Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spicy Apple Meatballs

I feel so much more comfortable now that meat's back on the table! I'm totally out of my comfort zone making meatless main dishes, although it is kind of fun to try something new. Speaking of comfort, meatballs = comfort. After a night like last night, I sure could use some comfort. When I'm used to our baby going to bed at 7 or 8, it's real rough when she parties until midnight. Of course this happens to be on the day I've committed myself to going to bed at 10! Ok, I'm kind of over it now. Enough drama for today. Please?

I was expecting these meatballs to have more apple flavor, but the apple juice really adds a little sweetness to the glaze, more than anything. These have a little bit of an Asian flair, but not overly so. And the spiciness is not sweat-inducing, even though they are called Spicy Apple Meatballs. Our 1 1/2-year-old handled them just fine. Doing a 50/50 mix of beef and sausage makes them a little more interesting than your average meatball as well.

Guys, overall, these were probably the best meatballs I've ever had. Granted, I'm not exactly a meatball connoisseur, but who is? Well, I suppose Italians probably are!

Spicy Apple Meatballs
Adapted from this recipe
Makes about 35 meatballs

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup ground oats
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed
7 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups apple juice (preferably one with very few ingredients and no added sugar)
2/3 cup liquid aminos or a very low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

6 green onions, green parts finely chopped

Oil a 9x13-inch pan and an 8x8-inch pan with the olive oil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oats. Let stand for 5 minutes so the oats can absorb some of the moisture. Add beef, pork, garlic, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined with your hands or a wooden spoon.

Form into tablespoon-sized meatballs and arrange in oiled pans. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the apple juice, liquid aminos, honey, cornstarch, and ginger.

Cook the glaze in a medium saucepan over medium heat until thickened into a thick-but-still-runny glaze, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat.

Pour glaze over the meatballs and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer meatballs to serving dishes and drizzle sauce from the pan over them, if desired. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.


I'm linking up this recipe at DJ's Sugar ShackCast Party Wednesday, and Back For Seconds.


  1. I love meatballs with healthy ingredients! My favorites are zucchini meatballs :) I am definately going to have to give these a try!

    1. Good idea on the zucchini, Becky! I love zucchini, but kind of run out of ideas eventually. I'll have to keep that in mind. I did throw some in a meatloaf once and it was really good.

  2. I'm loving the sound of these unique meatballs! Must try.

    1. You won't regret it Ashley. They have great flavor!

  3. Your Spicy Apple Meatballs look ssssooo delicious! I would love it if you would share this on my very first Whisk Away Wednesday Linky Party today, at I can't wait to see you there!

  4. MY mom made meatballs just like this when I was growing up - I haven't had them in years. I wonder if I could somehow make these with only turkey meatballs - I don't eat much sausage these days. Regardless, they still look and sound amazing!

    1. I don't think it would take much tweaking to make great turkey meatballs from these!


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