Grain and Nut Free Meatballs in Eggplant and Carrot Sauce

These grain and nut free meatballs, are very similar to the frikadeles recipe, published in my main blog cookingwithoutgluten. The differences are related to the type of meat used to make meatballs, and the ingredients, used for the sauce.


Notwithstanding the use of lean lamb and naturally lean veal meat, these meatballs are soft, tender and juicy. This juiciness and soft texture is achieved by using fresh eggplant, combined with sautéed leek and onions. Extra flavour and heat is added by red capsicum and medium hot chilli.

I have been cooking mixed meat meatballs for quite some time and came to conclusion that we like these meatballs best, cooked in eggplant, carrots, onions and tomato sauce. We often have this dish on its own with plenty of vegetables in the thick and intense sweet and sour sauce. But you can have them with any vegetables, steamed or roasted. The dish is very easy to prepare in bulk. It can be frozen, either fresh or fully cooked, without any loss of taste. Prepared meatballs can be also used in any dishes including roasting with other ingredients.


to make 40 meatballs (golf ball size)

  • 500g spring lamb mince
  • 500g lean veal mince
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 medium red capsicum, processed with eggplant to rice consistency in food processor


  • 1 deseeded long chilli
  • 1 heaped table spoon of ground cumin
  • salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • 2 table spoons olive oil, to sauté onion and leek


to make eggplant, carrot, onion and tomato sauce to cook half (20) meatballs

  • 4 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 large eggplant, cut in long pieces
  • 2 onions, sliced in semi circles
  • 1/2 of bottle (680ml) thick tomato cooking sauce/1 can of diced tomatoes


  • 2 cups of boiling water (you can use chicken stock if you happened to have it)
  • pinch of fennel seeds
  • 2-3 table spoons olive oil
  • pinch of thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, optional



  • coarsely chop onions and leek


  • sauté onions and leek in olive oil until soft and translucent
  • peel eggplant, cut it in chucks, place them in food processor
  • add chopped capsicum and deseeded chilli
  • run food processor to make vegetables in the mix to reach the size of rice grain


  • in a deep bowl place both types of mince, add vegetables, an egg, cumin, salt and pepper
  • add sautéed onions and leek
  • thoroughly mix all ingredients for meatballs together


  • make individual meatballs of your preferred size (I make mine the size of golf balls)
  • place half of meatballs on a tray lined with baking paper, freeze


  • when frozen place them in air tight container or zip lock bag for storage

meatballs sauce

  • heat olive oil in deep casserole dish, preferably non-stick, add fennel seeds
  • add sliced onions, cook 3-5 min
  • add grated carrots, mix and cook for 5 min
  • add eggplant, cut in long pieces, cook 2-3 min
  • add tomato sauce/canned diced tomatoes and boiling water, stir
  • when the sauce starts boiling add meatballs, fresh or frozen
  • add thyme


  • reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour for fresh and hour and a half for frozen meatballs


The sauce will reduce and become thick, because some of the onions and eggplant will practically melt into the sauce.

With the vegetables in the recipe any lean meat can be used to make meatballs. Even chicken or turkey breast will produce soft and tender meatballs, they will never be dry. For a dish and a sauce with so little fat content, it is amazingly full of intense flavours even when made without using stock, just with boiling water. With sugar free requirements, it is sometimes hard to balance extreme sour taste in tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes. Grated carrots are the best solution in my opinion. They release all the sweetness to balance the sour taste of tomato product, they become very soft during cooking time and some of the grated carrots even disintegrate, together with eggplant and caramelised onions. These changes in vegetables thicken the sauce naturally, without any thickening agents and add to the flavour coming from meatballs themselves.

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