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Easy Meatballs – Nutrient Dense Food on the Go

- People often ask me, “How do you always have nutrient dense food ready to dine on at home AND on the go? Where do you find the time?” I haven’t found secret pockets of time, although I’m still searching. I do however, stock my refrigerator and freezer with nutrient dense fast food. Life can be fast paced and chaotic. That will likely never change so I make versatile foods like these nutrient dense, easy meatballs.

I grew up ducking and dodging through the back kitchen of my parents’ delicatessens. They used to make an amazing meatball sub. I now make my meatball sub on sourdough and it is INSANE. I usually make a large batch of meatballs (child labor for meatball rolling encouraged – *wink, wink*) so, feel free to double and triple this recipe to fit your needs and time.   If you’re looking for ways to disguise liver for your family or just like being a super human, try adding some ground liver to the mix.

I like to make quite a few batches of easy meatballs and store some in the freezer and some in the fridge. I sometimes eat them cold as I’m running out the door. I take them with me on airplane flights. Three or four of these meaty morsels simmered in a cup of bone broth with a little side of sauerkraut is wonderful. I also like to make large batches of reduction sauce and freeze small portions which makes a lovely pairing. In fact, these are great with reduction sauce, dipping sauce, marinara or cheese. For an instant dinner, just cook up some rice or veggies and throw them on top. Perfect for a meatball soup or Italian wedding soup.

Just last week, I had friends popping over last minute and just scattered these babies on a plate with a tooth pick, a thin slice of pecorino and a basil leaf. Instant appetizer!!! Get Real. Be Well.

Easy Meatballs Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef – buy grassfed beef here
  • 1/2 lb pasture raised ground pork (use all beef if you don’t partake of pork).
  • Ground liver  – substitute for 1/4 pound of ground meat (or however much you’re brave enough to add!)
  • 2 eggs from pasture raised hens, beaten
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup organic tomato paste (try Bionaturae)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 cup barley or 1/8 cup sauerkraut (squeeze juice out) – optional

Easy Meatballs Method

  1. Combine the beef, pork, and optional liver in a large mixing bowl and mix together evenly with your hands.
  2. Add onion, tomato paste, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper to meat mixture and combine.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs until combined and then add to meat mixture and combine.
  4. Roll the meatballs to any size that works for you. Or you can make batches of small meatballs and a few batches of larger meatballs and bag them separately in your fridge.
  5. Pop meatballs into muffin tins or on baking sheet and bake in oven preheated to 375° for approximately 20 minutes or until the center of a meatball is done.
By the way – I love to make Asian, Irish and Greek versions of these easy meatballs as well. Let me know if those are recipes you would like to see in the future!

Active Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 16-20 meatballs

- This post was generously contributed by Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee. Check back next Friday for more delicious recipes from Monica that will make your mouth water and your tummy purr. If you’re lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, Real Food Devotee can make your life easier by delivering nutrient dense goodies directly to your door.

photo credit: Real Food Devotee

This post can be seen at the following blog carnivals:  Fresh Bites Friday, Make Your Own! Monday and Monday Mania. Hop on over to check out some other posts you may enjoy!

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  1. Natalie says:

    Sounds delicious and a great idea! Good way to sneak in organ meats!

  2. Emily says:

    Sherry Carrier (via FB) asks: So do you freeze them and cook them later? Or cook, freeze, reheat later?

  3. Monica Ford says:

    Actually, I cook them and then store in frige or freezer. Then they are just ready to go. Peale actually love these. It’s the feeling of a nurturing food your prepared in your kitchen with and the time in vestment is minimal! Wondrous!

  4. monica ford says:

    Look at that comment. Can you tell I posted it using my iPhone and Siri? Let’s try that again.
    “Actually, I cook them and then store in frige or freezer. Then they are just ready to go. People actually LOVE these. They give the feeling of a nurturing food you’ve prepared in your kitchen and the time investment is minimal! Wondrous!”

  5. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  6. Drew says:

    These look great! If you’re using sauerkraut, when would you add it?

