If you are looking for a low carb meatball recipe, you have found the right spot. We are going to use both ground pork and ground beef in these meatballs, mixed together with delicious spices, onions and sweet red peppers.
This low carb meatball recipe is: Gluten Free, Paleo and well…low carb.
Who needs breadcrumbs with this low carb meatball recipe!
One of the things that I love about this tasty meatball recipe is how well they hold in the refrigerator. It’s an odd place to start a blog post, but with a super busy family I am responsible for feeding, it is really important to me. These meatballs can be made whenever I have a spare burner without too much fuss and last between six and eight days in the fridge without a problem. They freeze really well too!
Ok. So they can hold for a while in the fridge. What else? They’re gluten free! Don’t even try to put some of those starch laden gluten free breadcrumbs in this recipe. It doesn’t need it. You’re going to get juicy meatballs without even thinking about breadcrumbs.
Why Pork and Beef Meatballs?
The quick answer is simple: they’re just better this way. All pork meatballs tend to be a bit dense for my taste. All beef meatballs are overpowering with their beef flavor and sometimes can get overworked. When you combine the two, the outcome is a flavorful, juicy meatball. That’s the best kind!
When you’re at the store, ground pork is just going to be ground pork. There’s typically no options available other than just ground pork. With ground beef, however, there are typically at least two options, but I’ll review all three here.
- Ground Chuck: This ground beef is typically a mix of 80% lean meat to 20% fat. Ground chuck is the most economical of all the grinds and is my absolute favorite. The high fat content basically guarantees you are going to have a juicy meal, even if you cook the hell out of something.
- Ground Round: A ground beef with a lean meat to fat ratio of 85/15. I find that this is the most common in grocery stores with lots of packaged meats and a limited butcher counter. I’m not sure why, it is just an observation. This is still ok to use, but you can dry out whatever you are cooking… particularly on the grill.
- Ground Sirloin: This grind has a lean to fat ration of 90/10. This is my ABSOLUTE last resort. I just have to put out there that FAT=FLAVOR. The 10% in this grind seems to evaporate when you open the package. Being the most expensive grind, I leave this one in the case.
Cooking the Meatballs
As with so many recipes out there, you’ll find a million different ways to cook a meatball. Some chefs bake them. Some braise them in marinara sauce. My way is to saute them and then lower the heat, cover the pan and let the love build. When you saute the meatball first, the outside of the meatball has a chance to caramelize and build some flavor. Covering the pan concentrates the heat and speeds up the cooking process.
Because these meatballs have beef and pork, it is important to cook them all the way through. I’m a fan of some pink in a pork chop, but not with ground pork. Just play it safe and make sure that you are cooking them all the way through.
Your cook time may vary from my recipe as well. It all depends on the size of the meatball. The larger the meatball, the longer the cook time. If your meatball is large enough, you can measure the temperature with an instant read thermometer. When it registers 165 you are good. Or, you can do what I do and slice one of them open to see how much more time you have.
QUICK COOKING TIP: When you are cooking the meatballs, try not to overcrowd the pan. Like with any recipe, if you overcrowd the pan the heat will not return fast enough to the pan. As the food cooks, it releases moisture which pools and starts to boil rather than brown. A boiled meatball is just no good.
Enough with all this. Let’s get to the low carb meatball recipe already!
Low Carb Meatball Recipe
- 1 Cup Onion diced fine
- 1/2 Cup Red Pepper diced fine
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic minced
- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1 LB Ground Chuck
- 1 LB Ground Pork
- 1 Large Egg
- 1.5 TSP Dried Basil
- 1.5 TSP Dried Oregano
- 1 TSP Granulated Garlic
- 1 TSP Granulated Onion
- 1 TSP Red Pepper Flakes
- 1.5 TSP Kosher Salt
- 1 Pinch Fresh Cracked Pepper
- Heat a large, heavy bottom pan with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add in the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Add in the red peppers. Cook for 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring frequently.
- Remove the pan from the heat and scoop the onion mixture into a large bowl. Add in the pork, beef and all remaining ingredients. Mix well to incorporate all the spices throughout all the meat.
- Form your meatballs by breaking off some meat from the bowl and rolling between your palms. The size is up to you, but keep in mind that larger meatballs take longer to cook. Place the formed meatballs on a plate until all the meat mixture is used.
- Reheat the pan over medium-high heat. Add in 2-3 TBSP olive oil. When the oil is hot, start adding the meatballs into the pan. Rotate them every minute or so for even browning. When they are all brown, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Final thoughts on the Low Carb Meatball Recipe:
I make these meatballs at least once a month. The family loves the flavor and I love how versatile they are. You can whip up some of my easy marinara sauce along with some really delicious zoodles and top with a mountain of meatballs. I bet that you could make a killer meatball parmesan or, if you’re not gluten free then these would make a killer meatball sub.
My son helped me make this recipe which I love. He’s six and already a monster in the kitchen. With all that being said, the peppers and onions are a little larger than I have added in the past. The outcome? They were a little harder to brown in the pan. If there were a couple of the larger cut peppers or onions next to one another, the meatball really wanted to break. A sturdy metal spatula took care of the problem, but the recipe is easier with smaller peppers and onions.
As you can see from the picture below, we enjoyed these meatballs with my easy marinara and zoodles. Along with it was a beautiful bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. What a lovely meal. I hope you enjoy the low carb meatball recipe sometime soon!