One thing about eating Paleo is that you don’t have to give up meat, and in fact it plays an integral part in the plan. What you have to watch out for is recipes that seem like they’re Paleo friendly but in fact traditionally use ingredients that are not. For instance, at first glance meatballs seem like little balls of meat, but a traditional meatball recipe will include breadcrumbs and milk. These are two no-nos for caveman dieters, so it becomes necessary to find ways to make them without these unauthorized ingredients.
1. Meatball Sandwich with Zucchini “Bread” & Coconut Curry Sauce
Looking for Paleo meatballs? How about a Paleo meatball sandwich! That’s right, if you thought sandwiches were one thing you couldn’t have anymore, think again. She’s come up with a great way to replicate the bread experience with zucchini so you can have what looks like a meatball sandwich, She’s got you covered on the meatballs as well, using a succulent blend of ingredients including grass-fed beef, coconut milk, onions, tomatoes, and garlic. There’s even a coconut sauce that gets drizzled on top. You’re sure to remember this recipe long after you’ve eaten it, and make it again when you get a craving.
2. Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Meatballs
The nice thing about going Paleo is that you don’t have to give up flavors like spicy or savory. In this instance they’re combining the heat of a jalapeno with the savory of ground chicken. There are a host of other ingredients that all work well to make this a taste sensation. They include onions to add to the jalapeno, and there’s also parsley and basil to round things out. They even provide a quick recipe for a tomato sauce that you can use to dip these in to try to counter some of the heat.
3. Paleo Asian Meatballs
Ground beef and ground pork combine in a ball of goodness here, and you can be sure that all of the ingredients pass the Paleo test. It’s chock full of vegetables and meat, just like a good Paleo recipe should be. They are getting their Asian flare from the use of ginger and fish sauce, and these have a unique taste that most meatballs don’t bring to the table. It’s important to get your vegetables, as eating Paleo does not mean that you are subsisting on just meat. It’s just as much gathering as it is hunting, so make sure you’re getting enough roughage to keep your body moving.
4. Garden Veggie and Herb Meatballs
This recipe is Paleo to the core, cutting out the grains and advising you to use grass fed beef for the meat. It’s also loaded up with vegetables that you’d find in any respectable garden, and has you covered with plenty of seasonings and herbs so that your taste buds are given a treat. If you were worried that following a Paleo lifestyle meant you had to eat boring or bland foods, don’t fret. It has to be one of the tastier diets out there, and these meatballs are proof of that. This recipe also offers flexibility in the way of which veggies you can choose, which is nice for times when you want to use up what you have on hand before it goes bad.
5. Paleo Pesto Meatballs
It’s really easy to make Paleo pesto because pesto is made with ingredients that are Paleo friendly, namely Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Basil. Throw in some pine nuts and this is definitely something cavemen could have eaten if they’d only had a food processor. They include a link to the recipe for the pesto, which you can make in bigger batches and use to add flavor to any of your meals where it makes sense. These pesto meatballs pack a lot of flavor, and when you combine them in the tomato sauce you’re getting plenty of nutrition and avoiding a lot of items that the body has trouble processing.
6. Beef & Bacon Meatballs
Stone Age man didn’t have it this good, but don’t worry, we won’t tell them if you don’t. The use of bacon in a recipe pretty much insures that you’re going to make it taste better, and they’ve done a good job of selecting ingredients that are both simple and flavorful, which put this into a category all its own. The sauce plays nicely with the meatiness of the meatballs, and also makes it so it keeps things moist and easy to eat up.
7. Mango Meatballs
Give them points for being brave enough to add fruit to meatballs, and for going exotic by using a tropical fruit like mango. It scores on originality, and is likely a combination that your palate is not used to. But hey, whatever works, right? And these definitely work, the sweetness of the mango and the savoriness of the ground turkey go together nicely. They use almond flour to get around the use of bread crumbs to hold it all together and keep it looking like a meatball should look. Fruit is a tertiary item in Paleo, so generally you don’t want to overdo it, but here it goes nicely.
8. Cilantro Lime Chorizo Meatballs
Chorizo may become your new best friend when eating Paleo. It’s a typically spicy sausage that will add a kick to whatever you use it in. Some may say that sausage isn’t exactly Paleo because of the processing involved, but as long as you’re buying premium meats it should be alright. The use of lime and cilantro means that you’re going to round out the flavor palate and make this a winner right from the start. And really that’s about all it takes to bring this to life in your own home. Keeping it simple is a tenet of Paleo-ism.
