Apple Sage Balsamic Pork Meatballs (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
Before creating this recipe, I had never experimented with ground pork. Ground beef, yes, but never ground pork. I found it in my local Whole Foods' meat section, and it was organic and grass-fed, so I decided to give it a shot.
I'm not a big traditional meatball fan, so I knew these needed to be a little different to get my seal of approval. I also knew I needed to find a way to make them stay moist and not super dry, which can be difficult when it comes to meatballs. I decided to sprue up the ground pork with softened apples, which give them a sweetness that can't be beat, balsamic for keeping them nice and tender and flavorful, and sage for a subtle hint of herby goodness that pairs really well with the apple. Yes, I said herby goodness.
To help keep the meatballs together, I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free quick cooking oats, which I also use for a million other recipes, so if you grab a bag of it, know that you'll put it to good use!
You can use any kind of apples you love, but I happened to use pink lady apples for this particular recipe. You slice them up into tiny cubes, and saute them in a good cooking oil, such as ghee or avocado oil until soft, then fold them into the rest of the ingredients (see the full instructions below).
This recipe comes together very quickly, and the meatballs cook up in no-time.
You can make these ahead of time on your meal-prep day for the week so that you can have them to add on salads, along with veggies for dinner, or even as a savory breakfast protein (note to self: have these for breakfast), or, because they come together so quickly, you can make these for a super-quick and easy dinner protein without any fuss.
Honestly, this recipe has made me a meatball convert! Trust me, this is a good one!
Let me know if you try this recipe by commenting below, or tag a photo of your recipe with #cleanplatefood on Instagram!
- 1/2 pound organic ground pork
- 1/2 cup diced organic apple (I used pink lady apple)
- 3 TBSP gluten-free rolled oats or gluten-free quick-cooking oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp ghee, avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- a few pinches sea salt or real mineral salt
- 1 TBSP aged balsamic
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Heat ghee/avocado oil/coconut oil in a small pan or skillet on medium heat. Once hot, turn down head to medium-low and add diced apples, sage, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
- Cook until apples are soft and beginning to brown, and the sage becomes aromatic, stirring occasionally (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, add ground pork and, with your hands, mix in smoked paprika so that it's thoroughly combined into the meat.
- Fold in the cooked apples & sage, oats, and the balsamic vinegar until well combined (using your hands is the best way to do this).
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the meat mixture into a full scoop. and portion out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet (this should yield 8 meatballs).
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the meatballs become a golden brown and are cooked through.
Thanks to Bob's Red Mill for generously providing the gluten-free quick cooking oats in this recipe, and thanks to you for reading!