Low Carb Swedish Meatballs are great as a ketogenic appetizer or served as a meal over zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. This recipe is gluten-free and delicious.
So, these were supposed to be Mexican Meatballs.
What happened? Well….
A few weeks ago I saw an appealing recipe in a magazine for a Mexican meatball dinner. I thought with a tweak or two it would make a great party appetizer. Two things went wrong with that recipe:
- First, I added too much salt to the meatballs. Like waaaaayyyy too much salt! (I was interrupted 1o too many times by my children. It happens.)
- Second, the sauce for the meatballs had an Italian flavor while the meatballs were more zesty in flavor. It was a case of International Flavor Conflict – and way too much salt.
I don’t like to waste food, but all 60 meatballs promptly went into the trash. (wincing) That hurt!
Next, I decided to start with our favorite hamburger recipe and add a few extra ingredients. When I finished cooking the meatballs on the stove, I removed them and began preparing a simple pan-sauce. BTW, I always cook my meatballs in a frying pan because:
- It takes less time in the pan than in the oven (unless you have hundreds or very large meatballs)
- I like the caramelization that occurs on the outside of the meatballs (it’s pretty & tasty)
- I use the flavor left in the pan for great pan-sauces (brown bits equals super flavor bomb)
The meatballs were fantastic and my family flipped! But I didn’t know what to call them.
The name Swedish Meatballs popped into my head. So, I promptly looked at some recipes for this oldie-but-goodie appetizer…
I found that Swedish Meatballs have been around since at least the 1920’s. Traditionally served with a brown gravy, my recipe serves them with a cream sauce flavored with caramelized pan drippings and beef broth. Alton Brown, of the Food TV Network, shares a recipe for Swedish meatballs calling for about 4 cups of gravy. I used his measurements for the allspice and nutmeg in the recipe below. His four cups of gravy would no doubt be great for keeping the meatballs sauced and warm in a crock pot for gatherings.
My sauce measures at around 1 1/2 – 2 cups for the 60 meatballs. As a dinner for 8, I would thicken the sauce a bit more and serve over steamed zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. *A reader mentioned that sauteing mushrooms ans adding it to the gravy would be wonderful for a dinner option. I agree!
As an appetizer these Low Carb Swedish Meatballs are 2 net carbs per 4 meatballs.
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- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 large eggs
- 4 ounces onion, minced and sauteed until soft
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Sukrin Gold, or your favorite sweetener
- 1 teaspoon pure ground chipotle pepper seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted beef broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Brandy
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- garnish with chopped parsley
Meatballs: In a large frying pan, heat two teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the minced onions and saute until soft.
Put all of the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer until completely combined and light and fluffy.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop the meatball mixture, roll into a ball and place onto a foil lined sheet pan. I like to keep my hands oiled so the meatballs don't stick to my hands. Two tablespoons of oil in a small bowl is plenty. By measuring carefully, you should get about 60 meatballs.
In the same pan in which the onions were sauteed, heat about 2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat. Add half of the meatballs turning each one three times, at about 2 minutes per side.
Remove the meatballs to the sheet pan; lift up half of the foil and place them on the clean sheet pan. Add the rest of the oil to the saute pan and cook the remaining half of the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to the sheet pan. Turn off the heat under the saute pan.
Cream Sauce: Heat the cream cheese in the microwave for 1 minute. Pour the 2 tablespoons of brandy and 1/4 cup of the beef broth into the pan, turning the heat to medium high. Scrape up all of the brown bits on the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the cream cheese and break it up and try to melt it as best as you can. Add the cream and stir. Put the sauce from the pan into a blender and add the rest of the beef broth. Blend until smooth and add it back to the pan. Add the Worcestershire sauce and Dijon Mustard. Simmer the sauce until it reduces and thickens to your liking, 5 - 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Use a looser sauce for appetizers (like in a crock pot) and a thicker sauce for dinner.
Makes 60 meatballs. Serving size is 4 meatballs each for an appetizer.
If serving as an entree with the sauce (6 meatballs)
Cal: 440, Fat: 38, Carbohydrates: 3, Fiber: trace, Protein: 20
*I suggest serving over steamed zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice since the meal is so calorie dense.