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Best Gluten-Free Italian Meatball Recipe

best Italian meatballs gluten free with brown rice spaghetti
Gluten-free Italian meatballs recipe with pesto g-free pasta.

Craving meatballs but shun evil gluten? 

Have I got a meatball recipe for you. And it's so good you won't even have to apologize to your Aunt Carmella. I promise. She won't ever suspect you pulled a switcheroo on the old family recipe and made it gluten-free.

Mum's the word (or is it Mama mia?).

Let's face it. When it comes to making meatballs every family boasts an ultra-special top secret meatball recipe, right? There's a loyalty to meatball mojo as fierce and tooth baring as the die hard belief that Mom's meatloaf can cure all ills, mend bruised hearts, and restore order to chaos theory.

So why am I putting myself on the line here? How do I even dare to post a gluten-free meatball recipe? The wrong ingredient or technique might actually lead to fisticuffs. Or bristling. You might turn away from Gluten-Free Goddess in utter, sheer contempt.

I'm putting my reputation on the line here, and I know it.

So why risk it? Why torture myself with the inevitable backlash? Reason one-  an obvious plea. My meatballs are gluten-free and casein-free, in other words, GFCF. My audience. My people.

These meatballs also happen to be egg-free (yes, I hear the snorts of derision- may you wake tomorrow with a blooming albumen rash and come crawling back to peruse my egg-free recipes).

Reason number two? My spaghetti and meatballs? Killer. I'm serious.

Meatball bliss.

Best Gluten-Free Italian Meatball Recipe with Basil Pesto Pasta


When I first went gluten-free I tried the bread crumb alternatives celiac folks touted on gluten-free forums. You know, crushed corn flakes. Cooked rice.  Ouch. The problem? The meatballs tasted like breakfast cereal. Or gummy leftover rice.

My solution? I keep all my odd bits and pieces of gluten-free bread (this is my current favorite gluten-free bread recipe) and I process them into Italian breadcrumbs by adding Italian herbs and garlic powder; then I bag and freeze them.

I also keep a loaf of the plainest, driest tapioca-based gluten-free bread on hand- just in case. Then whenever I feel an urge to make meatballs, I either reach for my bag of home made gluten-free breadcrumbs, or toss slices of store bought tapioca bread into the Cuisinart and zap them into bread crumbs, as needed. In savory dishes I add in plenty of dried Italian style herbs as I process. In a pinch, you could also toast up some plain gluten-free waffles and turn them into crumbs, adding herbs and a pinch of garlic powder.

As for pasta, my favorite spaghetti at the moment is Tinkyada- it is smooth and creamy and keeps it an authentic al dente texture if you don't overcook it.

Ingredients:

1 small to medium sweet onion
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled, cut in half
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into several pieces
1 pound of organic grass fed ground beef or buffalo- either works
1 pound of organic ground pork
1/2 cup Annie's Naturals or Muir Glen Organic Ketchup
1 tablespoon organic molasses (this helps bind the mixture)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 to 1/2 cup gluten-free herbed bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (my secret ingredient)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Dash of red pepper flakes, for heat, if desired
Olive oil, as needed

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the onion, garlic and carrot pieces into a food processor and pulse until the texture is very finely diced. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, briefly stir together the ground beef and pork. Add in the processed onion, garlic and carrot mixture, ketchup, molasses, balsamic vinegar, parsley, gluten-free bread crumbs, sea salt and pepper flakes. Mix gently to combine. Try not to over-mix (over-mixing makes a dense meatball).

Rub a little olive oil on your hands and form the meatball mixture into balls (roughly the size of golf balls). Place them on the lined baking sheet. You should end up with about 20-24 balls.

Bake the meatballs in the center of the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes until done (no longer pink in the center). Note: Smaller meatballs cook faster, so if your meatballs are smaller, check them at 20 minutes. If you make ginormous balls, Darling, they'll take longer to cook through. Adjust baking times accordingly.

You could also fry the meatballs in a large skillet, using olive oil, I suppose, but this method makes an oilier meatball.

Makes about six servings.

Serve these tasty little numbers in a variety of ways:

Classic spaghetti and meatballs- serve the meatballs with pasta topped with red sauce, or basil pesto, as pictured. I love meatballs with pesto spaghetti.
Here's two pesto recipes- Basil Pesto and Vegan Cilantro Pesto.
Add them to simmering marinara sauce, and serve them on a bed of cooked gluten-free polenta.
Add them to my Baked Brown Rice Risotto.
Serve them with my Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Smothered Baked Potato
Add them to a shallow bowl of Roasted Tomato Soup or vegetable ragout.
Serve them with grilled slices of these Gluten-Free Baguettes schmeared with pesto.


Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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