9. Meatballs with Crunchy Sweet Potato Chips
Almond meal provides the texture that bread crumbs otherwise would, so you don’t have to worry about eating any grains with these meatballs. They also show you how to make a meal out of this by serving them alongside sweet potato chips. Notice how they’re using spinach right along with the meat so that you’re getting your veggie fix along with the meat. Bite for bite you want to be eating vegetables along with the meat you consume. That way you know that you’re getting just as many nutrients and minerals along with the protein makeup of the meat.
10. Sweet and Tangy Venison Meatballs
Anytime you can use wild game in lieu of store bought meats you’re doing yourself a favor. This is because you know you’ll be avoiding the antibiotics and hormones that are used on conventional livestock. It’s about as close as we can get to the way things were in the Paleolithic Era. When we use modern recipes like this one that adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the venison it’s truly the best of both worlds. The sweet comes from pineapple and the tangy comes from balsamic vinegar. Yum!
11. Chipotle Meatballs
If you like to heat things up then these chipotle meatballs will be right up your alley. First, you’re getting plenty of meaty goodness in the form of ground beef, but the ensemble of ingredients that are included in this really makes the difference. Onions, mushrooms, and of course chipotle peppers create a flavor sensation. A strawberry mixture makes it so you dull the flames a bit if it gets too spicy for you. It’s also a nice way to make this sweet and spicy, always a good duo. They’re serving it all over arugula, so you’re incorporating veggies in every bite.
12. Pineapple Meatballs
Both beef and pork are used in these meatballs, which might throw off some Paleo purists because it’s not as if a caveman would have kept on hunting if they already had killed one type of animal. But there had to be days when they were fortuitous enough to run into two kinds of animal, and it would have been a special day for them. Coconut flour gets the go ahead instead of bread crumbs, and goes right in line with the use of pineapple in these sweet and savory Paleo approved meatballs. It’s a bit short on vegetables, so you may want to consider a veggie side.
13. Vietnamese Meatballs
Following Paleo means grabbing delicious flavor combinations from all over the world, and these Vietnamese inspired meatballs have a hot chili sauce as well as a fish sauce to give them a unique flavor that you probably won’t be expecting from a meatball. There’s also a recipe for a slaw to serve these on that doesn’t use any mayo and doesn’t have any cream in it either. Just a nice mix of cabbage and carrots to eat along with all the pork the meatballs contain. It’s important to balance out the meat servings with a vegetable of some sort.
14. Chicken Parm Meatballs
These meatballs are like little mini chicken parms, and deliver the flavor that you’d expect from the full sized version. Yes, they’re using mozzarella cheese here, which will turn away some that don’t allow themselves any cheese while doing Paleo. Technically cheese is a no-no along with all other dairy products. You can easily make this more Paleo by simply leaving the cheese out, but you’ll be missing the full experience. There are vegan cheese substitutes that could be a good compromise if you want the chicken parm flavor without the dairy.
15. Loaded Nacho Meatballs
These loaded nachos looked too good not to include on our list. Paleo guidelines say to nix anything dairy, and that would include the cheese and sour cream on these nachos. One workaround that we like is to head to the vegan section of the grocery store or health food store. There you’ll find suitable cheese and sour cream substitutes that won’t use any animal byproducts, so you’ll be in the clear. That way you can enjoy amazing meatballs like these without subjecting yourself to dairy. Or you can allow yourself to have meal or two a week that is not strictly Paleo.
16. Caprese Meatballs
These caprese salad inspired meatballs are delicious no matter how you choose to serve them. You don’t even need to include the mozzarella if you want to opt out of the cheese. The mixture of herbs and the inclusion of basil and sun-dried tomatoes means that you’ll still have plenty to chew on in the flavor department. A traditional “insalata caprese” is layers of tomatoes, and mozzarella with basil providing massive flavor enhancement, so these live up to their title. Be sure to serve them with a vegetable, perhaps resting on a bed of baby spinach, as by themselves they are pretty meat-centric.
17. Burger Balls
These meatballs try to deliver the taste of a bacon cheeseburger in each bite. They have enough going on that if you want to take out the cheese, or use less they’ll still taste great while keeping more in line with what you should be eating. The important thing is not to treat Paleo like a traditional diet, where it’s a house of cards that can easily topple if you eat a meal that isn’t entirely made up of authorized foods. Listening to your body is key, and the occasional meal where you satisfy your cheeseburger craving without a bun might be what you need.
