Paleo Swedish Meatballs
I know I keep saying that I’m not a fan of meatballs.
But meatballs swimming in a pool of thick and creamy gravy? WHOA! Hold the phone! Now that’s a completely different story.
And when it comes to meatballs swimming in a pool of gravy, I say Swedish Meatballs are pretty much where it’s at. Apart from my sacrosanct Pork Shank and Meatball Stew, which I only have once a year at Christmas, nothing can beat them!
Typically, I like to eat my Swedish Meatballs with a generous helping of sweet and tart Cranberry Sauce, but seeing as how I’m trying to keep my carb intake real low these days, I had to pass on it this time. I’ll be honest: I missed it.
One thing I truly didn’t miss though is the sour cream or Greek yogurt that I usually add to the gravy to give it that little bit of a tangy edge… I think that, even while leaving the dairy out, I managed to create a flavor profile that is very true to the real thing, if not better!
Try ’em for yourself, why don’t you, and tell me what you think!
To start, add all the ingredients for the meatballs to a large mixing bowl and knead well with clean hands to fully combine.
If you don’t like to get your hands dirty, you can also do this in a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Set the speed to medium and let her rip. This will result in an even better, finer meatball.
Form the meat mixture into approximately 48 meatballs, roughly the size of a ping pong ball. As always, I find a small ice cream scoop really helps to do this quickly and efficiently.
I used to despise making meatballs with every fiber of my heart, but since I’ve discovered that neat little trick, I can *almost* say that I kind of like it now… There’s something fun and strangely addictive about squeezing that pretty looking, spring-loaded spoon.
When you’re done playing with your spoon, erm, making your meatballs, I mean, place a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a liberal amount of cooking fat, preferably lard, to it.
Sear the meatballs until they become nice and golden all around, about 4 to 5 minutes, total. You will probably have to work in batches, so you will want to reserve the partially cooked meatballs to a shallow bowl while you work on the others.
While your meatballs are cooking, add all the ingredients for the gravy to your blender and process on the highest possible speed until completely combined and creamy looking.
Once all the meatballs are cooked, transfer them back to the skillet, along with their cooking juices, and pour the gravy all over them. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook the meatballs uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes on a slow simmer.
Ah, and as you can see, there will be a lot of foam forming at the surface in the beginning.Don’t worry about it, it will eventually blend right in and completely disappear.
See? No more foam. It’s all gone! And as you can probably tell by the picture, I wasn’t exaggerating in the least when I talked about a pool of gravy. I know it looks like there’s a lot, but trust me, you won’t have too much. Besides, this stuff tastes so good, you’ll probably want to drink it by the glassful!
Simply garnish your meatballs with a little bit of fresh parsley and serve to your hungry guests while the dish is still piping hot.
What should you serve this with, you ask?
Well, cranberry sauce, for starters… but I’m thinking a Simple Coleslaw, Cauliflower Rice or Cauliflower Turnip Mash would make brilliant sides. Sauteed mushrooms and greens, such as collards or spinach, also work very well.
They’re also delicious in the morning with sauerkraut and a couple of pan-fried eggs. Mind you, in the opinion of “the world according to Sonia”, pretty much everything goes good with a couple of pan-fried eggs!
One thing I can guarantee you is that I will be making this recipe over and over again. They’re probably the best darn Swedish Meatballs I ever had, including IKEA’s.
I will, however, have to try them with cranberry sauce sometime. My life simply won’t be complete until I have.
Too bad cranberries aren’t in season yet… and not for a while!
Paleo Swedish Meatballs
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 454 g 1lb lean ground beef
- 454 g 1lb lean ground pork
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons dried mustard
- 1/2 cup ground raw hazelnuts
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
FOR THE GRAVY
- 3 cups bone broth
- 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked overnight and drained
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup ghee, or make your own
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Add all the ingredients for the meatballs to a large mixing bowl and knead well with clean hands to fully combine.
- Form into approximately 48 meat balls, roughly the size of a ping pong ball (a small ice cream scoop really helps to do this quickly and efficiently)
- Place a large heavy skillet over medium high heat and add a liberal amount of cooking fat, preferably lard. Sear the meatballs until nice and golden all around, about 4-5 minutes. You will probably have to work in batches, so you will want to reserve the partially cooked meatballs to a shallow bowl while you work on the others.
- While your meatballs are cooking, add all the ingredients for the gravy to your blender and process on the highest possible speed until completely combined and creamy looking.
- Once all the meatballs are cooked, transfer them back to the skillet along with their juices and pour the gravy all over them. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook the meatballs for about 20 to 25 minutes on a slow simmer. Don’t worry if you see quite a lot of foam forming on the surface at the beginning, it will eventually blend right in and completely disappear.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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31 Comments on “Paleo Swedish Meatballs”
These look really tasty!
What role do the hazelnuts play in the meatballs? I don’t have any on hand, and I’m wondering what would happen if I left them out.
I suppose there’s one way to find out…. 🙂
They’re in there for flavor and as a binding agent as well, but they are not absolutely necessary. You could very well use ground cashews or almonds instead… or a few tablespoons of coconut flour, maybe?
