My favorite emergency protein to stash in my fridge and freezer for unanticipated hunger pangs is Whole30 Meatballs! They’re cheap, fast, and easy to make—so make a double batch, and your future self will be thanking your former self when you reheat some frozen meatballs for a busy weeknight supper!
Can You Change the Protein in the Meatballs?
Yes! Most of my meatball recipes call for ground beef or pork, but you can definitely substitute another ground meat (e.g. ground turkey, ground chicken, ground lamb)—just make sure you don’t go super lean or the meatballs will be tough and dry.
How Do I Check The Seasoning?
Have you ever bitten into a meatball and thought it needed more seasoning? Me, too! But I soon learned a tip that has saved me from bland meatballs forever. Nowadays, I alway fry up a little coin-sized patty of the meatball mixture and taste it to see if it needs anything. That way, if it’s a little on the bland side, you can mix in more salt or umami boosters before rolling the meat into balls and popping ’em in the oven.
How do you store meatballs?
If you like to make your meatballs ahead of time, you can keep them in the fridge for a couple of days before you cook them. But I prefer to refrigerate or freeze leftover cooked meatballs because they keep and reheat better. When I cook a big batch of meatballs, I stash them in the fridge for up to four days in a sealed container or in a freezer for about 3 months. To keep the meatballs from freezing together into a ginormous mass, lay the meatballs in a single layer when you initially freeze them. Once the individual meatballs are frozen solid, you can toss the hard orbs into a freezer bag or sealed container and they won’t stick together.
What Do You Serve With The Meatballs?
Similar to all of my meaty recipes, the best thing to serve with the meatballs is a vegetable side dish. You can serve it with a big green salad, roasted vegetables, cauliflower rice, or on top of spiralized zucchini. Sometimes I make a quick vegetable soup and my kiddos can decide whether to plop the meatballs in the soup or eat them separately.
What are some meatball leftover makeovers?
There are lots of options if you think of meatballs as versatile as a rotisserie chicken (the OG emergency protein)! Sometimes I reheat them in leftover Umami Gravy for a super tasty dish that I serve on cauliflower rice. Other times, I cut up the meatballs and add them to a frittata or a stir fry. There’s no right or wrong way to eat leftover meatballs (at least not at my house)!
My Favorite Whole30 Meatball Recipes
Unlike traditional meatballs, all of my Whole30 meatball recipes don’t contain breadcrumbs or anything besides meat and vegetables—they’re just balls of tasty goodness!
Wonton Meatballs: These flavor-packed Whole30-friendly Wonton Meatballs remind me of my mom’s wontons, and my family loves them, too—including even my pickiest son!
Asian Meatballs: These meaty balls are an East-West fusion-inspired take on classic Sunday meatballs. They freeze well and my kids love them!
Looking for more meatball recipes? Turn to our two cookbooks!
If you have our latest cookbook, Ready or Not!, you can make Weeknight Meatballs (page 222)…
…and No La Lot Meatballs (page 296)!
And one of my all-time favorite meatballs, Polpette di Vitello, is found on page 211 of our first cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo Food For Humans!
Want more inspiration from my past January Whole30s? Check out my Day 9 post from 2017!
- 2017 Whole30 Day 9: Eggs! Eggs! Eggs! (+Sunnyside Salad)
A note to my Nomsters: This is one of a series of daily blog posts I’m writing in the month of January 2019 to help those doing a Whole30 to kick off the New Year. Not sure what the Whole30 is, or want info on how to get started? Read my Whole30 prep post—and then come back to Nom Nom Paleo every single day for recipes to inspire, delight, and sustain you on your Whole30!
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)!23