Gluten Free Meatballs Recipe – Restaurant Style!

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20 or 85/15 for a good balance of flavor and moisture)
  • 1/2 lb ground pork (optional, adds extra richness)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (look for brands specifically labeled or make your own)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Make the meatball mixture:

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork (if using), gluten-free breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper.
  • Use your hands to gently mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can make the meatballs tough.

Shape the meatballs:

  • Use a cookie scoop or your hands to form the mixture into 1.5-inch meatballs.

Brown the meatballs:

  • Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides. Do not overcrowd the pan. You want them to have space to develop a nice crust.
  • Remove browned meatballs and set aside.

Make the sauce:

  • In the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil. Sauté the chopped onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

Cook the meatballs in the sauce:

  • Carefully add the browned meatballs to the simmering sauce.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through (internal temperature should reach 165°F).

Serve:

  • Garnish with fresh basil, if desired, and serve the meatballs over your favorite gluten-free pasta, with a side salad, or in sandwiches.

Tips:

  • Don’t overmix!: Overmixing the meatball mixture leads to tough meatballs. A gentle touch is best.
  • Make your own breadcrumbs: Grind up some toasted gluten-free bread for the best flavor in your meatballs.
  • Meal prep: Double the recipe! These meatballs freeze beautifully for later enjoyment.
  • Flavor variations: Feel free to add other spices or herbs to your taste, or try different meats like ground turkey or chicken.

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