I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like Meatballs, and in the keto world, we’re always looking for new ways to up our fats whilst trying to keep our carbs low. What better and tastier way than to stuff an already delicious meatball with mozzarella cheese!
As I mentioned in my very first post, I am a Mother to 6 girls, the youngest being 5, and a Grandmother to 2 young grandchildren.
This meatball recipe is a huge hit with all the kids, so much so, that we’ve nicknamed our granddaughter “MEATBALL”, just because she loves these meatballs so much and asks for them nearly every time we see her.
Raise up a child in the way that he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
This is a recipe that our 5-year-old, Faith, loves to get in the kitchen and help with.
As a family we try to get our kids to participate in the preparation of our meals as much as we can. Firstly, It’s a great life skill, one that is being sadly lost these days. And secondly, we find the more they participate, and feel proud in playing a part in the making of our meal, the more likely they are in actually trying it, and enjoying it.
We’re lucky enough to live in a small town in Tennessee, where we’ve been able to grow a small herb and veggie garden in the backyard, and Faith helps us to plant, water and eventually pick the herbs and veggies for our dinner. She’s also pretty proud of herself for being able to name and identify all 10 of our herbs by sight.
I also have a teenage daughter that hates to see any green thing floating around in her food. She likes the flavor that herbs, onion and garlic brings to a meal, but just doesnt want to see it in there. If she does happen to spot it in there, she either won’t eat it, or she’ll spend the next 20 minutes picking out any remnants of an herb or vegetable from her plate.
I’m sure many of you moms out there can relate to this story!
Even though this recipe is full of herbs, don’t despair, we have a great workaround to get all of the flavor without any of the green stuff, in our “KITCHEN TIPS” below.
Everybody I’m sure has their own meatball recipe, but how do you make it low in carbs, and keto friendly when the binder of a meatball is either bread, or more commonly, breadcrumbs? …. PORK RINDS!!!!
I know what you’re thinking, “YUCK”
I promise you, you won’t taste them in there at all.
Not only do the pork rinds act as a binder, but they also up the fats and give a great texture to the meatball. Just pulse your UNFLAVORED PORK RINDS in a food processor or blender until they resemble the texture of breadcrumbs, or you can even just bash it gently with a rolling pin if you want to go for that italian Nonna vibe.
Another couple of tips for upping the fats and also creating a tender, moist meatball are:-
- BUTTER – Adding softened (not melted) butter, amps up the richness as well as moisture.
- CHEESE – Stuffing the meatball with mozzarella cheese, kicks it up a notch, and also adding a healthy dose of parmesan cheese to the meatball mixture boosts the overall flavor.
This Marinara recipe or Nap (Napolitana) Sauce, as they call it in Australia, is a very basic sauce, but it’s the simplicity that allows each ingredient to shine.
If you can, I encourage you to use imported San Marzano Whole Tomatoes (We use Cento Brand, pictured above), and crush them by hand. The flavor of the San Marzano tomato is second to none because it is grown in the volcanic soil near Mt Vesuvius in Italy. The tomatoes are rich with a nice acidity that needs very little work to bring out the best flavor. But if you cant, canned whole plum tomatoes work very well.
Because the sauce is so simple, we aim to use the best quality ingredients we can to build great layers of flavor, good tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh garlic, and very importantly, a good quality olive oil. A little love is all this sauce needs!
Here’s the “KITCHEN TIP” for those picky eaters
Here’s a fast alternative Marinara sauce for those who don’t want to make their own sauce, or better yet, don’t have the time to make their own Marinara sauce.
It’s probably the lowest carb store bought sauce you can find, and I can guarantee you it’s definitely the tastiest store bought Marinara you’ll find. I use it when I’m in a pinch for time, and the results are great.
But believe me, spend the extra time if you can, it’s totally worth it, and the whole house will be smelling absolutely amazing in the first 10 minutes.
If you’re a person that’s into meal prepping for the week, and likes to plan ahead, then this whole recipe is perfect! You can:
A) Make then freeze the meatball mixture
B) Roll out the individual meatballs and freeze
C) You can cook the whole recipe (Marinara and all), then portion and freeze.
Next Step: Enjoy
So simple and delicious!
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tspn of dried oregano
- 1/4 of an onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano Whole Tomatoes
- 6 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces or 3 drops of vitality(edible grade) basil essential oils
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Pour the cans of whole tomatoes in a large non metallic bowl and crush tomatoes by hand, discarding of the hard core in the tomato.
- Heat the oil in a large oven safe saucepan or dutch oven, over medium heat. Saute the onion until slightly softened and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Saute the garlic until lightly golden (Do not burn garlic or it becomes bitter) , About 2 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and their juice, bring to a boil while stirring, then turn down to a low simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Add oregano, then season to taste with salt and pepper, and then add the torn basil leaves.
- 2 pounds of 75/25 ground beef (Hamburger)
- 2 large eggs
- 12 cubes of mozzarella cheese 1 inch in size
- 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups of crushed plain pork rinds
- 1/4 cup of salted butter (softened)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese for sprinkling
- grated parmesan for serving (optional)
- 1 garlic clove (smashed) for the oil to fry in
- Pre heat oven to 350 F
- Mix the beef with the rest of the ingredients, except the crushed pork rinds, in a large mixing bowl and combine well.
- Add the pork rinds and combine, add a little splash of water if the mixture seems too dry (maybe 1/4 of a cup).
- Shape the meatball mixture into 12 meatballs. We use a large oiled ice cream scoop.
- Push the cheese cubes into the center of the meatball and close it up.
- At this point I like to fry up a small piece of meatball mixture and taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
- Heat olive oil, bacon grease or lard in a large skillet filled with an enough oil to shallow fry meatballs, one side at a time.
- Fry the 1 smashed clove of garlic til just golden brown to flavor the oil, then discard garlic clove.
- Place meatballs in large skillet and fry one side at a time til well browned, then turn and fry other side til well browned.
- Place meatballs into the marinara pot, sprinkle with grated mozzarella and place into oven for 30 mins.
- Serve 3 meatballs per person, with about a 1/3 of a cup of marinara. If you use more marinara you have to account for it in your carb allowance. You should have extra marinara left over for another meal or great for a dipping sauce.
- Sprinkle with grated parmesan for serving.
SERVES: 4 (3 meatballs per serving with 1/3 of a cup of Marinara)
NET CARBS: 6.5 grams per serving