Low Carb Meatballs alla Parmigiana (Gluten Free)
Juicy, tender, and full of flavor, a good italian meatball is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, finding a decent gluten free and low carb recipe for meatballs isn’t easy. You see, it’s the bread crumbs that usually make meatballs tender – without them you can end up with a dense, chewy mouthful that more resembles a rubber hockey puck than an authentic italian meatball. I know because I’ve tried. So what’s a meatball loving low carber to do????
I’m very happy to report that I finally figured out a recipe that results in a meatball that anyone’s Italian grandmother (I’m totally guessing here, mine is French Canadian) would be satisfied with! They “meat” (heh heh, see what I did there?) all of the requirements of a good meatball, and won’t bust your carb budget for the day! In fact they are so good that you won’t even miss the pasta and garlic bread. Ok that might be pushing it (read: a total lie), but they are really good, I promise! Especially when you bathe them in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese!!! Oh yeah. Totally nom-worthy!
The nice thing is, they are delicious plain as well, so they make a great finger-friendly lunch on the go. I like to make a bunch and freeze them in bags of 3 – 5 meatballs. If I know I’m going to be out, I can grab a bag out of the freezer and toss it into my purse or cooler bag. A couple of hours later they are thawed, and I can just reach in and eat them, even if I’m driving in my car. It’s a great alternative to the drive thru, and minimizes your chances of grabbing something that will wreak havoc on your diet or digestive system simply because you’re starving and desperate.
Still, my favorite way to eat them is to bake them in any low carb marinara sauce with a gooey topping of mozzarella cheese on top. It’s hearty and satisfying and perfectly low carb. Since even homemade or sugar free jarred marinara sauce does have some carbs though, I spoon about a tablespoon over each meatball, which makes it easier to keep track of my nutrition stats. Any more than that gets wasted in the bottom of the pan anyway. Same goes with the cheese – you can shred it and dump it on, but most of it will melt into a puddle anyway, so I just slice it and put a piece on top of each meatball. Then I bake it until bubbly. You can also microwave it if you’re short on time, you just won’t get the nice brown color on the cheese. But doesn’t it look purty???
The secret to the tenderness of these meatballs is parmesan cheese, almond flour and water added to the mix. The almond flour bulks up the meatball, the cheese adds flavor and more fat, and the water creates steam when heated, which puffs them up and keeps them tender and juicy. But don’t take my word for it, give them a try and see for yourself! And do be sure to let me know how they come out – especially if you are someone’s Italian grandmother!! ;)
If you love meatballs as much as I do, try these buffalo chicken meatballs – they make a great party appetizer!! Or for more great recipes, download your copy of The Gluten Free Low Carber e-cookbook today!
Also, don’t forget to download your copy of IBIH Autumn Recipes 2013 – 25 low carb and gluten free recipes for Fall!