GF Italian Meatballs

February 21, 2011

Meatballs in marinara sauce

I don’t know where the time goes. I meant to write this post right after posting the marinara sauce recipe. Interruptions seem inevitable, but I finally found a few minutes to get this posted. It, like the marinara sauce, came from Scratch.Love’s blog. Because she is Italian, her recipe is the real deal. And while I was born in Rome (yes, Italy), I was the proverbial “Army brat.” We left when I was 2 and my mom used to say she was the only mother on the ship returning home that was cutting up her kid’s spaghetti for them. So much for Italiano. Here’s me in Rome:

Me and Daddy

It may seem as though I am simply copying Scratch.Love’s recipes. I guess you could say that, but I try to offer a tweak or two, just to change things up. And even when I think I’ve come up with something original, a quick Google search shows me that there really is nothing new under the sun. So, in essence, all of my recipes come from somewhere and I always try to give credit where credit is due.

The biggest change to this recipe is that I’ve made it gluten free. I did this by replacing the breadcrumbs with almond flour. I’ve found this works fairly well in many recipes and I use it sometimes to replace oats in my meatloaf or crackers in my salmon patties. The other change, which I made by reason of availability, is that I used dried parsley, something no self-respecting Italian would ever do. (Sorry, Elizabeth! I wasn’t able to get out and get fresh!) Lastly, I used some dried basil, since I ran out of dried parsley! With explanations laid out, I now give you:

Gluten-free Italian Meatballs

makes approximately 45 meatballs

2 lbs grass-fed ground meat (I used a beef/sausage mix)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup almond flour
2 Tbs each dried parsley and dried basil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Marinara sauce for simmering (optional)

Measure almond flour, parsley, basil, diced onion, salt and pepper into a bowl.
almond flour, spices, onion

Mix well.
Mix almond flour, spices, onion

Add 4 pastured eggs.
Pastured eggs

Mix well.
Mix eggs with almond flour mixture

Add grated cheese and meat.
Grated Parmesan
ground beef and sausage

Mix well. Shape into evenly sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking pan. I got 45.
Shape meatballs

Bake at 375o for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on size of meatballs).
Baked meatballs

Place in a large sauce pot or crockpot and cover with marinara sauce. Simmer on very low for 4-6 hours (or a minimum of 2). Serve and enjoy!

Italian meatballs

To further prove Solomon’s words, that there is nothing new under the sun, I now see that Scratch.Love has a gluten-free meatball recipe, as well! So, for an alternate version, visit her recipe here.

This post is part of the Monday Mania blog carnival.

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Marinara Sauce

February 7, 2011

Marinara Sauce
(This is actually my sauce after I had simmered my meatballs in it, so there are bits of meat in it)

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to attempt a homemade pasta sauce, but I’m glad my first try comes from Scratch.Love’s recipe. (Check out her recipe for the original) I found it very easy to make and was really happy with the results. I followed it up by making her recipe for Italian Meatballs, which were yummy and which post will be following this one. I used the last of the sauce and meatballs with some spelt spaghetti, which was a big hit with the grandkids. For me, that’s the measure of a recipe’s success! Here’s my what-I-had-on-hand version:

Marinara Sauce


1 onion, diced (can use up to 3)
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbs. coconut oil (or ghee)
4 (14.5 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbs dried basil leaves
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp fire roasted tomatoes (dry, crushed)1

Melt coconut oil in large sauce pot. Add diced vegetables and cook until onion is tender, watching closely.
carrot, onion, garlic, celery

Measure out spices and combine with vegetables.
marinara spices

Add tomato paste, stirring well, then add remaining tomatoes.
Tomatoes for marinara

Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until carrots and celery are thoroughly cooked.
Chunky marinara

Using a stick (or immersion) blender, VERY carefully blend mixture to desired level of puree. (This can also be done in a regular blender)
Stick blender in marinara

Some mixture can be taken out before pureeing and then added back if you prefer more texture. I just mixed mine till it was mostly pureed, but still had some chunky pieces.
Marinara prior to long simmer

Simmer on low heat for 4-6 hours. I cooked mine in the crock pot for about 6 hours. Eat and enjoy and/or freeze some for later use.

1 Not necessary, but I had them on hand and wanted an excuse to use them!

Thank you, Scratch.Love!

This post is part of the Monday Mania blog carnival at the healthy Home Economist.

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