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.
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:
- On top of spaaaagheeeeeetti…gluten-free spaghetti, of course.
- Skip the pasta and serve the meatballs with rice and tomato sauce.
- Skip the pasta AND the rice, and serve it as a meat dish to go along with some vegetables.
- Make a meatball sandwich using gluten-free bread, slices of parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce.
So, how do you make your meatballs?