18. Green Chicken Enchilada Meatballs
One great thing about Paleo is that you can partake in many Mexican themed meals by simply cutting out the flour tortillas. Here they’ve captured the essence of enchiladas and infused it into a meatball. It’s easy enough to leave out the queso fresco, aka fresh cheese, and keep this 100% dairy free. Or you can allow yourself to have it since it is not used in large amounts and really completes the flavor profile. With all of the seasonings in play here you won’t be left feel short changed, and there’s even salsa verde to deliver delicious Mexican flavor.
19. General Tso Chicken Meatballs
If General Tso’s chicken was your standard go-to when ordering Chinese, you’re probably missing it since going Paleo because it’s just not possible to eat it because of the breading used. These meatballs have you covered, and will quickly find a place on your regular lineup because they deliver on the taste, and use coconut flour for the breading, so you’re in the clear. The sauce stays true to the flavors you want, right down to the orange by using the zest and juice of an orange, so no artificial flavors here, and no worries about MSG since you get to be quality control manager.
20. Italian Meatballs
No Paleo meatball list would be complete without a classically Italian option. Here are some meatballs that will bring you back the the Old Country without the need of a plane ticket. Like any good Paleo recipe they have kept things stupidly simple as far as ingredients go. Meat, onion, parmesan cheese, herbs and spices. Totally easy, yet totally delish. They’ve scraped the bread crumbs of course, and point out that they were only ever used to make the dish more filling and to serve more people with the same amount of meat.
21. Spinach & Turkey Meatballs
This was originally created as a St. Patty’s day recipe because these come out looking green, and would go nicely with some green beer. Unfortunately beer is not authorized on Paleo, but you can still steal this green meatball recipe since it contains a fair amount of spinach to go with the ground turkey, rounding things out nicely for a Paleo eater. These are so basic that they only include 6 ingredients, and two of those are listed in the title. Rounding things out are an egg, garlic powder, salt, and cumin. Easy peasy, and totally yum. Best part is they’re baked so you can pop them in the oven and 20 minutes later you are go for consumption.
22. Sun-dried Tomato & Feta Meatballs
These are some gourmet style meatballs, and you simply can’t beat the flavor combination of sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Traditional feta cheese is made with sheep’s milk, which opens the discussion of whether dairy is avoided on Paleo because of all the junk that is pumped into conventional cows which makes its way into conventional dairy products. You’ll have to come to your own conclusions as to what you’ll allow and avoid when following your Paleo path. These meatballs are definitely worth trying if you decide to give feta cheese the green light.
23.Harissa Lamb Meatballs with Moroccan Spiced Vegetable Sauce
Harissa is a hot chili coming out of Tunisia, and if you’ve never tried it you simply must, and this meatball recipe is a great place to start. Lamb is definitely one of the approved meats while eating paleo, and this meal couldn’t get much more balanced by being served with a mix of yummy vegetables, adding even more spice to the mix and waking up your taste buds. Just when you thought it was all spice they add a few mint leaves to give you that fresh and cool taste so you can fully enjoy this on several different levels.
24. Indian Style Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Cream
These meatballs borrow from India in regards to the seasonings being used, namely garam masala, which means “hot spices” so these will get your mouth watering. They include a recipe for a garlic cream dipping sauce, and this uses Greek yogurt, which your body may or may not tolerate well. If you know for a fact that you don’t do well with it, simply skip the sauce and eat them straight up. Greek yogurt is not any more or less Paleo than regular yogurt, it simply goes through another step and has the whey strained from it. It’s still made from cow’s milk, and has the same drawbacks of all dairy products.
25. Thai Mini Meatballs
Thailand is the inspiration on these meatballs, and they’ve made them mini so they’re even easier to eat. Red curry paste is what provides the Thai flavor, and red curry is a dish that is enjoyed throughout all parts of the country. Almond flour fills in for the bread crumbs, and they even go so far as the use Thai basil for a truly authentic recipe. The base of these meatballs is grass fed beef, so they’re having you use a quality meat from cows that were not fed grains, and it should be free of antibiotics as well. The ingredients in this are simple and can be found either online or at your local grocery store.
26. “Kofte Kebab” Lamb Meatballs
If you’re a fan of kofte kebabs you’ll love these lamb meatballs because they bring that same flavor without the need of a skewer. They even get it right with the inclusion of mint leaves so you have all of those seasonings plus that distinctive mint flavor that typically comes with these. They recommend serving this alongside a Greek salad which is a great idea and sticks to the theme. There is also a recipe for a tahini infused dipping sauce, but you may want to avoid this as it contains dairy in the form of Greek yogurt. They suggest a squeeze of lemon as an alternative.
