Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grilled Meatballs {Paleo & Gluten Free}

Summertime is my favorite time of the year! The weather, the food, the sun. The food. The yummy, charred, grilled food. After some scary mishaps with our old grill (read: fire), I finally figured out how to use the new one! Turns out all you have to do is turn a little nozzle, turn the dials and press a button. It might even be easier than turning on the oven! And since I live in the fiery depths of the center of the Earth, or at least that is what the weather leads you to believe, it is beneficial for all involved that live in our house, that I don't turn on the oven in the summertime. Problem was, I really wanted to make meatballs. Delicious paleo, gluten-free meatballs. But, meatballs, generally require ovens. That is until I decided to grill them. Yes, grilled meatballs. Meatballs on the grill. 

Side Note! After 4.5 continuous years of dating, 6.5 years of off and on dating, over 11 years of knowing each other, and almost 2 years of marriage - my lovely husband told me that he "doesn't really like meatballs." My response was not good. I proceeding to spend the next two hours of our evening dissecting this 5 word declaration of treason. 

It started with my very high pitched response, "You don't like MY meatballs!!!???" 
"No, I said I don't like meatballs. Like, I've never really liked meatballs most of my life."
"Ok, but the only meatballs you've been eating in the last 4 and half years are MY meatballs, MY delicious mozzarella stuffed meatballs that are practically famous and adored by all who have ever ate them. So what I think you are saying is that you don't like MY meatballs."
"No, I like those meatballs. Those are good."
"So, you like meatballs? So that first statement was a lie. You lied to me."

It went on like that for quite some time, but I'll spare you the details as it was mainly me repeating myself over and over until Adam finally admitted that meatballs are now his favorite food. #winning 

(I also told him these meatballs were sliders without the bun. Shhhh.)

The first time I made these meatballs was for a family dinner party. I managed to snap a few photos before we shoveled these into our mouths and proclaimed how good they were as we loaded our plates with a second helping. Then I made these meatballs for a second time with the intention of photographing them properly for you, but the "I don't like meatballs" conversation kinda wasted away the majority of the daylight. Alas, I can no longer keep this delicious recipe from you. So use your imagine to make these pictures look intensely enticing, because trust me this is one recipe you must make. 

 {Meatballs shown with: (in the front) Parsnip Latkes, (middle) Grilled Patty Pan Squash, Meatballs, Tzatziki Sauce, and Caprese Salad}

Grilled Meatballs with Easy Tzatziki 

Serves 6 - possibly 8

For the meatballs:
2 lbs lean ground beef (I recommend grass-fed beef)
1 small-ish Vidalia onion or brown onion 
1 zucchini
1 garlic clove 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (optional, I have made it without this and they are still delicious)
olive oil for brushing and grilling
sea salt for finishing 

For the tzatziki: 
*recipe can be doubled*

1 cup Greek yogurt (any percentage of fat is fine)
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cucumber sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Brush a thin layer of olive oil on the tin foil.

Shred your zucchini using a hand grater or the shredding attachment on your food processor. Place shredded zucchini in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Set aside.

Clean out food processor if using. Cut up your onion into chunks and place it in food processor with garlic. Process into a purée. Place mixture in a fine mesh sieve set over the sink or a bowl to allow excess water to drain away. You can also grate the onion and garlic with a hand grater if you would like. 

Place zucchini, drained onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme, and basil in a bowl. Mix well. I use my hands. Add ground beef and mix again, using hands to incorporate the ingredients evenly. 

Using a medium sized ice cream scoop - mine is stated at being 5 cm and producing meatballs about the size of golf balls - scoop out even sized balls and place on oiled cookie sheet. Press each meatball just slightly down to make it a little flatter. 

Once you have all your meatballs scooped, brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Prepare your grill on medium heat. 

Make your tzatziki. In a clean food processor or blender combine, yogurt, minced clove of garlic, sliced cucumbers, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Blend until everything is well mixed and cucumber is minced. Some larger slices or chunks are ok too! Place in a bowl and set in the fridge to chill and relax and let all the flavors blend. 

Once your grill is hot, brush grill grates with olive oil. Grill meatballs. About 5-7 minutes per side, or until meat is cooked through or to your liking. Serve with tzatziki. 


Love, Luck, Happiness, and Grilling! 

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