Perfect Gluten-Free Italian Meatballs

When I ask my daughter what she would like for dinner she always says, “Spaghetti and meatballs, please”. I love spaghetti and meatballs too, who doesn’t? Yet I could never find a great paleo and gluten-free Italian meatball recipe that I loved until now.

Traditional meatballs are usually full of gluten and dairy in the form of bread, milk, and cheese. There are many gluten and dairy-free meatball recipes out there, but most are made without a panade (a mixture of starch and liquid that keeps meatballs moist and keep their shape). The flavor is usually good, but the texture is generally tough or rubbery. Other recipes use coconut or almond flour, but this doesn’t quite have the same effect.

This recipe for perfect gluten-free Italian meatballs has a key secret ingredient that makes a perfect panade for your meatballs.

These flavor-packed gluten-free Italian meatballs are amazing on their own for a kid-friendly snack. And of course, they pair amazingly well with gluten-free pasta, zucchini noodles, or as a topping for your favorite gluten-free, paleo-friendly pizza crust.

Meatballs are super easy to freeze and reheat, so I always make a double batch. You will thank yourself when you are busy during the week and can reheat delicious gluten-free meatballs for your family’s weeknight dinner. Or make a double batch and enjoy them for your lunches during the week. You might just have to hide them from your family.

This recipe is adapted from Paleo Perfected by American’s Test Kitchen. I highly recommend this cookbook if you are looking for more delicious paleo, gluten-free, and Whole 30 recipes.

Make sure to check out my recommendations for the best gluten-free pasta, gluten-free pizza crusts, whole30 marinara sauce, and dairy-free cheese at the end of this post. Believe me, I have tried them all.

If you love to pair wine with your Italian meatball dinner, try a classic red wine. Italian-style reds, like Chianti, are the perfect pairing. Make sure you read my article about natural wine, Give Me All the Wine…Without the Headaches, before choosing your next bottle of wine.

So, gather your ingredients and give this recipe a try!

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Recipe Steps:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add cashews and boil until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well. This is the super secret key ingredient πŸ™‚

boiling cashews

While the cashews are boiling, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and lightly browned. Add garlic, oregano, basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes (optional) and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

onions in skillet

In your food processor, add the onion mixture, boiled cashews, egg, and salt. Process until a fine paste develops, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

ingredients in food processor
onion mixture

Add ground beef or lamb and knead with your hands until well combined.

Roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and place onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. I use a cookie scoop to make this process faster. 

uncooked meatballs on tray

Bake meatballs in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until meatballs are browned and cooked through. Enjoy!

meatballs and pasta

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Perfect Gluten-Free Italian Meatballs

These are the perfect gluten-free Italian meatballs. They are great with your favorite gluten-free pasta, zucchini noodles, or on top of gluten-free pizza crust. They can also be served as an appetizer with marinara dipping sauce.

Course Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, keto, paleo, sugar free, whole 30
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 family members
Author Kat

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef or lamb

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add cashews and boil until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well.

  3. While the cashews are boiling, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and lightly browned. Add garlic, oregano, basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes (optional) and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

  4. In your food processor, add the onion mixture, boiled cashews, egg, and salt. Process until a fine paste develops, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  5. Add ground beef or lamb and knead with your hands until well combined.

  6. Roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and place onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. I use a cookie scoop to make this process faster. 

  7. Bake meatballs in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until meatballs are browned and cooked through

Recipe Notes

Instead of baking the meatballs, you could brown them in a skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Turn frequently to brown all sides. Then place your meatballs into sauce and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.Β 

Did you make this recipe and love it!? Make sure to Pin it and share the goodness with your friends and family. Thank you!

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6 thoughts on “Perfect Gluten-Free Italian Meatballs

  1. I just showed this recipe to my husband and we are ALL ABOUT this meal! It looks so delicious! We have been researching the Keto Diet more lately, and how awesome that this is acceptable under the diet’s guidelines! Thank you so much for sharing!
    xx, Morgs*

  2. These look absolutely delicious! I’ll defo be saving this recipe and having it on my meal plan for next week. I looove meatballs, but mine have always turned out too crumbly!

    Emily
    xx

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