27. Curry Meatballs and Mashed Cauliflower
This is a Paleo balanced plate if ever we’ve seen one. You get a wonderful curry flavor in the meatballs, made up of your choice of ground meat, they recommend combining a few of them and suggest beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, or veal. So since you’re getting your fair share of meat, you also need to get your fair share of vegetables. Their serving suggestion has a side of mashed cauliflower (recipe included) as well as a side of broccoli. Pure Paleo perfection on a plate.
28. I Heart Meatballs Diane
If you’re a fan of Steak Diane you’ll totally appreciate how they’ve transformed it to meatballs for a bite-size version that can be served as a dinner for a small group or appetizers for a larger group. This not only contains grass fed beef but also includes beef hearts. You’d better believe early man was not going to let parts of the animal go to waste, so this is in line with the Paleo philosophy, and there is evidence that several organ meats provide additional minerals and nutrients not found in other parts of the animal most commonly eaten.
29. Bora Bora Fireballs
We just had to find out how these got the nickname fireball. The ball part was easy because that’s what form they come in, but we soon discovered that it’s the collision of jalapeno and cayenne pepper that brings the heat. Pineapple does a good job of keeping this grounded with a bit of sweetness, and coconut lends its familiar flavor to these island inspired meatballs. Pork gets the call as the meat being used to keep them meaty.
30. Chicken Florentine Meatballs
We’re suckers for Paleo recipes that are made Florentine because that means there will be hefty amounts of spinach in them, which means we’re getting topped up on our vegetables at the same time we’ve got a mouthful of meatiness. They have these sitting on top a pile of spaghetti squash, so it’s doing a great job of bringing a popular dish of spaghetti and meatballs, but making it so no wheat gets harmed in the process. You flat out can’t beat the ingredients used on this as far as flavor and Paleo-readiness goes.
31. Coconut Curry Lamb and Beef Meatballs
Coconut and curry go together like peas and carrots, the coconut giving a sweet and delicate flavor, and the curry giving it some spice and robustness. The step by step visual walkthrough makes these caveman easy to follow, and the use of both curry powder and garam masala mean that the aroma of curry is going to permeate your house. This is one of the better curry meatball recipes we’ve seen, Paleo or otherwise, and it’s using both a beef and lamb to get the job done.
32. Buffalo Ranch Chicken Meatballs
These are made to Whole30 standards, so you know you’re covered. Whole30 starts with Paleo as a base and then makes further exclusions based on the most recent studies on how foods affect the human body. That means you can get both your spicy buffalo fix, as well as your ranch fix handled without having to worry about ruining your progress with an off meal. They remind you to check the ingredients on the buffalo sauce you use to make sure that it’s not sneaking additives that simply don’t belong in it. This is a great way to get the boneless buffalo wing experience without having to worry how they make them.
33. Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce
These are some pretty classic meatballs, using both lamb and beef gives them a more complex flavor than just one meat alone. The tomato sauce that accompanies them is a mixture of simplicity and traditional ingredients that really ties together the offering. Make sure to include a generous serving of vegetables, perhaps a big salad to go with it because aside from the tomato and onion in the sauce there isn’t much in the way of vegetables in the actual meatballs. Contrary to popular misconception Paleo is all about finding a balance between meat and veggies with some fruit and healthy fats, not just eating the equivalent of a brontosaurus.
34. Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs
Raspberries provide their unique combination of sweet and tart, and chipotle brings its notorious heat that spices things up but not to the point where it hurts. That’s what makes these meatballs something special, and this recipe one you’ll turn to as frequently as you’d like. The use of both ground pork and bacon means that there’s a lot of pig products, and they work together with garlic and fennel seeds in a truly inspired Paleo friendly dish. These don’t use much in the way of vegetables so be sure to eat a leafy green salad for fiber and nutrients.
35. Bacon Wrapped Meatballs with Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil and Walnut Pesto
How to make a meatball even more delicious while keeping it Paleo? Wrap it in bacon! Here’s a creation that will have you salivating as you put it together. Grass-fed ground beef makes up most of the meatball, and they’ve managed to squeeze onion and mushrooms into this as well. There is also a recipe for pesto included, and all of the ingredients stick to the Paleo regimen. What you end up with is a pesto-topped, bacon-wrapped meatballs that present well enough to serve at a party.
