Stock up on Meatballs

18 Jun

After a long haitus, I’ve found some time for a post albeit with only one photo. I’d started this some time ago and thought I’d just finish it without the rest of the photos.

Every country seems to have its own meatball recipe. Just change the type of meat used, even combine them or add different spices and you suddenly have turkish meatballs, chinese meatballs, indian meatballs, armenian meatballs, italian meatballs – the list goes on and on. When I’m making meatballs for a dish, I usually make more and freeze the balance. Then I have meatballs on hand for a quick supper.

If you don’t add the breadcrumbs some recipes call for or dredge the meatballs in flour before browning, you can easily overcome the carb problem. The addition of breadcrumbs is just to stretch the mixture so you get more. If you see a recipe calling for breadcrumbs you can omit them without any significant effect on the end result. I’ve tried making my meatballs using leftover low carb sunflower bread and have been successful. Just pulse leftover slices in a food processor and add to your meatball mixture! Pulsing works better if you’ve toasted/grilled the bread to dry it up more. I’ve also substituted breadcrumbs with ground flaxseed.

When using beef or lamb, I like using lean meat for two reasons – my meatballs shrink less and secondly, my dish doesn’t get too oily.

I’ve got a lot of recipes with meatballs and with some luck, I’ll eventually post more here. I already have an Armenian Meatball Soup on this site. To start with here is a recipe I found for some really tasty meatballs and two ways to use them. You could also cook these same meatballs in home-made tomato sauce for low carb Pasta and Meatballs. You’ll need a quick sauce because if you are going to make low carb pasta from scratch, that’s going to take up some time!

Basic meatball recipe

1 kg (about 2 pounds) ground beef, veal or half beef, half pork

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus or minus)

4 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

2 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp salt


Optional: 3-4 thin slices low-carb sunflower loaf ground as fine as you can get it.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and knead well. Form into golf ball-sized meatballs.

Mediterranean Meatball Soup (serves 4)

Mediterranean Meatball Soup

About 5-6 meatballs a person or just make half the above quantity of meatballs

3 cups beef or vegetable stock

1 can (425gr) chopped tomatoes

1 large onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, chopped into chunks

1/2 aubergine cut into chunks about 2cm x 2cm

1 small zucchini, cut like the aubergines

1 small red bell pepper, chopped into chunks

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried oregano

2 Tbsp chopped parsley, for garnishing

Bring stock to boil in a large saucepan. Cook meatballs for about 5 min., then add canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, thyme and oregano. After 10 min., add the rest of the vegetables. If necessary, add more stock or water to cover the vegetables. Let the soup come to a boil again, turn down heat and cook for another 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Italian Meatball and White Bean Soup with Spinach (serves 4-6)

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 celery rib, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced

6-8 cups homemade chicken broth or vegetable broth

20 meatballs

2 (14 oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed

1 bag (5-6 oz) baby spinach

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

olive oil

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs. Set aside.

To prepare the soup, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot and sauté onions, garlic, celery and carrots till onions are glazed. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. (I have given an estimated amount of broth as some people don’t like so much liquid. You can start with 6 cups and then thin the soup with more broth or water if you think the soup is too thick.)

Turn down heat, add meatballs and white beans and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. When vegetables are tender and beans soft, add the spinach, cheese, salt and pepper and continue simmering till spinach is wilted. This takes only 1- 2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and liquid if necessary.

Ladle into bowls and serve, sprinkled with more grated cheese. I like to sprinkle some chili flakes over the soup as well.

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