These lamb meatballs with herbs and kale are incredibly delicious and satisfying!
Who doesn’t love a good meatball? I mean, you can’t be unhappy while eating a meatball, right? I’ve kind of become a little obsessed with them… I’ve been making them out of beef, chicken, pork, veggies… and they’ve all been good. But these lamb meatballs… these are great. They are grain-free and paleo, they are healthy, and they have a slight Greek feel to them. And the tomato sauce is so aromatic and amazing (don’t tell my husband that I hid olives in the sauce…)
A few weeks ago I went to The Meatball Shop. It’s a restaurant that pretty much serves meatball everything. I ordered “The Kitchen Sink”. I got to choose they type of meat or veg I wanted my meatballs to be made from and which type of sauce I wanted. I got three big balls served on top of vegetables and salad, smothered in sauce. Can I tell you, I was in heaven. Anyway, that kind of inspired me to create some meatball dishes that didn’t need to be on top of pasta or in a sandwich. These delicious Greek meatballs are filled with kale and scallions and hemp seeds and almond flour. I know, it sounds a little weird, but trust me and try them. You will not be disappointed.
So, let’s get to why these are so good for you:
In Chinese medicine, lamb is known to be the most warming meat. We recommend it for a lot of ailments caused by cold conditions. It’s great for some arthritic conditions, weakness, and back pain. Lamb also helps with insufficient lactation and impotence. By combining the lamb with all of the warming spices in this dish, you get a great winter-warming meal.
Kale is everywhere these days. I kind of got a little tired of just eating it in salads, so I now use it inside of different dishes, like here inside these meatballs. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. I bought this kale already shredded and washed. If you are using a whole bunch of kale, make sure you clean the leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (me… I don’t really mind them if the kale is cooked). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.
Scallions, if you know me, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion (Cong Bai) is considered an herb. With autumn coming, I implore you to always keep scallions on hand in your refrigerator so that you can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second you feel that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever. And, they give these meatballs a great flavor.
Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.
I used some almond meal in these meatballs. In Asian medicine, we eat nuts because they are good for the brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation.
I add Chinese herbs to everything I can. This time I added Chen Pi (dried tangerine peel) to the sauce. Tangerines are good for nausea, chest tightness, excess mucus, and some stomach pains. Dried tangerine peels are a Chinese herb (Chen Pi). At any given time, if you look on my kitchen counter, you will see a bowl filled with sun-dried tangerine peels. I make tea out of them, and I grind them up for some recipes. For this recipe, I simply dropped the whole dried rind into the sauce and let it work its magic.
I sprinkled some pomegranate seeds on top of the meatballs before I served them. Pomegranate seeds nourish the blood. In Chinese medicine, we know that many illnesses and conditions are caused by the body making poor quality blood. Pomegranate seeds are great at helping the body make good quality blood. They are also good to combat diarrhea, anemia and incontinence…. And they look like little jewels…
- For meatballs:
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 2 scallions, sliced
- ¼ cup finely minced kale
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 12 grinds of black pepper (or to taste)
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbs hemp seeds
- 2 Tbs almond meal
- For sauce:
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- ½ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbs coconut sugar
- 10 oil-cured, pitted black olives, chopped
- Optional Chinese herb: Chen Pi (dried tangerine rind)
- 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl. Get in there with your hands and mush up just until mixed together.
- Form the meat mixture into balls (I made mine like big golf balls and I got 15 balls out of it)
- Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake the balls for 10 minutes, then carefully flip them over and bak an additional 8 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- For the sauce:
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium pot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Lay some of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish or ovenproof skillet. Arrange the meatballs on top of the sauce.
- Bake in the oven until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and drizzle the pomegranate molasses on top and sprinkle on the pomegranate seeds.