• chef janet

Gluten-Free Minty Meatballs

You may be a little puzzled by the mint in these meatballs, but the bright, fresh flavor of mint is a great balance to a savory meat recipe. I use ground turkey because I am not a fan of the flavor of ground beef. Also, I like to add a little ground pork (not lean) for flavor. Have no fear, try it!

I cook my meatballs in a mini muffin tin because I don’t like to babysit my food. With this method, the pan goes in the oven for 25 minutes and that’s it. No flipping no stirring. Better yet, I can prepare the rest of the meal while they’re cooking.

Add some spicy tomato sauce and some sweet spaghetti squash and you have a perfect dish.


Makes about 24 meatballs

1 lb dark meat ground turkey ¼ lb ground pork (not lean) 1 small onion, minced or 2 tsps granulated onion 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley 2 Tbsp dried mint 1 Tbsp dried oregano 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp+  kosher salt ¼ tsp finely ground black pepper 1 egg ¾ cup gluten-free bread crumbs, I use Kinnikinnick Gluten-Free Panko Style or Ian’s Gluten-Free Panko Style 1/3 cup milk (dairy-free is fine too)

The meatballs

Heat the oven to 400°

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the meat. Beat until well combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the meat. Now take your time because one key to a good meatball is to keep it fluffy. If you mash, the meatballs will turn out dense. So use your fingers to break up the meat and gently combine it with the herb and bread crumb mixture.

The next key to a good meatball is to make sure the flavors are right and you can’t taste raw meat! Tasting it before cooking all the meatballs is crucial. So put a small skillet on the stove, heat it up and drop in a small piece of the meat mixture. Cook it through and taste. It may need more salt. If so, add a few pinches. You should be able to taste the mint and oregano, if not add a few pinches more of each. Gently combine again and cook another small piece to taste.

When you’re satisfied with the flavor it’s time to make meatballs. Spray a mini muffin tin with oil.

Again no dense meatballs. So gently form them and try not to be concerned about them being perfectly round. The less you roll them around, the better. Place in the muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile . . .

Spicy Red Sauce

Making meatballs can be a little time-consuming but I still insist on making sauce from scratch. Sauces from a jar are too salty for me. So I have kept this sauce recipe quick and easy by using tomato paste, with dried herbs and spices. The granulated garlic and onion flavor the sauce more quickly than fresh. But if you want to use fresh, go for it. Just be sure to simmer the sauce longer.

1 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp granulated garlic (or 3 cloves minced garlic) 2 tsp granulated onion (or ½ onion minced or grated) 1 can tomato paste 1 cup low-sodium chicken or veregtarian broth 2 Tbsp dried Italian herbs (1/4 c fresh herbs) salt 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes

The sauce

Heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, granulated garlic and onion. Swirl the pan for 15 seconds. If you’re using fresh onion and garlic cook the onion for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the tomato paste and stir with a whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. You will need to add the salt to taste. The saltiness of your tomato paste will determine how much you will need. Add a pinch or two and taste until you like it.

Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Taste again and adjust the seasoning to your taste.


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