These dairy-free meatballs are juicy, tender, and totally delicious! Enjoy them on their own, with marinara, or any recipe calling for meatballs! Plus, they are gluten-free, keto, whole30, paleo, and Nut-Free too!
1lb.Ground Beefor ½ lb ground beef and ½ lb. ground pork
⅓cupFinely Crushed Pork Rinds
1largeEggor "flax-egg", see notes below
2tablespoonFull-Fat Canned Coconut Milk*or heavy cream
Italian Meatball Seasonings (Optional):
1tablespoonWorchestershire Sauceoptional, omit for whole30
3tablespoonNutritional Yeastadds a "cheesy taste", optional
In a large mixing bowl, combine the crushed pork rinds, garlic, pepper, sea salt, egg, parsley, and coconut milk or heavy cream. If making Italian meatballs, add in the Italian Meatball Seasonings as well. Allow to set on the counter for a minute or two so the pork rinds can soak up some of the milk.
Add the beef, then mix together with hands, being careful not to overmix.
Using lightly greased hands, gently roll meat mixture into 1 ½ inch sized meatballs, not rolling them too tightly or they'll be tough. Place on a greased broiler pan or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for around 18 minutes, or until just cooked through. Then, turn the oven to broil and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned. Eat plain or toss with sauce and serve.
Nutrition Facts are for 4 meatballs, assuming the recipe made 20 total.
If using full-fat canned coconut milk, I recommend Thai Kitchen, Native Forest, or Sprouts brands because other brands may lend an aftertaste. Do not store it in the fridge, otherwise, it will separate. If it does separate, however, simply heat it over low heat until combined.
These can easily be made egg-free by replacing the egg with a "flax-egg". To make a "flax-egg", simply combine 1 ½ tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoon of warm water. Then set aside for 3 to 5 minutes to thicken before using.
Crushed pork rinds are surprisingly similar to traditional breadcrumbs in both taste and texture. However, almond flour can also be used. Almond flour makes the meatballs a little more delicate but still works very well if that's what you prefer.
If you want to pre-make the meatballs, they can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to one day before cooking. Or you can freeze uncooked meatballs for up to one month. Then, thaw in the fridge and cook as directed.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 5 days or frozen for 3-6 months.
While they can be frozen with sauce, it depends on the sauce because some sauces don't freeze well - especially if they contain dairy. To freeze: 1) Place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 2) Freeze until frozen. 3) Transfer to a freezer baggie and freeze for 3 to 6 months.
To reheat frozen meatballs: Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat with the sauce in a slow cooker on low or in the oven at 350 degrees until heated through, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
HOW TO KEEP THE MEATBALLS JUICYNo one wants a dry, rubbery meatball. Here are some tips to ensure a juicy keto meatball:
Soak the dry ingredients in some kind of milk. For this recipe, I use full-fat canned coconut milk, but heavy cream will also work. Simply mix together all of the dry ingredients and allow it to sit for a minute before adding the meat.
Mix in the meat with your hands. This will incorporate the meat without crushing it the way a spoon might.
Overmixing makes rubbery meatballs so don't overmix!
Don't use lean beef. While technically lean beef could be used, lean beef tends to produce drier meatballs.
Don't roll the meatballs too tightly. When they're packed together too much, they'll end up chewy and rubbery.
Don't make them different sizes. If some are bigger than others, they will need to cook longer. Then, the smaller ones will overcook and dry out.