If you’re just here to see our most popular meatball recipe, scroll to the bottom!
Why Are Meatballs So Difficult to Make?
Meatballs have been a big debate amongst big-name chefs and home-chefs for a long time.
Many think they have the secret to the most juicy and tender meatballs. We’re sure most of them taste delicious – but none of them will be perfect.
Like any dish, its success relies on variables like flavor, texture and appearance. All of which are subjective to the person eating or judging them.
The hardest part about making meatballs is getting the meat to stay together in a ball. Let’s tackle that problem first!
My Meatballs Won’t Stay Together!
In most recipes, the classic binding combination used is egg and breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs will be a little more consistent with the texture of the meat, which is why people love using it instead of alternatives. The breadcrumbs will keep moisture of the meat within the ball and will stop the meat compacting during the cooking process.
Egg on the other hand, is sticky and will glue the meat and breadcrumbs together. The key with both is balance – too many breadcrumbs and your meatball recipe will be more of a bolognese meat sauce once they’re mixed with the sauce!
Alternatively, people have used flour instead of breadcrumbs for a more dense, and sometimes softer texture to the meatballs.
Our recipes in contrast, were created with health in mind. So, you won’t find any breadcrumbs or four in them. Just egg to keep the meat together!
Here’s a quick tip for you. Before you start rolling the meatballs, dab a very small amount of oil on your hands. This will stop the meat sticking to your hands and ultimately peeling apart.
When you start to roll them, remember that you’re not making a snowball. We don’t want to crush the meat and pack it tightly. We are only trying to guide the meat into a spherical shape – gently!
My Meatballs Don’t Taste of Anything!
This is a classic problem faced by many. Usually because there’s a lack of focus on seasoning the meatballs themselves.
The mistake is thinking that the flavor of meatball dishes comes from the sauce. While the sauce is there to create a base flavor for the entire dish, the meatballs should stand out on their own as mouthwatering and delicious!
To achieve this, use herbs and spices!
Lots of meatball recipes call for basil, some call for parsley – but very few call for anything adventurous. Try adding a sprinkle of nutmeg with turmeric and cinnamon. Or if you want something a little spicier and flavorful, try some coriander, paprika, nutmeg and cardamom!
It Takes Too Long to Mix the Meat Up!
So many people try to use a big spoon or other handheld object to mix the meat with the seasonings. This is a mistake. This will rarely result in an even mixture. Some of your balls will be very flavorful and well made, then some will be falling apart and taste bland.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – figuratively speaking, of course. Your meat should be clean and great quality!
Dig your just-washed hands in there and lightly press your fingers through the meat to mix the seasonings and egg without crushing the meat. You should still see chunks of intact ground beef!
My Meatballs Are Too Dry!
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your sauce will be enough to keep your meat moist. Skipping the searing process and jumping straight into pot or oven cooking, will quickly cause your meatballs to dry up and sometimes shrink.
Searing your meatballs prior to slow cooking or broiling them will keep most of the juices within the meat.
Not only will you keep the meatballs tender and juicy, you won’t have lost the flavor from the herbs and spices!
What Is a Healthy Meatball Recipe?
A healthy meatball recipe may sound like a fallacy. It may sound like you’re seeking the end of a rainbow or the last unicorn. But there’s no reason why you should accept meatballs as a health-compromise just to get the juicy, meaty taste associated with dishes like this.
There are lots of reasons why people assume meatballs cannot be healthy.
It’s important to recognize that long-term overconsumption of meat – any meat – will stress your body in certain ways. With that being said, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy servings of meat-rich meals once in a while. Your body will use the nutrients it can in a positive way and any negative effects will be short-lived, so long as you’re not consistently consuming an unhealthy diet that continues to stress your body.
Many meatball recipes call for a mixture of beef, pork and veal. This will make for a pretty expensive meal if you choose high quality meat. Our recipes only make use of ground sirloin.
Great quality pork is hard to find and veal is expensive and even harder to find. If you can make great quality beef taste even better than the mix of three, why wouldn’t you?!
High Fat Content
It is common to see a meatball recipe that calls for added fat. Whether it’s from pancetta or buying a meat that isn’t lean – like pork!
Meals high in saturated fats have been shown to increase blood viscosity – or blood thickness.¹ The slower rate of blood flow means oxygen is getting transported slowly. Limited oxygen supply to the brain can cause feelings of fatigue or lethargy.
Ever noticed how tired you feel after a big meal?
Paleo is often praised for the low carb and higher fat content, claiming it as a very healthy lifestyle.
It definitely can be. The key is understanding that the term high-fat means higher than normal. It also requires most of those fats to be unsaturated – not saturated and trans fats.
Choosing meat that is low in fat means you’ll still receive a healthy amount of saturated fat but you won’t be over consuming it. We pick ground sirloin for our meatball recipe strictly for this reason. It’s high quality and low in fat.
Levels of Sodium
With any meat-based dish, it’s very easy to end up with a more sodium than you had first planned.
First there’s the seasoning you include in the mix. If you use a pre-mixed, store-bought seasoning then there is most likely salt inside. If you then add some sort of processed meat like pancetta or an alternative, that’s more added salt.
Do you see how easy it is to over eat sodium? According to the American Heart Association most people consume over double the recommended amount!
Below we’ve included not only our most popular meatball recipe but also our famous meatball stroganoff.
Our Most Popular Meatball Recipe
Hidden Veggie Meatballs
This meatball recipe will give you a healthy dose of protein without compromising on fiber or other important nutrients. You can still add a small portion of vegetables on the side and flavor them with any sauce you’d like!
It originated in Russia in the 1800s and has since grown to include several thousand different variations of the recipe.
Instead of thick cuts and chunks of beef his version features some tender meatballs!