On Top of Gluten-Free Spaghetti? First, Let’s Just Get on Top of Gluten-Free Meatballs!

Image Courtesy of http://annmah.net/2007/12/07/five-items-porcupine-meatballs/, where you can find another GF meatball recipe.
Image Courtesy of http://annmah.net/2007/12/07/five-items-porcupine-meatballs/, where you can find another GF meatball recipe.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of gluten-free meatballs is gluten-free spaghetti. And, after thinking really hard for something clever to say about spaghetti, all I can come up with is that horrible camp song, “On top of spaaaagheeeetti, all covered with cheeeeeese/I lost my poor meeeeaaatbaaaall…” The song where every stretch of vowels is as long as your list of symptoms before you started your gluten-free diet. Gluten-free spaghetti is a funny food: it’s slimy and dangly, and supposedly you can squirt it out your nose. Gluten-free meatballs are not as funny, but then again, I’ve never seen that movie…Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (I know, I’ve failed my inner child).

Making basic gluten-free meatballs is pretty easy. It’s not like bread, where you have to reconfigure all the ingredients and then watch it all fall over and sink under in a soggy mess a few times before you get it right. All you have to do is find a decent replacement for breadcrumbs.

Michelle and our readers came up with some great ideas for breadcrumb alternatives in her gluten-free meatloaf recipe: make your own by cutting up gluten-free bread or use quinoa flakes, chia, ground flax, cereal crumbs from Chex and corn flakes, or crumbled tortilla chips.

The gluten-free grocery guide, which lists 11 different brands that sell various types of gluten-free bread crumbs, says that Hol-Grain and Ener-G make gluten-free bread crumbs if you would like to buy premade bread crumbs.

This is a classic meatball recipe adapted from Blog Chef.

Meatballs: Easily Made Gluten-Free!

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs lean beef or pork

¼ cup parmesan cheese

1 large slightly beaten egg

½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (or alternatives from above)

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ cup milk

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried parsley

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Shape mixture into small- or medium-sized meatballs (about 2”)
  • Place meatballs on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 25 minutes.

And, since you’re a Gluten-Free Champion of the World (Yes, you have to deal with the gluten-free diet – Every. Single. Day. You get to be a champion), you’ll also need several options for serving your meatballs:

  1. On top of spaaaagheeeeeetti…gluten-free spaghetti, of course.
  2. Skip the pasta and serve the meatballs with rice and tomato sauce.
  3. Skip the pasta AND the rice, and serve it as a meat dish to go along with some vegetables.
  4. Make a meatball sandwich using gluten-free bread, slices of parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce.

So, how do you make your meatballs?


10 thoughts on “On Top of Gluten-Free Spaghetti? First, Let’s Just Get on Top of Gluten-Free Meatballs!”

  1. I love making them in the crockpot when I use beef! I don’t use egg or milk, I just use a healthy dose of EVOO, about 1/16c. A little goes a long way! I also usually forgo the parmesan cheese since my hubby is lactose intolerant.

    I also love using ground turkey. It’s healthier and more moist than beef or pork, so I use less EVOO in that recipe, and the texture of the meatball is divine!

    I form them into meatballs using the ingredients above (minus milk and egg) and then either put them in the crock pot with a jar of sauce on high for 3 hours (good for Sunday football games and parties!) or I cook them on the stovetop in a pan, until well browned, and cook them the rest of the way in a saucepan with our favorite sauce.

    I’ve also tried adding a little ground chili pepper when making them in the crock for something a little different.

  2. I love making them in the crockpot when I use beef! I don’t use egg or milk, I just use a healthy dose of EVOO, about 1/16c. A little goes a long way! I also usually forgo the parmesan cheese since my hubby is lactose intolerant.

    I also love using ground turkey. It’s healthier and more moist than beef or pork, so I use less EVOO in that recipe, and the texture of the meatball is divine!

    I form them into meatballs using the ingredients above (minus milk and egg) and then either put them in the crock pot with a jar of sauce on high for 3 hours (good for Sunday football games and parties!) or I cook them on the stovetop in a pan, until well browned, and cook them the rest of the way in a saucepan with our favorite sauce.

    I’ve also tried adding a little ground chili pepper when making them in the crock for something a little different.

  3. The great thing about meatballs is … you don’t NEED breadcrumbs. They’re delicious without any breadcrumbs! Eggs and dried onions can really bind the meat together.

  4. The great thing about meatballs is … you don’t NEED breadcrumbs. They’re delicious without any breadcrumbs! Eggs and dried onions can really bind the meat together.

  5. We made hamburgers the other day by throwing rice crackers (the kind you find in the japanese section of the grocery store) in the food processor to make cracker crumbs out of those. They worked very well! I’ll have to try using tortilla chips, though – perfect way to use those ones that have staled out – turn them into “crumbs”!

  6. We made hamburgers the other day by throwing rice crackers (the kind you find in the japanese section of the grocery store) in the food processor to make cracker crumbs out of those. They worked very well! I’ll have to try using tortilla chips, though – perfect way to use those ones that have staled out – turn them into “crumbs”!

  7. I have used whole rolled oats in place of breadcrumbs in meatballs and meatloaf with great success! Not for gluten free reasons, but I used them because I was out of breadcrumbs. The oats are healthier and they soak up the juices to make for a more moist meatball and meatloaf. As another person commented, I have used potato flakes successfully but it makes for a slightly more bland product.

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