Low carb grain-free meatballs with tandoori spices. Using chia seed for the binder ensures that they stay juicy and full of flavour. Paleo-friendly!
It may be my job to cook and bake and share recipes, but sometimes dinner inspiration is severely lacking in my house. You know what I mean, I am sure. You can have a fridge full of food and a freezer packed to the gills but you look into it thinking “What the heck am I going to make?”. You run your mind over all the ingredients you have in stock and even when they are plentiful, you can’t seem to imagine what dish could be made out of them. Especially on weeknights, when kids and parents come home tired and slightly grumpy and you just want a dish that’s easy to make and that everyone will like. A tall order when there are several different sets of tastebuds in the house.
This phenomenon may actually explain the success of food blogs are a recipe resource in recent years. It’s remarkably easy to walk to your computer, type a few ingredients into your favourite food blog(s), and find something you can make that will satisfy. Much easier than thumbing through a cookbook or cooking magazine, looking for a recipe that uses the ingredients you have on hand. And many of us are like you: busy and looking to feed our families something healthy, easy and delicious. We aren’t necessarily professionally trained, we just like playing and experimenting with ingredients, and when we hit on something that works, we share. And our recipes are accessible and oftentimes less intimidating that those of trained chefs. I will say that I rarely crack a cookbook these days. The vast majority of my inspiration either comes from my own crazy brain or from other food bloggers.
I was completely inspired to make these meatballs after seeing a post from my friend Marnely of Cooking With Books. Her Tandoori Spiced Pork Meatballs caught my eye on Facebook, and they looked delicious. And I was delighted because I thought I actually had all the ingredients to make a low carb version of them. Except I didn’t. What I thought was ground pork in my freezer turned out to be ground lamb. Okay, change number one. Surely lamb would taste as good pork, right? And of course the bread crumbs had to go, but I knew that ground chia seed would make a great filler and help guarantee that the meatballs retained their moisture. I doubled the recipe for my hungry family, and I didn’t need the egg because the chia seed makes for a great binder. I had no tandoori spice mix in the house, but I had all the individual spices that make up most tandoori mixes, so I just added all of those in separately. And I used coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce. I also divided the mixture in half and did one less spicy, for the kids, and one more spicy, for the adults.
In the end, I changed so much, it was really a whole new recipe. So I thought I would share it with you, but with due credit going to Marnely because she inspired the flavours. In fact, she inspired the whole dish! I was having one of those “what do I make for dinner” moments when I spied her meatballs, and they were quick and easy. And all three kids liked them, which is nothing short of miraculous. Marnely does happen to be a professionally trained chef, and she’s not low carb. But her blog is definitely inspiring and I happen to know that she has a healthy appreciation for bacon. Check it out if you get a chance! Cooking With Books.
- 2 lbs ground lamb or ground pork, beef or a mixture
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup ground chia seed
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce use Red Boat for paleo
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 to 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on how hot you like it
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish
- Additional chopped cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for sesame seeds and mix well.
- Form into 1 & 1/2 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. You should get 32 or more meatballs.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
- Remove and sprinkle with sesame seeds and additional chopped cilantro.
Serves 8. Each serving has 6.66 g of carbs and 3.96 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 2.7 g.
Food energy: 395kcal
Saturated fatty acids: 12.23g
Total fat: 29.53g
Calories from fat: 265
Total dietary fiber: 3.96g