Let me know how they turn out if you end up making them! 😀
its so hard to find good paleo recipes.. thanks for sharing this one, i definitely will be recreating these meatballs in my kitchen!
Ooh these meatballs do look good! Thalia have you tried The Paleo Recipe Book? I’ve found it really good to have a heap of recipes on hand, there’s a pretty thorough review of it here http://mirandasjeans.com/my-favorite-paleo-cookbook
Thanks! Hope you like ’em, Thalia! 🙂
Back in the early 80’s I was a chef in a vegetarian restaurant. Cashew cream was a pretty unheard of dairy substitute but we used it in almost everything. One of my favorites was the mushroom gravy we made. It included butter, cashew cream and of course sauteed mushrooms, garlic and salt. Do I have to say, it was amazing! It was amazing. I haven’t eaten it for years due to my old way of thinking that fat is what makes you fat. Can’t wait to make it now!
I’ll be posting it on my blog soon. Thanks Sonia for the reminder.
Ooooh, I love the idea of a cashew mushroom gravy. Have to try making one. Has to be fantastic over a thick and juicy grilled beef patty. Now my mouth is watering big time. So cashew cream, butter, sauteed mushrooms and garlic. I think I’ll throw in a little bit of fresh parsley and grated nutmeg. Yum. Thanks so much for the inspiration.
And I so hear you about the old fat makes you fat thinking. I’m just freeing myself of this erroneous belief now, and I’m still finding it hard sometimes, but it’s slowly sinking in! 🙂
I have an issue with meatballs! I almost cook perfect meatballs but the gravy never turns out to be fantastic. I think it has to be thick and spicy. But anyhow thanks for sharing the recipe, I will be doing it in a similar manner, step by step, word by word and what else 🙂
Hope you like ’em Anna and that the gravy turns out fantastic for you! Make sure you let me know how you liked ’em if you end up making the recipe! 🙂
Girl you know I love me some meatballs – and these look amazing as usual!
Would you believe me if I told you that I can hardly have a meatball without having a thought for you? That’s how much I know you love you a good meatball! 😉
So when you tell me my meatballs look amazing, I take that as a MAJOR compliment! 😀
Could I substitute the ghee for half and half? or some other form of dairy?
Can I sub out the ghee for a non-dairy option like coconut oil or another animal fat source like lard? I’m getting ready for a strict paleo challenge with my gym & won’t be able to have ghee. 🙁
What’s wrong with using ghee during a paleo challenge, Morgan? Ghee is an approved and highly recommended source of fat under the paleo guidelines…
Can I make these the day before and just pop them in the crock pot on warm and reheat them for Christmas dinner?
Hi! I’m wondering what I might be able to sub the tapioca flour with? Might Xanthan gum work?
Any kind of starch would work… arrowroot, potato, or even cornstarch, if you do grains…
Looks great! Could I substitute chicken broth for bone broth? Or any other suggestions? I’m looking to make tonight but don’t have any bone broth. Thanks!
Under dr. directions for health reasons I’ve been on the paleo diet for a couple months. I was doing great at first but then ran out of ideas and was getting bored with my food so I went looking and stumbled on your blog. I had most the ingredients on hand and I was anxious to try something new. I didn’t have a couple things. I only had ground beef. I had to sub out almonds for hazel nuts and my ghee apparently expired 3 years ago so I used coconut oil instead. I was pleasantly surprised at the slight coconut flavor it gave the sauce. I also didn’t have cardamom but stuck to the recipe as much as I could. We were all blown away with how good it was. I decided to double up on the sauce and it was a good thing because it was so good we could drink it. Even my 7 year old and 3 year old who are super picky eaters loved it! Thank you!
Oh yay! Thank you so much for this great feedback, Ashley, that’s like music to my ears. I honestly hope that you’ll end up finding more recipes on the site that you and your family will love just as much! 🙂
Simply Fabulous. I believe my French friends would LOVE your recipes….
This was excellent! I used almond butter instead of the hazelnuts, only because I had none in the house. The sauce was sooooo good! This is definitely a ‘keeper’ recipe! Thank you!
Yay! So very happy to hear, Nancy. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to let me know, too. I greatly appreciate it! 🙂
This recipe looks great. Can I substitute the cashews with anything? Trying to avoid nuts if possible.
Thank you so much!
Sour cream would work great, if you do dairy. You might want to just add it at the very end, though…
Omg… I just made these and they are so tasty! As someone on a restricted diet, this recipe is definitely making me hopeful of eating tasty foods again. 😀
Thank you so much for the amazing feedback; I really truly appreciate it, and I’m totally happy to hear that the recipe was to your liking! Hope you find many more like that on the blog! 🙂
I have made this recipe a few times and it is excellent. We keep kosher, so I use all beef or all turkey, instead of ghee I use rendered duck fat, and I use olive or coconut oil instead of lard. I never have my act together to soak the cashews the night before, but I have found that unsweetened cashew milk works just fine.
I also found that pan-frying all of the meatballs in batches took more time than I wanted to spend, so I put most of the meatballs on a sheet pan and bake them and only pan-fry enough meatballs to get some nice bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
It’s a great recipe. Thank you for sharing it!
Real happy to hear, Susan, and thank YOU for sharing your experience and offering such great feedback. 🙂