doing them anywhere else. They browned up beautifully, got a little of that crust on the outside, and were done through.

I made enough so that I could freeeze half of them. We’ll see how they microwave back up. Here I scooted them all off to the side, so that the pool of grease could cruise over to the other end of the pan. I should probably keep that grease, but I don’t know what I’d do with it. Treat it like any other cooking fat? Pack it in a container and stick it in the fridge? Fry things in it? Hmmm.

Scott and I agreed that these were good, but they need even MORE spice next time. Maybe I’ll try adding some oregano or basil as well.