Efia's Kitchen

BANT and DET registered Nutritional Therapist

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  • Marie

Delicious Meatballs (the only recipe you will ever need)

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

I love meatballs, especially when the weather starts to get cold. They are good with pasta, mashed potato, rice, soup - the possibilities are endless. One of the reasons I love going to Ikea is because it's an excuse for meatballs.


What I don't love is how many added ingredients they often have. I can't eat yeast and most meatballs stick together because of breadcrumbs. I also don't like frying foods that can fall apart in the pan - which is why I used to avoid making them at home and simply risked the digestive discomfort of eating them out.


Well - no more of that! These meatballs have 6 ingredients (3 of which as onions, garlic and salt) and bake in the oven - no turning or extra oil required! And they were quite honestly the most delicious meatballs I ever ate (and Lukas seconds this) - so give them a try RIGHT NOW!


Like and share the recipe if you found it useful - and remember to read until the end for some nutrition advice.



Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Makes about 18 large meatballs


Ingredients:

  • 400g wild boar mince (if you can't find this simply use pork or lamb mince)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed

  • 2 heaped tbsp besan (chickpea flour)

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp herb salt (make sure this is free from MSG and yeast)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking tray

  2. In a large enough bowl knead together all the ingredients until well mixed

  3. Scoop a scant tablespoon of the meat mixture out at a time and form into a ball by rolling between your palms (you can use less or more depending on how big you want your meatballs to be but remember to adjust the baking time)

  4. Place on the baking tray and repeat step 3 with remaining mixture

  5. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on the outside and pale all the way through if cut in half


Nutritional benefits:

Choosing your meat:

A lot of us are choosing to live meat free, as either vegetarians, vegans or pescatarians, because of everything we hear about climate change, the environment and animal welfare.


Whilst I totally understand this and we are very intentional about how much and what type of meat we consume, I have experimented with a fully plant-based diet and I know both Lukas and I feel better when we do include some meat in our diet. Who knows if we will always follow this path, but for now here are some of the ways we try to be mindful of our meat consumption to support both our health and our planet:


1. We always make sure that our meat is organic and free-range (grass fed or pasture-raised). The reason we do this is because such farming principles ensure the animals have a lower impact on the environment [1]. Organic farmers also don't use genetically modified feed or pesticides on the fields were the animals graze, and they use far less antibiotics than conventional farmers [2]. Finally, pasture-raised animal products are higher in omega-3 (which is anti-inflammatory and vital for brain health), and lower in omega-6 (which is pro-inflammatory) than conventionally raised animals [3]. That's why the wild boar in the meatballs is a great option - because they are naturally organic and free-range.


2. We only eat meat once a day max. Let's face it; organic and free-range meat is much more expensive than conventional meat! But we think it's absolutely worth spending the money on. The trade-off we make is that we eat meat less often - which actually benefits the planet as well as our bank account. I will usually have a small serving of meat at lunch time (and Lukas gets organic meat in his canteen) whilst our breakfast and dinners tend to be vegetarian. Weekends vary, but will often be completely vegetarian. The recommended intake of red meat is 65-100g 3-4 times per week by the way [4].


3. We eat the funny cuts. Somehow over the past 100 years or so we have started to eat only very specific parts of the animals we eat (chicken breast, bacon, steak as some examples). The people who came before us however ate all the parts. And those parts contained important nutrients that we don't find in the breast and the bacon! The reason bone broth is so highly valued (also in a lot of traditional remedies) is that it is far more nutrient dense than a slice of bacon is! Which is why we make sure to regularly eat the other bits: liver, bone broth, black pudding, heart ... whatever I can find.


Managing blood sugar and energy levels



If you have read some of my other posts and recipes you will notice that I talk about this a lot. BUT IT'S SO IMPORTANT. In order to provide your body with a slow, steady release of energy after a meal, the meal needs to have contained some fibre, some protein and some healthy fats [5,6].


By adding these meatballs to a fibre rich meal (such as carrot and kale soup, celeriac mash or wholewheat pasta) you are adding a nourishing source of fat and protein - to help your body manage blood sugar.


P.S. The beautiful autumn picture is courtesy of my grandfather.


References:

[1] Peters, M., Rao, I.M., Fisher, M.J., Subbaraoa, G.V., Martens, S., Herrero, G., Tiemann, T.T., Ayarza, M.A. and Hyman, G., 2012. Tropical forage-based systems to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT).

[2] Vaarst, M., Roderick, S., Lund, V., Lockeretz, W. and Hovi, M., 2004. Organic principles and values: The framework for organic animal husbandry. Animal health and welfare in organic agriculture. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, pp.1-12.

[3] Simopoulos, A.P., 2011. Evolutionary aspects of diet: the omega-6/omega-3 ratio and the brain. Molecular neurobiology, 44(2), pp.203-215.

[4] Jacka, F.N. et al. (2012) Red Meat Consumption and Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. [Online] 81 (3), 196–198. Available from: doi:10.1159/000334910.

[5] Jakubowicz, D., Wainstein, J., Landau, Z., Ahren, B., Barnea, M., Bar-Dayan, Y. and Froy, O., 2017. High-energy breakfast based on whey protein reduces body weight, postprandial glycemia and hba1c in type 2 diabetes. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 49, pp.1-7.

[6] Ionescu-Tîrgovişte, C., Popa, E., Sintu, E., Mihalache, N., Cheţa, D. and Mincu, I., 1983. Blood glucose and plasma insulin responses to various carbohydrates in type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. Diabetologia, 24(2), pp.80-84.



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