36. Gluten Free Swedish Meatballs
Swedish meatballs are one of the most classic meatballs, and if you’d like yours without the use of horsemeat this is the way to go. They’ve made these gluten free by subbing out the traditional bread or bread crumbs with almond flour and white rice flour. When you eat Paleo you are automatically going to be following a gluten-free diet because you’re getting rid of all grains entirely, including wheat, which is where gluten is found. Here you’re getting a classic recipe made according to Paleo standards so you can enjoy it without the bloated heavy feeling afterward.
37. Paleo Sweet and Sour Meatballs
One fare that you will most likely have to forego while on Paleo is Chinese food. But how can you cope without Sweet and Sour Chicken? Try these sweet and sour meatballs on for size. They use ground turkey instead of chicken, but you could also use ground chicken just as easily. They then go on to create a sweet and sour sensation with each meatball, sticking a toothpick into each one and making sure you get a bite of both peppers and pineapple. The sour comes from the fresh ginger being used. It might not be exactly like the real thing, but it may help get you by.
38. Bourbon & Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs
We’re pretty sure that Stone Age man was not enjoying an after dinner bourbon, but that’s OK. Alcohol is not a Paleo approved item, but none of it will remain after these are done cooking, so you can enjoy the flavor that’s left over without breaking from the plan. The meatballs themselves are pretty standard, a mix of ground turkey and spices and seasonings. It’s the glaze that gets all the attention, and for good reason. That’s where the bourbon is and it’s mixed with cider and rosemary for a very eclectic taste that is not typical with most meatballs out there.
39. Liver & Bacon Meatballs
Three, count ‘em, three meats are used in these meatiest of meatballs, so don’t worry that it uses liver if you’re not the biggest fan of organ meats. It’s starting with a base of ground beef, and also includes bacon so the liver is a side character in the overall picture. These are meaty to the max, and the onion that’s in them is not enough in the way of vegetables so be sure to balance this meal out with a hefty salad or other veggie dish. As far as protein and iron and magnesium goes, you’re getting essential elements your body needs to function properly.
40. Green Chile Chicken Taco Meatballs with Chipotle Sauce
If you’re a fan of tacos and want that delicious flavor without the shells, here’s a taco meatball recipe that should have you all taken care of. It starts with ground chicken, so the taste will resemble chicken tacos. If you’d rather use ground beef then you’ll end up with a dish that tastes like beef tacos. Green chiles give this all the flavor it needs, but they step things up and bring on a chipotle sauce that makes things extra awesome. Add to that premium ingredients like fire roasted tomatoes and you are so good to go.
41. Moroccan Meatballs
If you love Moroccan food you’re in luck because there are plenty of Moroccan foods that you can fully enjoy while you are doing Paleo. The unique blend of ingredients is specific to the Moroccan region, and here we see paprika and cumin used in both the meatballs and the sauce that goes with them. Lamb is getting the nod for the meat, and if you’ve ever had Moroccan lamb shanks you’ll know that lamb goes great with Moroccan seasonings. These don’t have any vegetables in them, so be sure to have a salad with it, perhaps a Moroccan themed salad to make it a fully Moroccan meal.
42. Wild Boar Meatballs
Nothing is quite as Paleo as eating a wild animal, and in this case they’ve procured some minced wild boar to really replicate how things might have been 10k years ago and earlier. Today’s pork products come from pigs that have long been domesticated, and even organic pork is going to come from swine that are nowhere near their wild counterparts in terms of how they are raised. The difference comes out in the flavor, so subbing pork for this boar is not going to result in the same product.
43. Scotch Eggs
Scotch eggs are like meatballs with a hardboiled egg on the inside, all of which should have a Paleo dieters saliva glands working overtime. They are using turkey mince meat to wrap around the hard boiled eggs. As you might have guessed you boil the eggs before wrapping them up and cooking the outer meat. This is great for prep time because while the eggs are boiling you can be getting the rest of the ingredients ready. They recommend using ground almonds or coconut flour as a workaround for the standard bread crumb coating.
44. Thai Meatballs with Slaw
Meatballs are not a popular dish in Thailand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use Thai spices and flavors that suit them. Here it’s a combination of red curry paste and coconut milk that will make you feel like you’re trekking through Southeastern Asia without having to pack a backpack. It’s served with a cabbage filled slaw so it does a good job of making sure you’re getting your vegetables along with a healthy dose of ground beef. Overall this dish is worthy of the Thai title, as it does a good job of paying homage to the kinds of flavors encountered there and translating it to meatballs.