Homemade Italian Meatballs and Sauce

Credit for this recipe goes to Danielle Walker from Against All Grain, but with a few minor changes. I double the sauce, add a few random veggies (great for using up leftovers and your kids don’t even know all the good stuff they’re eating because it all gets pureed at the end), and go a little lighter on the spices. Pomi tomatoes are available at Target and Wegmans and probably other local places. They are preferable because no there is no citric acid added. Nutritional yeast (“nooch”) replicates a cheesy flavor and is dairy-free. You can usually find it in the organic baking aisle.

For the Sauce – these measurements are NOT doubled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small onion (I use the whole thing)
1 box Pomi brand tomato sauce
1 box Pomi brand chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
(Amy’s optional add-ins: handful or two of spinach or other greens, chopped bell pepper, carrots, celery or any other reasonable veggie leftovers that won’t alter the flavor or color too much). I don’t recommend things like broccoli or Brussel sprouts.

Make the sauce: Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onions (and other veggies as desired) and sauté until they are translucent. Add the remaining 6 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth, or carefully blend it in a blender. Adjust seasoning as necessary. (I highly recommend the immersion blender method)

For the Meatballs
3 large eggs, whisked lightly
3 pounds grass-fed ground beef
3/4 cup almond meal or 3 T coconut flour (I use the first)
(1/3 cup Parmesan cheese) or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp Italian seasoning (I use only 2 tsp)
2 1/2 tsp coconut aminos
1 1/2 tsp oregano (I use only 1 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce (Red Boat brand)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Make the meatballs: Put whisked eggs in a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients, then knead the mixture with your hands until everything is just incorporated. Form the meat into golfball-size meatballs.

(Her recipe calls for frying the meatballs in a pot, but I did that once and decided it was way too messy and frustrating – meatballs fell apart). INSTEAD…

I highly recommend you line a cookie tray with foil and line up your meatballs like cookies – they will all just barely fit on a large cookie tray if you put them close together. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Then place meatballs in simmering sauce (already pureed or blended) and allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes more. Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash or spiralized veggie noodles like butternut, sweet potato, zucchini or summer squash – or a mix of all.

Meatball heaven!