Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce

Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce #glutenfree #grainfree #paleoOven-baked paleo meatball recipe with homemade dry garlic rib sauce added to the mix for a super delicious, moist meatball.

This meatball recipe has been in my family for generations.

When I was 7, Mom told me that my children’s, children’s, children would be making these meatballs, far after I’m gone.

Intense? Maybe. But after you’ve made these meatballs for you and your family, you’ll totally agree with my Mom.

Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce #glutenfree #grainfree #paleo

I had to switch things around a little to make the recipe healthier::

… extra-lean beef instead of regular

… homemade dry garlic rib sauce instead of the high sugar store-bought stuff (and girl, the sauce recipe is AMAZING!)

… almond flour instead of breadcrumbs

… fresh parsley instead of dried

This recipe is a win.

Oh, and; unlike serving these meatballs with toothpicks and dipping sauce, I sandwiched them in a “sweet potato bun” — a grain-free, antioxidant-rich alternative to the classic meatball sub.

Again, win.

Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce #glutenfree #grainfree #paleo

4.8 from 4 reviews
Paleo Meatball Sub
Recipe type: Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Oven-baked paleo meatball recipe with homemade dry garlic rib sauce added before baking.
  • 0.6kg extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 batch (125mL) of homemade dry garlic rib sauce, recipe below
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Sweet Potato Sub
  • 6 sweet potatoes, roasted whole in a 400F oven for 40-50 minutes depending on size
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat.
  2. Add meatball ingredients to a large bowl. Mash with your hands to combine.
  3. Pinch off a section of meat, about 1½ tablespoons, and roll between palms to form a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining meat.
  4. This recipe will make 24 meatballs, 4 balls per serving.
  5. Bake meatballs in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165F. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  6. Then, cut sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise, and sandwich 4 meatballs between each "sub". Drizzle with BBQ sauce and serve.
  7. Add to bowl with meat and extra things. Mix.
Almond Flour: I tested this recipe without any flour or binder at all and it didn't work. Something needs to be used to hold everything together. If you are NOT grain-free, you could use gluten-free breadcrumbs, quinoa flakes or perhaps oat bran. I have not tested these options. If you ARE grain-free, you could try finely-ground sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Egg: I tested this recipe without eggs and it didn't hold together as well as I would have liked. It still "worked" but was a bit sloppy.

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Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce #glutenfree #grainfree #paleo

Almond flour or meal will do just fine in this recipe. Another ground flour may be good, too!

Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce #glutenfree #grainfree #paleo

Just look at how thick and authentic the dry garlic rib sauce is. I’ll for sure be making the recipe again and using it on a rack ‘o ribs!

Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce #glutenfree #grainfree #paleo

4.8 from 4 reviews
Dry Garlic Rib Sauce
Recipe type: Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Egg-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Sweet garlic-based sauce that can be used as an intense flavor booster in meatballs or burgers or as a marinade for wings, ribs and steak tips.
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend, on high, until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, on medium-low heat.
  3. Boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until dark and thick. You'll have to stir more often as it gets close to the end so that it doesn't burn.
  4. Recipe makes 125mL of dry garlic rib sauce.
Coconut Sugar: I used coconut sugar specifically because of the caramel notes in the sugar. You could try this recipe with other forms of dark granulated sugar like demerara. I bet honey would work, too but it would change the flavor profile of the sauce.
Coconut Aminos: If you are paleo or soy-free, this is your best bet. If you are not, any type of gluten-free soy sauce (like Braggs) will do the trick

Paleo Meatball Sub with Dry Garlic Rib Sauce #glutenfree #grainfree #paleo

Share your story!

What recipe has been in your family for ages that you either still make, or haven’t made in awhile because of your food allergies or sensitivities?

Feel free to share the recipe in the comments. I’d love to check it out, see if I can offer some suggestions on how to make it safe ;)

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  1. What a great recipe, this looks delicious! Happy to see you here at Full Plate Thursday and thanks so much for sharing with us.
    Miz Helen

  2. Loved this recipe, and so did two of my picky-eater friends!

    Curious as to whether or not you think this would work at muffin-tin mini meatloaves. If I did try it, is there anything you’d suggest adding?

  3. Wow! Your timing is amazing! Tonight I had scheduled Turkey Meatball Subs for the family. I was going to forego the bread and make zucchini noodles but now that I see your geniusness at work here with the sweet potato, im really looking forward to dinner tonight now. :)

      • My hubby and kids looked at me so strange the whole time.. but our turkey meatball subs are more spicy. So that spicy with the sweet of the potato was very interesting. LOL Problem was, I had fit 4 meatballs into my macros with 4oz sweet potato but the 4oz sweet potato only fit 1 meatball. LOL Had to eat the three solo. Im gonna try it next time with your dry garlic rib sauce next time. Was still very tasty and I’d do it all over again if I had to. :)

  4. For me, the family recipe that has been kicking around for ages– now collecting dust– is for perogies. Specifically: potato cheddar perogies. White flour, gluten-laden dough + dairy in the cheese means that I haven’t been true to my Ukrainian roots for over 4 years now. I can’t even picture a GF, dairy free perogy, but DEFINITELY let me know if you see a way out of this one. ;) Hope you are doing well, Leanne!

    • I’ve been working on chickpea flour perogies for a long, long time. I’m with you. I loved the cheddar and chives ones. MMM. Things are going well here! How’s the move? When is that happening? Really soon, right?!