  7. monica ford says:

    Hi @Drew
    You have quite a few options as to when you might add sauerkraut.
    I love eating sauerkraut as a side dish with any meal but, particularly cooked meals as it imbues my eating experience and digestion with much appreciated enzyme fueled efficiency.
    When I warm my meat balls in a a little bone broth for quick a soup-ish meal, I drop a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut into the broth after I’ve taken it off the heat keeping those lovely enzymes intact.
    You might also enjoy adding a half cup of sauerkraut (squeeze the juice out with your hands first) to your raw meatball mix. It adds a lovely level of taste to the meatballs.
    Let us know what you try!! xo

  8. Shauna says:

    Yes! I would love to see variations of these meatballs! Thanks so much!

  9. monica ford says:

    Coming down the pike soon, darlin! xo

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  11. Melissa says:

    Me too…..post the variations….pretty please.

  12. monica ford says:

    Glad you’re into them. Nom Nom, Soon!

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  17. Gina says:

    Is the tomato paste necessary? I’m wondering for someone staying away from nightshades for awhile…..???

  18. Monica Ford says:

    Hi @ Gina. No. You do not have to use the tomato paste. You could substitute with an additional egg or make your own savory nutrient dense sauce like this one http://www.holisticsquid.com/merlot-reduction-sauce/

  19. […] 3) Easy Meatballs – Nutrient Dense Food on the Go – Holistic Squid […]

  20. Robyn says:

    These would take no time to make if you use a small scoop to form the meatballs. Chef John of Foodwishes.com says rough meatballs just have extra flavor pockets, or something like that. Then place them on the top rack of your oven and broil them for about 5 minutes. You can turn them and broil the other side if you like, but not necessary. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  21. Julie says:

    Would love to know the recipe of how you make the Asian version….thanks!

  22. Kendra says:

    Can I ask, why saurkraut? I put everything but the kitchen sink into ground beef anything, but I have never put fermented foods. I guess i thought they would lose their appeal when I was cooking. So here I am curious and asking because I have no idea :)

  23. monica ford says:

    Hi @Kendra
    I enjoy adding sauerkraut because of the delicious taste in food. Experiment and enjoy! xo

  24. Angela says:

    What can I replace for the egg? My squid has an egg allergy :(

  25. monica ford says:

    Hi @Angela
    You can substitute 1 piece of sourdough bread soaked in milk or butter milk/egg or you can just omit the egg. The egg or soaked bread adds more moisture but, it will still be utterly delicious without it. Please let us know how it turns out! xo

  26. julie says:

    Thanks for the great recipe. I would love the variations as well!!

  27. Sarah H. says:

    Hi Monica,
    Do I need to cook or soak the barley ahead of time or can I just add it raw? These sound great! (though I’m too afraid to add the liver – my husband has a very keen sense of taste and I’m afraid if he noticed the flavor that he wouldn’t eat them! :) )
    You said you make Irish meatballs as well? I’d love to see that recipe too! Thanks so much for sharing them!

    – Sarah

  28. monica ford says:

    Hi @Sarah
    Thanks for your question! Yes, soak the barley overnight and cook it up before you add it to the meatballs.
    I totally think you should add liver. Even if it’s the tiniest bit. #sneaky

  29. Cathy says:

    This is so easy to make! Thank you!
    This is going to be a fun family project!

  30. Nadine says:

    Ok Emily,

    I made them and it was a “Fear Factor” experience for me with the liver. Also my meatballs ended up more like meat patties. Not sure why they wouldn’t hold their shape. My sister and husband loved it and my 2 year old ate it. So I know it’s a good recipe!!! I doubled the recipe, but I think next time I will only add 1/4 lb liver with the doubled recipe. Thanks for having such an awesome site. I love all your posts!!

  31. monica ford says:

    Wow @Nadine
    That is so awesome!

  32. Catherine says:

    one question – why do you beat the poor pasture-raised hens?


    That’s just what came through my mind reading the ingredients. I’m going to see a doctor about it right after I make a batch of these meatballs! Thanks for the great recipe.

  33. monica ford says:

    Hi @Catherine
    sick puppy;)

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  35. Kelli A. says:

    Wow! So easy! I just put a batch in the oven. I can’t believe the number of times we bought a frozen bag of meatballs from the store in the past. Trying these with some beef bone broth gravy, rice, and veggies!

  36. monica ford says:

    Yum! @Kelli That sounds delicious!

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