Rich and savory healthy wild mushroom meatballs with fresh herbs and grass-fed ground beef. These meatballs are easily made in the oven and the perfect meal prep protein for delicious lunches and dinners all week long!
Get ready for a humble brag, I am tops at making meatballs. Nothing humble about it actually, it's just kind of true 😉
According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill and my friends I am rounding third on 10,000 meatball making hours. So humble brag aside, it's just a skill that I have put time into.
During my years of personal cheffing, one of my clients was very into meatballs, so week after week, year after year I made meatballs. All kinds. Over and over and over again.
Let's get to the reason we are all here today, shall we? Wild mushroom Meatballs. Oh My.
Why is this the BEST healthy baked meatball recipe?
Oh man, so many mushrooms for starters, paired with 3 kinds of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, and parsley), garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and baked to juicy perfection!
How to make meatballs healthier:
- Bake rather than fry. In my 10,000 hours of meatball making, I never once fried on the stovetop. I actually find that frying dries out the meatballs and makes for a less juicy result.
- Add veggies. Meatballs are the perfect vehicle to add vegetables. I've added shredded carrot or zucchini, a ton of onions and garlic, even kale or zucchini works!
- Upgrade the quality of the protein. The main ingredient in beef meatballs is beef (obviously), so make sure that the beef you are using is super high quality. I prefer grass-fed over grain fed and source my animal products from a reputable company like Butcher Box.
- If you are paleo or gluten free you can substitute the typical bread crumbs for almond flour or even rolled oats. Most meatball recipes work without any sub for the breadcrumbs, you will just have a more “crumbly” texture of a meatball.
Why does grass-fed beef matter?
Grass-fed beef implies that cows have grazed in a pasture on grass rather than being fed a grain-based diet. Although grain fed beef tends to produce more fat marbling in the beef, the nutrient composition of grass-fed beef is far preferred for health reasons. Here are a few reasons why.
- Grass-fed meat is much leaner than grain fed on average grass-fed beef is 1/2 to 1/3 leaner than it’s grain fed counterpart.
- The fat composition is vastly different in grass-fed meat. Grass-fed meat has 2-6x the amount of anti-inflammatory omega 3’s
- Higher quantities of CLA – conjugated linoleic acid which is a fatty acid that is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Grass- fed and finished cattle have on average 433 mg/ CLA per 4 ounce portion compared to 71 mg/ CLA per 4 ounce portion of grain fed
My favorite source of grass-fed beef is Butcher Box, an organic, grass-fed meat delivery service. You can read my review of Butcher Box here and if you sign up for Butcher Box before May 15, 2019, you will receive 2 lbs. of wild Salmon free in your first order! Perfect to make my Mediterranean Sheet Pan Salmon with!
What can I use instead of eggs in healthy meatballs?
Eggs are not in a meatball for moisture they are there to help bind all of the ingredients together and make a light airy meatball. If you can't tolerate eggs, or have just plum run out and want to make this recipe anyway, here are a few substitutes that may work:
- Mayonnaise – 1 tbsp per egg, works every time
- Flax or Chia egg – mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed or ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp water. Let sit for a few minutes before adding to the mixture (1 tbsp flax+ 3 tbsp water = 1 large egg)
- Eliminate the egg altogether. The recipe will still work without eggs, the texture will just be slightly different.
What can I use instead of breadcrumbs in meatballs?
Here are the best breadcrumbs substitutes:
- Grain Free Options for Paleo or Keto Meatballs – Almond flour 1:1 – I tested this recipe with almond flour and it worked perfectly.
- Gluten Free Options – Rolled oats 1:1 or gluten-free breadcrumbs 1:1
How long do I bake meatballs in the oven?
First of all, it depends on what size you roll your meatballs. I find if you bake the meatballs in the oven it's best to keep the meatballs golf ball sized.
Then bake at 350° for 15 minutes
What should I eat with wild mushroom meatballs?
These healthy wild mushroom meatballs are quite versatile and can be served:
- In soup! The first time I made them I added them to a vegetable farro soup. It was absolutely divine.
- As a sandwich. Wild mushroom meatball sub? Oh my goodness yes! Top with a ton of crunchy veggies and a yogurt based sauce (like this one) and you are in for a treat.
- Serve as the main protein and serve any of the following as a side dish: mashed sweet potato, mashed cauliflower, mashed parsnip and potato, cauliflower rice, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, roasted butternut squash, creamy polenta, sauteed spinach, sauteed kale, wild mushroom risotto (OMG!).
How to turn meatballs into the ultimate meal prep!
My favorite way to enjoy meatballs is as a meal prep powerhouse! I simply nestle the meatballs on a bed of raw baby spinach and pair with Paleo Mashed Sweet Potato (1 sweet potato boiled or baked until soft, mash with 1 tbsp coconut oil and a generous pinch of salt). When you heat your magical meal prep meatballs the spinach wilts just enough. Perfection! Seriously how jealous would your co-workers be when you whip out this lunch??
What are you going to make with these healthy wild mushroom meatballs? Because truly your only limitation is your imagination!
When you make this recipe leave a comment and rating below and don't forget to tag me on Insta so I can send you some love! @abrapappa
Wild Mushroom and Grass Fed Beef Meatballs
- 1 lb grass fed ground beef
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb wild mushrooms, chopped (you can use either a wild mushroom blend or just cremini mushrooms)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp worcesterschire sauce
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a large saute pan over medium heat saute chopped mushrooms in olive oil for 4 minutes, or until tender. Add a pinch of salt, thyme, and rosemary, saute for an additional minute. Set aside and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl combine ground beef, eggs, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, parsley, crushed garlic, salt and pepper and reserved mushrooms and herbs. Using your hands mix the ingredients well until fully combined.
- Roll meatballs into golf ball sized balls and place on a large baking sheet. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. You can sprinkle with a bit of additional salt when hot out of the oven.
- Recipe makes 18-32 meatballs, they will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge or several months in the freezer.
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