gluten and dairy free meatballs

"Beef - it's what's for dinner". A catchy phrase which was introduced in the early 90s in order to drive up the sales of beef. And it worked. However the increased demand came with a price and that price was paid not only by the animals that were kept in deplorable conditions but also by the people who consumed them.

The majority of all meat in the United States comes from CAFOs, which are concentrated animal feeding operations. These animals are confined in small spaces with no access to clean water, grass or fresh air. Because of their close quarters, they are prone to sickness, so the solution has been to lace all food with antibiotics. In turn, the antibiotics meant to keep cattle from getting sick are often passed on to humans.

When antibiotics are passed on to us they slowly destroy the flora in our gut. The result is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria residing in our digestive system. This is why choosing to eat grass fed is not only good for the animals but ultimately good for us as well.

A frequently argued point is that it's more expensive to buy grass fed than it is to buy conventional beef. There's no arguing that point. It is absolutely more expensive but when possible, please consider buying grass fed. It's not only good for us, but the animal, who can live a humane life and also the environment. 

Now on to the recipe.

Meatballs in sauce

Ingredients: 

For the Meatballs:

  • 1lb grass fed beef
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats ground if gluten free or regular breadcrumbs if not
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley finely chopped or 1 tbsp dry
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  •  1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 beaten pastured egg
  • 1 tsp good Parmesan cheese (if dairy free - skip) 

For the Sauce:

  • one large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes crushed by hand
  • 1/2 cup Chianti or red wine of your choice (not sweet)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil plus extra for the end
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (I use sugar in the raw)

Directions: 

For the oats, I used my NutriBullet to pulverize them but a food processor should do the trick. Combine all meatball ingredients without overworking the meat. Form into 1.5" meatballs and refrigerate. 

Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, and onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, add the wine and deglaze. Next, break the tomatoes with your hands as you add them to the pot. Include tomato juices as well. Add the sugar, pepper, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Simmer for 1.5 hours. Stir occasionally, while breaking up the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Next add the tomato paste and nestle the meatballs in the sauce for 30-45 minutes. Finish with additional fresh basil. Serve over top of rice spaghetti or zoodles (or regular if not Gluten Free).

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