I tried another recipe from Meals Made Simple to give us some variety on our Whole 30 journey. I followed the recipe mostly as it was written, including the honey in the sauce. I considered omitting it since this is the first sweetener I've used, so it's technically not Whole 30. I thought it was more important that I figure out whether the recipe worked for my family than potentially turn us off it because I didn't include the honey.
My one son loves meatballs, and he enjoyed these. I cooked them in the slow cooker, and they were extremely moist but were falling apart. I'm going to try baking them in the oven tonight and see if they hold up slightly better.
The taste resembles a meatloaf, and the recipe made a huge batch, so we have another meal or two in the freezer yet. I really liked the sauce, so I'm glad I went with the addition of the honey.
2 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 large Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
3 lbs. ground beef
Whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Reserve 3/4 cup of sauce, and place the rest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then simmer uncovered on medium-low heat to thicken.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place the onion, carrot and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped (or finely if you need to make sure your kids will eat the onion). Add remaining ingredients except the meat, including the reserved 3/4 cup sauce. Pulse to combine. Stir into the meat, and mix with your hands.
Shape meatballs into a golf ball size. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve warm with thickened sauce.
Note: These can be cooked in the slow cooker with the sauce on top. Cook on high for 2 hours, and then reduce to low for 4 hours. (My guess is you could get by without this long of a cooking time in the slow cooker.)
Note: This makes a lot of meatballs. For convenience, place extras on a lined baking sheet, and freeze. Then place in a storage bag in the freezer. Place in the refrigerator to thaw the day before baking. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before baking or adjust baking times slightly.