These meatballs are really good–and without any bread or cheese in them! In fact, they taste almost identical to the meatballs I remember from Bucca di Beppo. To be fair, I’m not a huge meatball person (I know, shocking, I’m Italian and all). But occasionally I’ll get a hankering for them and make a batch. These definitely hit the spot! We found out tonight when we were eating these, that Isak is a true Guido (picture to come at the bottom of this post). We have a hard time getting him to eat non-fish meat (we don’t force it or anything, he just doesn’t like a whole lot of it). As a rule, he pretty much NEVER eats red meat. Let me say that again: NEVER. Okay, there is one caveat…he will eat it if it’s like $9000 a pound filet…but it’s not like we can afford that. Ergo, he never eats it.
Tonight I didn’t even try to give him any. I just made him a bowl of yogurt with some blueberries and such. We are packing to leave for a vacation tomorrow so I didn’t want to deal with the throwing of the meat (with tomato sauce) and have to clean that up. Oh yeah, he has recently started throwing things when he’s “finished” with them…so there is that. Anyway, he started waving his arms around and asking for some of JR’s meatballs (only it was really waving, pointing, and saying “THISSSSSSSSSSSS!”). JR gave him a small piece–Isak ate it. JR did it again–Isak ate it. Isak proceeded to eat half of one of JR’s meatballs and three-quarters of one of mine. No throwing at all. There were a few times that he tried to stick the whole meatball in his mouth, sucked off the sauce, and then took it out to dip in more sauce…but he eventually ate it. Toddlers. They’re so funny.
Meatballs (Whole30 Compliant)
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 to 3/4 C almond meal
8 cloves garlic: blanched, peeled, and chopped (I didn’t blanch today…they still turn out fine)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
32 oz tomato sauce (I actually used a jar of organic tomato puree and added some spices to it)
8 oz water
1.–Preheat oven to 350. Combine everything but sauce and water in a large bowl. Shape into large meatballs (I got 12 almost-baseball-sized meatballs). Put on foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. At this point, you can freeze them and save them for later if you want. If you freeze them, you just continue with the rest of the directions, but you may need to add 5-10 minutes to the final baking time.
2.–Transfer meatballs to baking dish. Combine sauce and water, and pour over meatballs. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake 35-45 minutes.
Voila! Toddler-approved meatballs!