Nana’s Gluten Free Meatballs and Meat Sauce

Must Try

All of my life I cooked a non-gluten-free way. As I said in “About Me” on the blog, I was diagnosed celiac as an adult over 55. So, when I had to make so many dishes in this new manner, it took lots of trial and error. BUT, I’ve discovered a recipe for my beef meatballs which is the closest thing to “regular” as you’re gonna get. I hope you’ll try these, and while you’re at it, making homemade sauce is easy too. If you’re feeling adventurous, buy Italian Sweet Sausage. Brown slightly in pan alongside meatballs and add to your sauce. Instead of a plain Pasta, use this recipe for Lasagne or Manicotti or even Ravioli!

Meatball Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. Organic Ground Beef ( 85% lean) or  3/4 lb beef and 3/4 lb Ground Pork or even Veal.
  • 2 Lg. Eggs ( I prefer natural or organic)
  • 1/3 cup Gillian’s G-Free Italian Bread Crumbs (Be sure to use the seasoned “Italian” ones)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teas. Finely minced fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1/2 teas. Garlic Powder (NOT GARLIC SALT)
    1/4 teas. Salt
  • 1/4 teas. Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice Gluten-free white sliced bread soaked in small amt.of milk( Coconut Milk or Lactaid preferably)

Before beginning, take the slice of bread and place on a small saucer, and pour some milk on it to soak. Later when adding, we will use only the bread and leave whatever milk hasn’t been absorbed. (We just need it very moistened with milk)
When ready to add, crumble up the bread until almost mushy and easily blended into the meat mixture.

Place the meat and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, but don’t overdo the mixing. The less handling the better. Stop when all are combined.

Shape into meatballs of about 1 ½ inch in diameter.

Place on a baking sheet or cookie sheet that’s been coated with 2 tbl of canola oil.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Meatballs are still “pink” inside, but don’t worry. They will be cooking in the tomato sauce for 1 ½ hours.

Italian Meat Sauce for 1 ½ lbs Meatballs


  • 2 Cans ( 28 oz.) Crushed Raw Tomatoes of your choice.(I prefer with basil added.)*
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • ¼ Cup Finely Sliced Yellow Onion,  1 raw Carrot, peeled, then sliced in half, lenghtwise It adds sweetness and cuts any bitterness from the sauce.
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I prefer Light)
  • 4 or 5 Fresh Basil Leaves- Minced
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Additional Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese for topping

* If you are using canned whole tomatoes, then puree in a blender or food processor. San Marzano Tomatoes (from Italy) are considered the best quality and are more expensive, so if this is a budget issue, any canned tomatoes will do. I often buy brands available here in the Northeast like Muir Glen, Tuttorosa, Progresso, etc.

Get out your big pot! You know the one you probably use for making soups. Place the oil in and when just about to get hot, add the onion and sautee for just a minute or two, not letting them get brown. Now add the garlic and do the same. Garlic burns fast, so keep an eye on it!

Next, add the canned tomatoes and spices.

Lastly add those yummy meatballs and simmer over a low flame for 1 ½ hrs, ( 2 hours if you’ve added sausage) stirring well every 10 minutes or so, watching that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Discard the carrot.

Of course, boil your favorite Gluten-Free Pasta in salted water, until “al dente”.

When cooked, strain and place in a large bowl or put back in the empty pasta pot. Add some sauce and mix well. If plating in a large platter or bowl, add additional sauce on top and serve with your yummy Gluten-Free Meatballs!

Sprinkle Parmesan or Romano grated cheese atop, and Mangia!!

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