Paleo Chicken and Vegetable Meatballs – Perfect for Soups and Sauces

Using fresh or sautéed vegetables to make different dishes with chicken mince has been a long time practice in my kitchen. Meatballs recipe below is a special version, made for gentle ans sensitive stomachs, with the option to use only sea salt as seasoning and avoid any spices and herbs. These meatballs, with a short ingredient list and their soft, tender and juicy texture, are grain, dairy and nut free, and can be made without an egg as well. These meatballs can be used as first meat containing solid food, introduced as home-made baby food. With older babies and children, some gentle and tolerated spices can be introduced. As an example I made 2 types of meatballs – with fresh pumpkin (deliberately very plain) and fresh cauliflower (with extra flavour as regular meatballs for older children and adults).

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The use of fresh, uncooked vegetables and quality chicken mince, makes meatball preparation simple and fast. They are excellent used either fresh, or frozen. When frozen, meatballs can be used straight from the freezer, without defrosting. I make 2 main dishes with these meatballs – chicken soup with vegetables and pasta sauce with carrots. In paleo version pasta sauce with meatballs and vegetables can be use with zucchini noodles.

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To make meatballs for babies and to be on the safe side, it is better to use organic chicken meat and process it in your blender. Chicken breast meat would be my first choice.

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For more interesting and developed flavour I use quality chicken thigh mince, which we buy for more than 20 years from our chicken butcher (Cesters Gourmet Poultry & Select Meats in Warringal Shopping Centre in Heidelberg). Sometimes chicken mince is prepared just in front of us.

Ingredients:

chicken and fresh pumpkin meatballs

  • 500g chicken mince (I used thigh mince)
  • 200g fresh pumpkin (I used butternut)
  • 1 egg
  • sea salt, to your taste, I used 1 full tea spoon

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chicken and fresh cauliflower meatballs

  • 500g chicken mince (I used thigh mince)
  • 200g fresh cauliflower florets
  • 1 onion or 1 leek, sautéed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 table spoon of cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 tea spoon of sea salt
  • 1/3 tea spoon coarse black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tea spoon cumin powder (optional)

I prepared cauliflower meatballs for adult consumption, so I used my garlic and chilli preserve, as well.

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Preparation:

meatballs with pumpkin

  • peel fresh pumpkin, cut it in 1-2 cm cubes, place them in food processor
  • blend pumpkin until coarse crumbs consistency
  • add and egg, process for 2 min on high
  • mix chicken mince with pumpkin and egg paste, add sea salt

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  • shape the mixture into desired size balls (walnut size or golf ball size)
  • freeze if necessary
  • to freeze meatballs place them on a lined with baking paper flat tray
  • when frozen transfer meatballs into air-tight container

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meatballs with cauliflower

  • separate cauliflower into florets
  • process cauliflower into fine crumbs – cauliflower rice, only with smaller size particles
  • cut onion/leek in semicircles
  • heat olive oil and saute onion/leek until translucent, do not fry or caramelise
  • put all ingredients in a bowl and combine them well

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  • shape mince mixture into meatballs of the size you like

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To make vegetable soup with chicken meatballs use boiling water, the selection of vegetables and chicken meatballs. Frozen meat balls can be used straight from the freezer. I often use the middle, hard part of cauliflower leaves instead of celery in the soup. Cauliflower gives a gentle sweet taste to any soups and stocks prepared with it.

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The choice of vegetables is completely up to you. I use practically any vegetable which I have at the moment in my fridge.

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I like my soup with a dollop of sour cream (which is not on the allowed ingredient list for this blog) and dill, but this soup does not need any garnish to be served with.

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Details for a vegetable sauce with meatballs preparation can be found here.

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Photos with plated meatballs in vegetable sauce are shown as an example of possible side dishes and are taken with different type of meatballs, their recipe can be found here.

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5 thoughts on “Paleo Chicken and Vegetable Meatballs – Perfect for Soups and Sauces

  1. Your meatballs are fantastic. Brilliant idea. I used to make spinach meatballs. I thought it would lighten the meatballs and sneak in some nutrients to the meatballs. I like what you came up with. I will definitely be making these meatballs. The butternut squash is my first pick! They look like little dumplings in the soup! Gorgeous!!! BRAVO!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Actually it is my first try with pumpkin and we liked it. My original first choice for mince and vegetable mixes were sautéed onions, leek and white cabbage. I use this mixture for meatloaves and fillings for dumplings or ravioli. But using fresh, uncooked vegetables is a more simple option. Fresh cauliflower and eggplant are my favourites. You are right, either meatballs or meatloaf are packed with additional nutrients, and extra minerals and fibre are very beneficial on any gluten free or grain free diet. If you can tolerate pseudo-grains, adding some uncooked quinoa to the mix makes a perfectly balanced dish, which does not need sides. It is quite a versatile recipe, easy to prepare, store fresh or cooked. The mixture can be used for stuffings, fillings, even to make pies, pastries, etc.

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      1. I like it!!! Great idea to add quinoa. Maybe you can wrap the meatball with quinoa paste like the scotch egg concept. I’m wondering if it will hold? You are truly a chef to follow! ◔‿◔ Thanks for the added suggestions! 💖

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can make any paste, but it have to be like a dough and it might be better idea to make this paste based on pumpkin seed, sunflower kernels flaxseed meal or flaxseed flour and chia seeds. I make this soft dough as a base for grain, dairy and yeast free bread, but bake many other savoury products as well, buns, pies, tart tatins. It depends on how you cook Scottish egg. Is it fried or baked?

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      3. Yes well I had scotch eggs at my favorite English pub. I suspect the proper way is deep fried. I made it once and was asked not to make it again. hah hah. There was a meatball made by a fairly famous chef and he stuffed it with cheese -in the middle. It almost squirted out when you took a bite. He hadn’t had time to put it in a cook book yet. I thought that was very cool!

        Liked by 1 person

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