Low Carb Beef & Blue Cheese Meatballs w/ Red Wine Sauce

low carb and gluten free beef meatball recipeWho doesn’t love a great steak???  Am I right??? It’s one of the most delicious things out there. Entire restaurant concepts are devoted to it, and for good reason – a high quality, perfectly cooked steak is a thing of beauty.

One of my favorite ways to eat steak (and there are many), is with with some form of blue cheese – like these Grilled Ribeyes with Gorgonzola Butter.  Another of my favorite classic steak preparations is with sauteed mushrooms and red wine sauce.

For awhile now I’ve wanted to make a meatball that would be an ode to one of these combinations, and this past weekend I went for it.

When it came down to it though, I couldn’t decide how to choose between the two concepts for this week’s low carb meatball recipe.  So in the end, I decided to combine ALL of my favorite steak accompaniments into one meatball dish!

I know it’s not really steak, but the flavor of the beef in the meatballs, with all of that other goodness included, makes it almost as delicious – and so much cheaper if you’re on a budget!

low carb meatball recipe from ibreatheimhungry.com

[pinterest text=”Beef and Blue Cheese Meatball Recipe with Red Wine Sauce (low carb and gluten free) by ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/blueballs2small-679×950.jpg”]
I do recommend that you use a good quality ground beef for these – just don’t go too lean or you’ll sacrifice flavor and they could end up too dry.  An 85/15 ratio of protein to fat would work well for this recipe.

Same goes for the red wine sauce – while there’s no need to bust out that bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite that you’ve been saving for a special occasion, you want a decent full-bodied red wine (think zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, or even merlot) for this recipe.

A good rule of thumb when cooking with wine is that if it doesn’t taste good when you drink it, it won’t taste good when you cook with it either. So please don’t drag out that half empty bottle of Riunite Lambrusco that’s been in the back of your fridge since the 1990’s for this sauce.  I’m begging you to pour that swill down the sink already, and pony up the $8 – $10 for a drinkable red wine that will work in this recipe.

Or simply omit the red wine sauce altogether – the meatballs are still fantastic without it!

beef and blue cheese meatballs from ibreatheimhungry.com
[pinterest text=”Beef and Blue Cheese Meatball Recipe with Red Wine Sauce (low carb and gluten free) by ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/blueballs3small-700×471.jpg”]

Low Carb Beef & Blue Cheese Meatballs w/ Red Wine Sauce

Yield: 12 meatballs (4 servings)

Serving Size: 3 meatballs, 2 Tbsp sauce, 3 Tbsp mushrooms

Low Carb Beef & Blue Cheese Meatballs w/ Red Wine Sauce

A low carb and gluten free meatball recipe inspired by some of my favorite steak pairings!


    For the meatballs:
  • 1lb ground beef (85/15 preferred)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup crumbled or chopped blue cheese (chilled)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil for frying
  • For the red wine sauce:
  • 2 cups red wine (zinfandel, cabernet or merlot preferred)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (cold)
  • For the mushrooms:
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste


    For the meatballs:
  • Combine all of the meatball ingredients (except olive oil) in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly, but gently, so the blue cheese doesn't melt into the meat mix (this is also why you want the cheese cold when you mix it in). Form into 12 meatballs. Saute in olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat until the meatballs are golden brown on all sides and cooked to your liking in the center (I'm a rebel so I left mine a little rare.)
  • For the red wine sauce:
  • After removing the meatballs from the pan, drain most of the fat off, leaving a small amount behind. Add the red wine and cooked until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and cool for about 2 minutes. Then whisk in the cold butter until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • For the mushrooms:
  • Melt the butter in a nonstick saute pan. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh thyme leaves before serving.


Approximate nutrition information:

per naked meatball: 132 calories, 9g fat, .3g net carbs, 12g protein

per serving (3) naked meatballs: 395 calories, 27g fat, .9g net carbs, 35g protein

per serving mushrooms: 59 calories, 6g fat, .75g net carbs, 1g protein

per serving wine sauce: 119 calories, 3g fat, 3.25g net carbs, 0g protein

per serving (3) meatballs w/ works: 573 calories, 33g fat, 4.9g net carbs, 38g protein

low carb and gluten free meatball recipe from ibreatheimhungry.com
[pinterest text=”Beef and Blue Cheese Meatball Recipe with Red Wine Sauce (low carb and gluten free) by ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/blueballssmall-700×466.jpg”]

For more great low carb and gluten free meatball recipes, check out these other IBIH Meatball Monday favorites!

Meatballs alla Parmigiana

General Tso’s Meatballs

Loaded Nachos Meatballs

Jalapeno Poppers Meatballs

Carolina BBQ Meatballs

Caprese Meatballs

If you haven’t already, why not download your copy of The Gluten Free Low Carber from Amazon.com today!?!?!


  1. Marsha says

    This sounds really wonderful. However, Being a Celiac. I was told that Blue Cheese is NOT gluten free. So, I’ve been avoiding it for the past 20 years. Also, I live in the armpit of america and don’t have access to a large supply of gluten free luxuries. What other cheese do you think would work. Thanks

    • says

      I’ve never heard of blue cheese containing gluten Marsha, but if you are a Celiac then you definitely don’t want to take any chances! You could just omit the cheese altogether, or try feta or goat cheese, though it will be a different flavor profile! Hope you like them! :)

  2. Donna says

    Wow…I must say that, Mellisa, you have out-done your meatball-mastery on this particular offering…this looks elegant and scrumptious…and within paleo “formatting” to boot!..This is going to be made…soon…especially since there will surely be a bit of cabernet or bordeaux to “celebrate” the cooking process…ahem..

    Also…Marsha IS correct that many blue cheese/roquefort varietals unfortunately harbor gluten..yeast molds from bread are used directly to create the “veining”…at least here in France..so celiacs need to take heed. The cheeses here are frequently raw and un-pasteurized but I do not believe all cheeses to involve bread yeast, so Marsha should be able to use a different type of a strong-flavored cheese to compliment your wonderful dish.

  3. Lisa says

    I made these last night with a a little variation – used meatloaf mix (beef, veal, pork) from butcher and gorgonzola cheese. FABULOUS! My husband said we need to be having Meatball Tuesdays for your Monday recipes… :)

  4. Liz says

    Just made these for dinner tonight. Absolutely delicious! We made the sauce with a Pinot Noir because that’s what we had on hand, but I think you’re correct that a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot would be even better. Honestly, I think we’ll end up adapting them to a ton of dishes even without the sauce. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  5. Mickie Gross says

    I just made this…WOW! I unintentionally tweaked it by grabbing the Grill Mates Worcestershire Pub Burger seasoning rather than the black pepper…the little kick of Worcestershire was very nice! In addition to the 2 C of wine (Merlot) reduced to 1/2 c, I reduced another full 750 ml bottle to 1 C. because the original proportions just didn’t seem like enough (!) This will def go into my favorite files, as will your blog. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Christy says

    These taste AMAZING. I was never really a fan of meatballs but you my dear, you’ve converted me with this recipe. I must go now–I have meatballs to devour.


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