I love making meatballs – it’s easy and they’re really flexible. You can add pretty much whatever you want into them. But what you don’t have to add is any kind of filler, like breadcrumbs, to bind them.
When I make them, I tend to just use what I have to hand, and I don’t weigh any ingredients – but for the purposes of this blog, I have done that today, to give you an idea of how many (or rather, how few!) carbs there can be in meatballs. You’ll need a food processor for this recipe, unless you’re a particular fan of chopping.
Using the ingredients and weights below, I made 34 meatballs. It’s a decent serving for four people:
500 minced beef (go for the highest fat content you can find)
80g smoked lardons (or smoked bacon)
220g echalion shallots (this was the weight of 5 shallots, when peeled)
32g green chilli (this was a very large green chilli – and you can leave this out if you wish!)
135g red pepper (this was the weight of one medium pepper, with the core/seeds removed)
4 cloves garlic
Seasoning – salt, black pepper and dried oregano
Olive oil for roasting
Here’s how to make them:
Peel the shallots and garlic cloves and put them into the food processor bowl
Cut the pepper into chunks, along with the chilli and add these too
When it’s finely chopped, add the lardons and mince, and season well with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Process till it’s all well combined with the vegetables. You’ll end up with what looks like pink slurry. Don’t be put off by this!
Put them into a roasting tin and then drizzle over some olive oil.
Roast in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes, shaking them after 10 minutes, so that they don’t stick to the tray. While they’re cooking, they will exude a fair amount of liquid – they’re cooked when all the liquid has gone.
The total carb count for this is a mere 20g. If you left the chilli out, it would total 17g.
So how do you serve them? I like them with lots of Parmesan cheese on top, and I serve them with salad, or shirataki noodles. If I’m using noodles, it’s probably because the rest of the family is having spaghetti. And I serve this with a tomato sauce.
Tomato sauce is simple – fry 100g chopped shallots in a generous slug of olive oil till softened, and add a tin of tomatoes. Season with salt and black pepper. Add any dried or fresh herbs that you like. You can add garlic if you want to – but remember there’s a fair amount of garlic in the meatballs. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 10 minutes. The total carb count for this will vary according to the brand of tomatoes that you use. I use Sainsbury’s Basics Chopped tomatoes, the ones in a carton (400g) as these are the lowest carb ones that I’ve found. On this basis, the sauce will come to a total of 15.3g.
So – roasted meatballs and tomato sauce for four people comes in at 35.3g carbs – under 9g per person.