A healthier alternative to traditional meatballs, but nothing short of taste! These paleo, whole 30 and gluten-free butternut squash meatballs are so delicious and moist. It will sure be your top go-to meatball recipe.
I am all into the idea of incorporating more vegetables in a meat entrée for my picky-eaters. And my family just love these delicious meatballs made out of beef and butternut squash! I am excited to share my best paleo meatball recipe with you.
Best Whole 30 & Paleo Meatballs
I put a healthy and seasonal twist on a classic Italian meatball recipe, making it also paleo-friendly, gluten-free and dairy-free. In addition, these meatballs are loaded with butternut squash and truly delicious. They are the best whole 30 and paleo meatballs I have ever had.
The natural aroma and sweetness of the butternut squash pair perfectly with Italian herbs, beef and tomato sauce. As a result, I appreciate the depth of flavour of these butternut squash meatballs. In my opinion, they taste yummier than the traditional ones. It has become a dish we make repeatedly in the family.
Butternut Squash Makes the Meatballs Tender
Typically breadcrumbs, cheese, and sometimes rice are added to meatballs to make them tender. In Asian cuisines, we often add corn starch, flour, water and even tofu to the meatball mixture to achieve the same goal.
In this meatball recipe, butternut squash is the true star of the show. The moisture content and starchiness of the squash are what make these meatballs so tender.
Can I Substitute Butternut Squash?
Now if you happen to have a different kind of winter squash waiting to be eaten in your pantry, go for it! It will work just fine in this recipe as long as it’s starchy with a rich flavour. Most winter squashes are interchangeable in recipes. But I wouldn’t go as far as spaghetti squash – to me, they just aren’t flavourful enough.
You can also try substituting with pumpkin, but make sure you give my recipe a try as-is first! The measurements below are based on the use of butternut squashes because we love them and they are very easy to find locally anywhere. If you make with a substitute, you may need to watch out for the meat to squash ratio depending on the moisture content of your squash. I would love to hear your results, so be sure to leave me a comment below.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
Depending on whether you will make the meatball mixture by hands or not, here are some tools you may need:
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The Best Paleo Meatballs: Butternut Squash Meatballs
- Remove seeds and skin of the butternut squash. If using a boxed grater, make sure to use the smaller setting to finely shred the squash. You want the strands of the squash to be very thin so that they can be well integrated with the meat after mixing. The amount called for in the recipe is based on shredded butternut squash with seeds and skin removed.
- Finely mince 4-5 cloves of garlic.
- Mix everything except for the marinara sauce listed in the ingredients section, to make the mixture of the meatballs.
- Alternatively, you can blend all meatball ingredients in a food processer, instead of chopping each of them separately as in above steps.
- At this point, the mixture should be as soft as possible without losing the shape when made into meatballs. Firmer mixture results in less tender meatballs once cooked.
- Shape meatballs by hand to roughly 1.5 inch diameter size and place in a large baking dish. The meatballs should not be touching each other. I usually make 20 meatballs with the amount of ingredients in this recipe.
- Bake the meatballs in a pre-heated oven at 375ºF for 20 minutes.
- Pour your favourite marinara sauce over the meatballs. If you use an unsalted plain tomato sauce, you can add more salt, herbs and minced garlic to taste.
- Bake the meatballs at 375ºF for another 40 minutes.