One day my hubby came home and requested this recipe, and playing the good wife I obliged. It’s not often he requests a specific dish, so I’m usually happy to make it for him. I had actually been meaning to try making these paleo meatball subs for a while, and it’s not dissimilar to my basic meatball recipe you can find here.
As some of you may know, hubby and I have been doing a Whole30 since the beginning of January 2016. It has been a lot easier than I thought it would, and although it hasn’t been as easy for him, I’ve been really proud of how he has stuck to it. So when he came to me asking for me to make up this recipe, which is Whole30 compliant, I’m going to serve it up and keep him on track.
Paleo Meatball Subs (serves 4)
4 large zucchini
1 Tbs coconut oil (plus extra)
3 clove garlic
1 brown onion
500 gms beef mince
2 Tbs fresh basil (or 1 Tbs dried)
1 tsp himalayan salt
1/2 tsp pepper
500 gm tomatoes, halved
1 tsp TM stock concentrate
1 cup water
Optional: extra fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Take each zucchini, trim of the top and bottom ends. Slice it down the centre into long halves.
- With each half of the zucchini, carefully slice a thin millimetre or two off the underside. This give it a flat surface to sit on your baking tray.
- Then scoop out a ‘trench’ in each piece of zucchini. Depending of the size of them, you want the ‘trench’ to be deep enough to hold the meatballs, but not too deep that you have removed all the flesh. Set the excess flesh aside, we’ll use it in a minute.
- Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and lightly brush some coconut oil over the tray.
- Take each half of the zucchini and lay them out onto the tray, so that they aren’t touching.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- While those are baking, place the onion and garlic into the Thermomix bowl. Chop them finely on speed 5 for 4 seconds. Scrap down the sides and repeat 2 – 3 times, or until finely chopped. Remove half of this onion and garlic mix and set aside.
- Add the excess zucchini flesh and chop it on speed 4 for 4 seconds. Make sure there are no large piece, repeat if so, but it should be roughly chopped.
- Add the beef mince, salt, pepper, and basil to the TM bowl. Stir the mixture together for 10 secs on speed 5, reverse. You are just evenly mixing the flavours through the mince meat, not processing it more. Repeat if necessary.
- Roll 1 tablespoon of mixture into a ball, and repeat until mixture is all done. You will need approximately 32 meatballs.
- In a hot fry-pan, add the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Once melted add the meatballs to the pan.
- Brown the meatballs of both sides, but you aren’t cooking all the way through as they will be baked as well. I should only take a minute on each side.
- When the zucchini have pre-cooked for the 10 minutes, removed the tray from the oven. Place four browned meatballs into the ‘trench’ of each sub. Bake for a further 5 minutes.
- While they are cooking, add the reserved half of your onions and garlic to the pan. There should be enough oil in the pan still, but if not add another teaspoon. On a medium heat caramelise them. You are trying to sweeten the onions and garlic, not make them crunchy, so stir them and be a little patient. It will add a lot more flavour to the sauce.
- In a clean TM bowl, place the tomatoes and chop them up for 4 seconds on speed 5. They should be a diced consistency.
- Add the tomatoes to the caramelised onions. Leave the heat on medium and cook for a minute.
- Add the water and stock concentrate and mix well. Reduce the sauce until it similar to a passata sauce consistency. It’s at this point you can stir through the optional extra fresh basil.
- Removed the zucchini and meatballs from the oven once the 5 minutes is up.
- Spoon sauce evenly over each zucchini. Bake for a further 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them though, as depending on the zucchini’s thickness, they may need a little more or a little less time. You can test if they are cooked by inserting a fork into the zucchini flesh to feel how soft they are.
- Serve 2 paleo meatball subs per person, and enjoy!
There may seem to be a lot of steps to this recipe, but it really doesn’t take very long before you are all sitting at the table enjoying this healthy recipe. You can obviously prepare the meatballs and zucchini subs ahead of time and then just cook up separately. This Whole30 compliant recipe, however, only takes about 30 minutes to make up if you have all the ingredients handy.
This dish would also make a nice lunch option on a colder day. Give it a try, it may look simple, but it’s very tasty.