Cuban Meatballs- low carb, paleo, Whole 30 compliant

I adapted this from a recipe in one of these cookbooks: Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat and Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan. Her blog is

A friend of mine showed me several recipes, all of them looked delicious and simple, but I don’t remember which of the two books the Cuban recipe is from.

Incidentally, Amazon has a nice feature now where if you buy the hard copy of a book, you can get the Kindle version for just an extra .99- and that is true for these cookbooks, too.  That means you can buy the hard copy (my favorite way to own a cookbook), but cheaply download the recipe to your Kindle or other device and have the portability when you are at the grocery store and want to check ingredients or when you want to show the recipes to a friend.=)

Cuban Meatballs

Mix the following ingredients together in a very large bowl

1/3 cup of water

2 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (red wine vinegar is also good

4 tablespoons of garlic, minced

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted (I do this in a skillet) and then chopped fine

1/3 cup each raisins and green olives with pimientos, chopped (I used a Manual Food Chopper like this for the nuts and the raisins and olives. I chopped the raisins and olives together so that the raisins did not stick too badly to the blades)

1 1/2 Tablespoons of pink Himalayan salt (you can use other salt)

1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

2-3 Tablespoons dried oregano

1 Tablespoon black pepper

cuban-meatballs-1Add five lbs ground beef, don plastic gloves and mix all together (you can try this with a spoon, but I do better mixing by hand)


Form into meatballs.




To cook, put on a baking tray with a rim (jelly roll pan, broiler pan, cake pan) and bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes (depends on the size of your meatballs).


Mine really aren’t this dark, it’s the light.

I served mine with harvard beets and fried okra because I needed to use those things.  Would be good with spanish rice and green beans, or a salad and pinto beans, or, if you are doing whole30 or paleo, cauliflower rice and a salad.


To freeze, form into balls, put on a cookie sheet or tray, flash freeze, and then bag them (or use a freezer container).   To reheat thaw in pan and bake as above.

You can freeze them cooked and just reheat.  They’d be good in the crockpot with a fruit salsa.


I also put them in a ziplock bag, seal, press the meat mixture flat, using a cookie sheet to flatten (put a big wooden spoon on each end or a fat butter knife so make sure you flatten them evenly).


cuban-meatballs-5 cuban-meatballs-6

Then I score the meat mixture wth a ruler- making squares.  I double bag these, just in case the rule I used to score them pokes a hole in the bag.
To cook, I would defrost these just enought to remove from bag and break apart the squares on the scored lines.  Then bake as squares or roll each square quickly into a ball and bake as usual.

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