Most people enjoy meatballs in savory pastas and sandwiches, slathered in a rich sauce. While these scrumptious meaty morsels complement various dishes, meatballs can shine bright on their own, even with a dollop of simple sauce and few seasonings. This recipe by Jennafer Ashley of PaleoHacks, created exclusively for Mercola.com readers, takes your favorite meatballs and gives them a ketogenic twist. Paired with a fresh chimichurri sauce, this is a dish that you and your loved ones will want to savor endlessly.
Keto Chimichurri Meatballs Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutesTotal time: 40 minutes
Serving Size: 5 servings (10 meatballs)
For the meatballs
- 1 pound 93 percent lean ground grass fed beef
- 1/3 cup finely chopped organic cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the chimichurri sauce
- 1/3 cup avocado oil (plus 2 tablespoons for frying meatballs)
- 1/2 cup chopped curly parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the meatballs:
1Combine ingredients for meatballs in a medium mixing bowl and use your hands to thoroughly mix. Form into golf ball-sized meatballs.
2Heat 2 tablespoons avocado oil in a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium heat for two minutes. Place five meatballs in pan at a time and cook for 15 minutes, rotating them every four minutes. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.
3Serve the meatballs hot topped with chimichurri sauce.
For the chimichurri sauce:
- While the meatballs cook, combine the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce in a food processor or blender.
- Blend until thoroughly combined.
How Do These Meatballs Stand Out From the Rest?
You may have never thought about this, but do you know how meatballs came to be? The Atlantic notes that meatballs may have been derived from an ancient Persian dish called kofta, which is made with minced or ground beef, chicken, pork or lamb, and combined with rice, bulgur or mashed lentils. Most meatballs nowadays are usually a blend of lean ground beef, fattier ground pork or veal, moist breadcrumbs, herbs and even cheese, bound together by an egg.1
While this meatball recipe may seem simple and different compared to typical variations, you’ll be surprised at the bursts of flavor you get with each bite.
Only Select High-Quality Grass Fed Beef
High-quality grass fed beef is the only type of beef you should consider for this meatball recipe, and other beef dishes. Unlike meat that comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), grass fed beef tends to have higher amounts of:
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): Cows who eat grass instead of being fed grain have CLA levels that are two to three times higher, potentially helping optimize your cholesterol levels and reduce your heart disease risk.
- Antioxidants like vitamins A and E, and the enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase: These may assist in fighting free radicals that can cause oxidation and spoilage.2
Farmers that raise grass fed cows reduce their negative impacts on the environment too. Not only are the cows not given maintenance antibiotics, but they are allowed to roam in pasture, where they eat their natural diet and get ample amounts of sunlight, thereby potentially increasing the nutrients in their bodies.
On the other hand, CAFOs are considered one of the top polluters on the planet. CAFOs in the U.S. produce 500 million tons of manure yearly, three times the amount of sewage produced by humans.
When looking for high-quality grass fed beef, look for The American Grassfed Association’s (AGA) logo, a trustworthy and much-needed set of standards and certification for American-grown grass fed meat and dairy.3 If you spot this logo, this means that animals were fed with a 100 percent forage diet during their lifetime, raised on pasture and not in CAFOs, and weren’t administered hormones or antibiotics.4
Fresh Herbs Make This Chimichurri Sauce Healthy and Delicious
Chimichurri sauce is made by combining fresh herbs, vinegar and olive oil, which are worked with a mortar and pestle to produce a thick and silky paste. Its origins can be traced to Argentina, where it’s served alongside grilled steak or chicken, or used as a taco sauce or tofu or meat marinade. Most chimichurri recipes use parsley as its main ingredient, although other varieties can have cilantro, basil or mint.5
Unlike traditional recipes, this chimichurri is made with avocado oil. Learning how to make this simple sauce can be advantageous. Not only does it provide additional flavor, but the herbs in it have immense health benefits too:
- Parsley: Its antioxidant content is unparalleled and remains to be one of the highest antioxidant counts among plants, with 100 grams of fresh and raw parsley containing an oxygen radical absorbance capacity of 74,349. Plus, you can find vitamins A, K and C, calcium, iron, flavonoids and other volatile oils that may help deliver health benefits such as:
- Acting as a diuretic
- Helping build strong bones
- Boosting immune system function
- Reducing inflammation
A 2013 Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine article also highlighted parsley’s usage in traditional and folk medicines. Researchers discovered that this herb helped address conditions like amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, gastrointestinal disorder, hypertension, cardiac disease, urinary disease, otitis, sniffle, diabetes and various dermal diseases.6
- Cilantro: This herb contains vitamins A, C and K, B vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. Cilantro also contains polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin and apeginin that contribute to the herb’s antioxidant properties,7 as well as antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory8 and antianxiety9 effects. Some benefits cilantro can bring include:
- Serves as a potent chelator that eliminates heavy metals and toxins from the body10
- Decreases risk for stomach problems like nausea and vomiting11
- Addresses yeast infections, immune system weakness, migraines, colds, flu and sore throat12
- Helps lower total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein levels (based on an animal study)13
When buying herbs for your chimichurri, always remember to pick organically grown produce. This ensures that they weren’t sprayed with any harmful pesticides or insecticides that may affect the quality of the herbs and decrease their nutritional value.
About the Blog
PaleoHacks is a top source for amazing Paleo recipes, fitness tips and wellness advice to help you live life to the fullest. If you have questions regarding the Paleo diet in general, PaleoHacks may provide you with the answers that you may need.
Sources and References