Whole30 Meatballs

First thing’s first: FUCK WHOLE30. Just kiddin’. I might try it some day, but today is not the day. However, The Defined Dish (a Dallas-based food blogger) is strictly Whole30 and makes a lot of insanely tasty recipes, and these beef + pork meatballs were no exception. They actual process of cooking them is v long (like over an hour, all in. Wish I would’ve read that before I started at 7:30 Monday night, but you live and you learn), but the end result is SO FUCKING YUM. Plus, it’s a very easy recipe. I followed it to a T (even got the Rao’s tomato sauce at Kroger), except for the arrowroot powder. I just used good old fashioned corn starch. I also cut the recipe in half and served it with zoodles. SO SO GOOD.

Whole30 Baked Meatballs from The Defined Dish


  • 1 cup fresh basil packed (plus more for serving)

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup cashews unroasted and unsalted

  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 strips of no sugar added bacon finely diced (I SKIPPED THIS)

  • 1 pound ground beef 85 percent lean

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 large eggs whisked

  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour (or corn starch!)

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 32oz jar marinara (I used Rao's)


  • Preheat the oven to 425º

  • In a food processor or blender, add the basil and garlic. Turn on and process until finely chopped, 15 to 20 seconds. Add the cashews and lemon zest and process until cashews are finely chopped. It should have a crumbly, dough-like consistency.

  • Transfer the cashew-basil mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the bacon, ground beef, ground pork, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, eggs, and arrowroot flour. Using clean hands, mix the meat until well combined.

  • In a 9x12 baking dish, use a paper towel to evenly coat the bottom of the dish with olive oil.

  • Using a ice cream scoop, scoop out meat mixture and form into 2-inch round balls. Place meatballs in baking dish and repeat until all meatballs are formed and in a single layer in the baking dish. (It makes approximately 17 meatballs).

  • Transfer dish to oven and cook, uncovered, until the meatballs are browned, about 20 minutes.

  • Remove from oven and decrease the oven temperature to 325º.

  • Pour marinara evenly over meatballs.

  • Return meatballs to the oven and continue to bake, uncovered, until the meatballs are tender and the sauce is very hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and basil.