I wish I could take credit for these killer meatballs, but I can’t.
This recipe’s from my BFF (best farmer friend!) Diana Rodgers, and can be found in her beautiful new book, The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook. Given my friendship with Diana, it’s difficult for me to be objective when reviewing her book—but believe me when I tell you that it’s really like nothing else on my shelves. What sets Diana’s hardcover from every other book in my hoard is that—along with her collection of over 100 fantastic Paleo recipes—it offers a complete guide to growing your own healthy food.
Over the past few years, Diana’s taught me firsthand how our dietary choices impact not just our health, but also the workers who grow our food and the world we live in. I used to be oblivious to the impacts of food production, but I now actively seek a closer connection with the food that I feed my family. It’s important to know what’s on my plate, but also how that food is produced.
If you’re like me, you aren’t a homesteader or even a fledgling hipster urban farmer. But after reading this book and staying at Diana’s family farm, I have a much deeper appreciation for folks who devote their lives to raising food the right way for city slickers like me. I even bit the bullet and ordered an elevated garden bed so that I can grow the herbs that’ll go into all my dishes. (The garden bed is still in a box in my garage, but it’s going to happen, people. I promise.)
In the meantime, how about some kickass meatballs?
(Note: It was a happy accident, but I inadvertently made ’em AIP-compliant when I forgot to add the egg white called for in the recipe—but the meatballs still ended up incredibly tender and delicious. But then again, how can you go wrong with the flavor-popping combination of ground pork, bright herbs, minced ginger, and zingy lemon zest?)
(Note #2: I just learned that fresh ginger contains an enzyme that will tenderize the pork. If you want a firmer meatball, substitute ground ginger for fresh ginger.)
Makes 18 meatballs
- 1 pound ground pork (the fattier the better!)
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
- 1 egg white (optional—as I mentioned above, I accidentally left it out, and the result was still delicious!)
- 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (see Note #2 above)
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- freshly chopped herbs (optional garnish)
Heat the oven to 425˚ F with the rack in the middle.
In the meantime, mince the veggies.
Grab a large bowl, and combine the pork, mushrooms, herbs, and egg white (if you’re using it).
Using a microplane, zest your ginger…
…and lemon peel directly into the bowl.
Add the salt and pepper.
Here comes the fun part: Roll up your sleeves and combine the ingredients. Don’t overwork the meat, but make sure it’s mixed well. You can use the green herbs as your guide—as soon as they’re well-incorporated, STOP mixing!
Divide the meat into 1½ tablespoon portions. (I use a disher to make the task easier.)
Roll each meatball in your palms until they’re smooth.
Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet, making sure to keep them evenly separated.
Bake the meatballs in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
Yep—they look done to me!
Top with freshly chopped herbs and dig in!
If you love these meatballs as much as I do, make a double batch next time and grab a copy of Diana’s epic The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook! (Psst! DC Metro folks: I’ll be popping into CrossFit Inner Loop in Silver Spring, Maryland with Diana on Saturday, March 28th, from 2 pm to 4:00 pm! It’s my first mid-Atlantic book appearance EVER and we’ll be there to answer questions and sign books! Please RSVP here.)
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!