Welcome back! I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL the past few months. Between graduation, birthdays, holidays, vacations, and celebrations I’ve been a busy baker! But today I’m back with two versions of basic, baked meatballs that can be added to anything for a quick, cheap protein. There will be follow up posts so keep watching for more!
I’m back with new tips and tricks for your gluten-free kitchen fun. There are some plans in the works for this site and some focus on health as well as tastiness, so watch out for some more meal-style food and lots of veggies!
Today we’re going to talk about meat.
My husband loves meat. Getting him to eat a vegetable requires savory additions en mass. So when I was thinking of easy-to-portion, simple, quick foods that can be added to pasta, salad, or eaten as-is I went straight for meatballs. They have been a go-to food of mine since I moved out on my own the first time and I used to compete with a dear friend from Finland over who could make them better.
Now I know, that doesn’t sound like an easy thing to make but trust me, it is! I only use three ingredients in one recipe and only add some spices to another. Meatballs are forgiving and last in refrigeration for a long time so they are an excellent meal-prep food.
I will be using beef in another recipe for you but I wanted to demonstrate these first two versions with turkey because of three main reasons:
- It is cheaper
- It is healthier
- Turkey makes delicious, melty meatballs that don’t taste as dense
So! For either of these recipes you will need:
- 1lb ground turkey
- 2/3 cup Alia’s Italian Style G-Free Breadcrumbs (Found at most grocery stores)
- 4 plain, lightly salted rice cakes
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- Your favorite salad fixings
This makes about four servings of meatballs, if you’re being generous.
Step One: Mixing
Because I was making two different versions with one pound of meat, my recipe is cut in half, but it is pretty simple: Mix everything together.
Either: Meat, crumbled rice cakes, spices, egg
or: Meat, breadcrumbs, egg.
Version A, on the right (rice cakes) is a little… wetter when mixed together. The meat doesn’t lose moisture like it does in version B (breadcrumbs). This means the meatballs will be a bit less uniform but they will still taste just as good if you flavor them well. This also means you can flavor them however you like, which I will show you in a future post.
Step Two: Forming
Preheat your oven to 350°
Now simply roll your meat into 1″ balls. I make mine a little on the large side, but feel free to make them whatever size you like. Just know that it will effect your baking time.
I use parchment paper on a cookie sheet to keep it clean and protect from contaminants. We’ve had a messy kitchen lately so I decided to play it safe.
As you can see, the rice-cake recipe makes for slightly stickier meatballs with less uniform rolling. It’s not a big deal unless you want perfection. In which case… There are other blogs for you 😉
Step Three: Bake
I baked mine for about 25 minutes. However! I recommend pulling them out at 20 and checking for done-ness. With turkey meatballs you don’t want any pink inside. You can be a bit more lenient with beef.
As you can see, the moisture in Version A leaked out in the baking as fat/grease. Since the rice cakes don’t absorb moisture like breadcrumbs do, you had a bit of a smaller, less fatty meatball.
In addition, as you can see from the “Sacrifices”, Version A has less density, with the rice cake making more “pockets” in the meatball. This means they are just as filling, but with more of that filling being rice cake.
Step Four: Add to Things
We added ours to salads. Lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, a sprinkle of g-free french fried onions from Aldi, and dressing. Four meatballs each and voila! Tasty veggie dinner.
Let me know in the comments how you would use meatballs as a quick and easy protein and be sure to keep a watch for two more meatball recipes coming up!