Summer is in full swing so it is the time for fresh, seasonal ingredients! We have been growing herbs in our backyard so I wanted to incorporate them into a meatball. Let’s talk about ingredients:
For herbs, I grabbed a generous handful of basil, oregano and parsley from my garden. These herbs will be used in the meatball mix and for the pesto sauce. You really need to use fresh herbs for this recipe, the dried herbs will not create the same experience.
When making the pesto, sometimes I like to use a mortar and pestle and other times, I want to save a few minutes and use a food processor. This time I used the mortar and pestle because I like the way it releases the oils from the garlic and herbs. But either way, your pesto will be fragrant and fresh.
I served this with a caprese salad made with some gorgeous sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and burrata cheese which is a mild, creamy mozzarella. Then, I drizzled some olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the caprese and it was the perfect accompaniment to the meatballs. If you are counting your carbs, forgo the caprese and serve it with some broccoli or a spinach salad. But listen, these meatballs and pesto sauce are super-duper low carb and have ZERO sugar so you can probably splurge on some tomatoes to brighten up your meal.
Low Carb Pesto Meatballs
- Cast Iron Skillet
- mortar and pestle or food processor
- 1 lb ground veal grass fed
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 onion chopped
- 1/4 cup pork rinds finely crushed
- 1/4 cup parm cheese grated
- 1 whole egg
- 2 tbsp parm cheese shredded
For the Pesto
- 3 whole garlic cloves
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 tbsp shredded parm
- 2 tbsp nuts (pinenuts, pecans, or almonds)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- pinch salt
For the Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix until all ingredients are well combined but do not over mix. Roll into 2 inch balls. Heat a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed, oven-safe pan over high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Begin adding the meatballs to the skillet. Allow them to brown on the bottom for 3 minutes. Carefully flip them and let brown for another 3 minutes. Place skillet in oven and bake for 18 minutes. Remove skillet from oven. Plate and sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese over the top of the meatballs.
For the Pesto
- If using a mortar and pestle:Place garlic cloves and pinch of salt in mortar and crush with pestle until finely ground. Add half of basic and begin crushing and combining into the garlic. Add the remaining basil and repeat. Add in the parm cheese and crush into the mixture. Add in the nuts and crush, mixing it into the garlic and basil. (most pesto sauces use pinenuts but I didn't have any so I used pecans and it was wonderful. You could also use almonds. If you have a nut allergy, you can omit the nuts and it will still be great). The garlic and basil will release some oils to help with this process and the salt acts helps to break down the ingredients. At this point, you can drizzle in a little olive oil. The cheese has a lot of salt so you probably do not need to add anymore in but taste it and see what you think. Also, you get to decide the consistency of the sauce. I like mine fairly thick but if you want it thinner, just add a little more oil. But do this conservatively, only add a little at a time until it is right for you. If using a food processor: Add garlic, salt, basil, nuts and cheese to processor. Pulse on high until it starts to combine. While it is running, drizzle a little olive oil into the mixture until it is combined and to your preferred consistency. Taste and add more salt or oil as desired. Serve along side the meatballs.
Macros: Amount per serving: 4 meatballs Number of servings: 6 Calories 398 Total Fat 26g Carbohydrate 2g Dietary Fiber 1g Net Carbs 1g Sugars Og Protein 34g Potassium 59mg Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 5% Iron 14% Calcium 7%