My brain does the same thing every Friday around noon: it starts thinking less about work and more about the food I can make over the weekend. I start researching traditional recipes online that I can make over into paleo versions. I write recipe ideas into a small notebook I keep with me pretty much all the time, and I start developing grocery lists of items to purchase later.
This Friday, this dreaming and research led me to one of my best recipe creations yet (if I do say so myself): Paleo Swedish Meatballs! Seriously guys, these were so real deal I almost couldn’t believe that they were entirely grain- and dairy-free. Move over Ikea, these balls are off the hook.
I used the traditional flavors of Swedish meatballs, but held the meatballs together with arrowroot powder instead of the traditional white bread and milk, and made a beef gravy with thick coconut milk instead of cream. We served the meatballs over butternut squash noodles and it was pure Swedish heaven.
Here’s how you can make these in your kitchen:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/4 sweet onion, diced finely
- 1 tbsp butter, ghee or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp all-spice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (this will be used to keep the meatballs warm) Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic have softened and browned, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the onion mixture and all of the other meatball ingredients into a large bowl, mixing together with your hands to combine fully. Once the mixture is well combined, roll the meat into small meatballs, about 1-2 inches across. The mixture should make about 30 meatballs.
3. Place the meatballs in a large sauté pan over high heat and cook, turning to brown on all sides, until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Place the meatballs in a baking dish and put them into a 200-degree oven to stay warm. Save the pan used to cook the meatballs (meat scraps and brown bits and all!)
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp coconut milk (this works best if you use canned coconut milk and DON’T mix it up, scooping your tablespoons from the top where the thickest part of the milk settles)
1. In the same pan used to cook the meatballs, melt the butter over medium-high heat and, using a whisk, lift up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, use a large liquid measuring cup to combine the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and the arrowroot powder, whisking until the arrowroot has fully dissolved.
2. Add the broth and arrowroot mixture to the pan, stirring to combine. Increase the stove temperature and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, letting it cook until it begins to reduce, about 3-5 minutes. Then, add the 3 tbsp coconut milk to the pan and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
3. Continue to cook the broth mixture, uncovered and whisking frequently, until it thickens and reaches your desired consistency for the gravy. (Mine took about 5 additional minutes.) Once the gravy has reached a good consistency, turn off the heat and add the meatballs back into the pan, tossing to coat.
The meatballs can be served as is, or served on top of some kind of vegetable noodle, cauliflower rice or mashed potato. We used butternut squash noodles (made using our spiralizer) and boiled them for a few minutes while the gravy was cooking, tossing them in with the meatballs at the end to be coated in the sauce.
This was seriously amazing! Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it!