Italian Meatballs served with Garden Fresh Salad

Meatballs are a family favorite in our house. My Grandpa Al was 100% Italian, both his parents immigrated to America in the early 1900’s from Italy. I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with my grandfather and learn to make a lot of the foods his mother, my Great Grandma Tessa, prepared. Unfortunately most of the Italian food I love does not have the best nutritional value. But with the changes I made to these I am able to get a taste of my childhood without all the guilt.

My Grandfather, Al Genatone

These meatballs are breadcrumb free! And they are just as moist and tender as the ones I grew up eating. Traditionally a meatball has what is called a panade added to it. A panade is a mixture of breadcrumbs and milk to add moisture to the meatball and keep it from becoming tough and dense. I replaced my panade with almond flour and the meatballs turned out amazing! On special occasions I serve these with gluten free pasta. But for normal week night meals we eat them with my garden fresh salad.

Makes about 40 meatballs. One serving is about 3 meatballs and 1 cup of sauce. Calories per serving: 343; Fat per serving: 15g; Carb per serving: 17g; Protein per serving: 34g.


  • 4 lbs of lean ground beef
  • 1 lbs of Italian pork sausage (I use the hot, others may prefer the mild)
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 large sweet onion (if small use the whole onion)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c almond flour (I buy the Kirkland brand at Costco)
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp dried basil ground in spice mortar
  • 2 tsp dried Italian parsley ground in spice mortar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place meat in a large mixing bowl. In your blender (I use the Ninja Blender) puree the bell pepper, 1/2 sweet onion, and garlic cloves. Set 2-3 TBS to the side, to put in the sauce. Add the rest of the pureed ingredients to the meat. Add the rest of the ingredients to the meat and mix very well with hands. Roll out meat balls with hands, see size in picture, roll until they keep there shape. Place on baking sheet with about 1/4 inch of space between each ball. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25 min. Traditionally they are cooked in a skillet, but the baking method saves so much time! When they are done place the meatballs in the sauce.

Italian Red Sauce

  • 1 TBS olive oil (I use Kirkland brand from Costco)
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2-28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes ( I use Hunt’s or Cento)
  • 1-28 oz can of tomato sauce (I use hunts or Cento)
  • 2 tsp of dried basil ground in spice mortar
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ground in spice mortar
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram ground in spice mortar
  • 1 tsp dried oregeno ground in spice mortar
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped sweet basil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • *1/2 tsp of stevia *optional ingredient only used if the sauce is tasting very acidic.

Heat up olive oil in a 6+ quart heavy duty stainless steel stock pot on medium heat. Once heated add in chopped garlic. Let saute for 2-3 minutes, be sure to not let the garlic burn. Turn heat down to low. Open cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce pour slowly into stock pot. Stir in the puree you saved from the meatball recipe. Add all the dried spices, fresh basil, salt and pepper, and stir. When meatballs are done baking place in sauce. You will have to gently stir the meatballs in several times to fit them all in the sauce. Let cook on low stirring occasionally for 4-6 hours. Serve with fresh grated parmesan sprinkled on top.

I hope you enjoy these as much as our family!


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Tessa Ludwig


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