I don’t know about you but I grew up with spaghetti and meatballs as a family favourite. And it is a great comfort food, especially on a cool evening. In the past few years I have added more foods like this gluten free meatball recipe to my daily diet.
As my body changes with age, certain foods that I used to be able to eat without gaining weight or digestive issues are starting to cause me problems. The aging process changes our body in a number of ways: hormonal changes, decrease in muscle mass, reduced stomach acid. These things can cause our metabolism to slow down and make our digestion less efficient. There are plenty of things we can do to alleviate some of these issues. For now, let’s just talk about why going at least partially gluten free might be helpful. Then we’ll dig into a tasty gluten free meatball recipe.
What’s the deal with gluten?
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). It helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Many types of foods, even unexpected ones contain gluten.
For most people, gluten is not an issue. Our body is able to digest and handle a certain amount of this protein. Where we run into a problem is when we eat too much gluten. And many of us do. Then our body starts to see it as a toxin and may mount an immune response. That causes symptoms like gas, bloating, indigestion and belly aches.
This does not necessarily mean you have Celiac Disease. That is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people. It means the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. The symptoms you experience are messages that your body is not happy with what you may be feeding it.
Doing a gluten-free trial for a few weeks will give your digestive system a bit of a break and allow you to observe how you feel without it in your diet. Consider your sleep quality, energy levels, concentration, mood, and digestion (feelings of heaviness or fullness, gas, bloating, or indigestion). If you feel better without gluten, you may decide to reduce or at least become more conscious of the quantity you allow in your daily diet.
**NOTE**If you suspect you may have Celiac Disease then you should consult with your doctor before undertaking a gluten-free trial. Celiac is serious and must be diagnosed and treated by a medical doctor.
Alright, let’s dig into that gluten free meatball recipe! Oh, and it is low-carb too 🙂
Making gluten free meatballs
I love to get 2 things done at once so I start with my mixing bowl and slow cooker side by side on the counter. I can simply divide the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper equally between them. Then I mix up the tomato sauce so it is ready to receive the meatballs – saves me laying them out on another plate that I would have to wash – less dishes is always better!
Above, you can see how the spaghetti squash sits on top of everything in the slow cooker and what it looks like at the end of cooking. You will find the squash easily scrapes out of its skin with a fork. There is a lot of moisture so I scrape it directly into a strainer over top of a bowl to collect the excess water to discard.
Then I simply divide the squash between the serving dishes, toss a few meatballs and sauce on top and add a little freshly grated parmesan cheese, because, well, we just love cheese at our house!
Gluten free meatball recipe
Gluten Free Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash
- Slow Cooker
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1 egg whisked
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin, divided
- 2 tbsp oregano divided
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp sea salt divided
- 2 tsp pepper divided
- 1 spaghetti squash medium
- Place your slow cooker on the counter beside a medium-sized mixing bowl. Divide the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper evenly between the slow cooker and mixing bowl.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes into the slow cooker and stir to blend well with the seasonings.
- Into the mixing bowl add the whisked egg, brown rice flour and the ground turkey. Mix well then form into balls (approx 1 tbsp each).
- As you form each meatball, place it into the crushed tomatoes mixture in the slow cooker.
- Once all the meatballs are in the slowcooker, spoon the crushed tomatoes mixture over them so they are covered in it.
- Carefully cut the spagetti squash in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then gently place the two halves flesh side up into the slow cooker. No need to submerge it in the sauce – it should sit on top of everything. You can cut it into quarters to help it fit easier.
- Place the lid on your slow cooker and set it on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
- Before you are ready to eat, use tongs to lift the spaghetti squash out of the slow cooker. Use a fork to scrape out the flesh into a strainer (or onto a layer of paper towel) and let the excess fluid drain off.
- Divide the spaghetti squash between serving bowls and top with meatballs and tomato sauce. Enjoy with a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese if you like 🙂