Amazing Gluten-Free Meatballs

We have been having a tough time at dinner lately. One obstinate child in particular has been throwing a wrench in my normally calm dinner routine… Finally, I asked him to write me a list of five dinner ideas that he would enjoy eating. He gave me two suggestions:

1.) Tacos. But only on Tuesdays. 
2.) Spaghetti and meatballs. No sauce. 

Ok… It’s a start. I haven’t made meatballs in forever and, as my sitter arrived as I was trying to run out the door to work, I forgot just how easy making meatballs can be.

Meatballs are versatile. Meatballs can be made ahead earlier in the day and set aside for dinner. Meatballs can even be frozen and thawed later in a slow cooker with sauce. We never eat meatballs bought at the store or a restaurant because most of them are made with breadcrumbs but, if you make them yourself, you can make delicious meatballs without the gluten.

Just Almond Meal from Trader Joe’s

For this recipe, I decided to try Almond Meal as a substitute for breadcrumbs. My friend dropped off a bag of almond meal that she found at Trader Joe’s. I love random gifts of food! They are always put to good use over here.  I had some beautiful grass fed beef from Gilcrest Natural Farm that I was thawing in the fridge so this project came together really easily!


1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup almond meal
1 egg
3 to 4 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Seasoning … oregano, thyme, garlic salt, pepper


1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl with your hands.

2. Form into about 12 meatballs.

3. Heat a heavy bottomed pan with about 1 or 2 tablespoons of canola oil or olive oil – the oil does not have to cover the bottom of the pan – less is more. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs one at a time – I like to give the meatball a quick roll with my fingers in the hot oil and then add the next meatball.  I am not trying to fry the meatballs – just give them each a little bit of oil so that they get a good, crunchy surface.

4. After the meatballs get a nice crispy edge, turn the heat to medium and let them cook another 10 or 15 minutes until they are basically cooked through. You can let them finish cooking later if you plan to put them in a sauce or, if you are going to eat the meatballs plain, cook them until they are done to your liking. For us, that means well done.

Amazing Gluten-Free Meatballs in Homemade Sauce

A few notes … I saved out 2 meatballs to serve “without sauce” but the rest of them were tossed into a spaghetti sauce that I pulled from the freezer and gave a quick thaw under hot running water and then let simmer over medium low heat while my pasta cooked. You can also toss your meatballs into store bought sauce if you have that on hand. Super easy! We served our amazing gluten-free meatballs over a gluten-free spinach spaghetti. YUM! It was so good and there were even leftovers. Lunch for me, I hope…

Looking for sauce ideas? … Check out this recipe for the best pasta sauce ever.

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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