Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs
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Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs - Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, with nut-free and egg-free options. Air fryer or oven.

Ooo, these Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs hit the spot! There’s a classic meatball recipe that involves a bottle of BBQ sauce and a jar of grape jelly. It is such a delicious and easy combination. This is my Whole30 take on it with all the flavor and no added sweeteners besides pure grape juice!

Why We Love These Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs

First, we love that they are nutritious and meet many dietary needs. They are Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, with nut-free and egg-free options. 

Second, we love that they are a 30-minute meal! Life is BUSY, so here is another 30-minute weeknight meal your family will love. 

Third, these meatballs have a delicious sauce that will keep you returning for more. It only has 5 ingredients and is both tangy and sweet. 

Finally, they also make a great appetizer! Make a double batch, bring some toothpicks and take them to your next party or tailgate. Perfect for the big game. 

  Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs - Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, with nut-free and egg-free options. Air fryer or oven.  

Ingredients

The ingredients for these Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs are ones I can find at my local Walmart. See the note to save money by making your own BBQ sauce for this recipe.

  • Ground beef – I use 85/15 ground beef for this meal. Or, for an even more tender and juicy meatball, use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork. 
  • Egg – To make these eggless, use 1/4 cup mashed potatoes instead of the egg. Or, you can leave out the egg and the almond flour, but the meatballs won’t be as tender. 
  • Dried minced onion – I find this spice in the spice of most grocery stores, like this one here at Walmart.
  • Garlic powder – Granulated garlic or garlic powder will both work well in this recipe. 
  • Salt and pepper – Regular old table salt and black ground pepper here.
  • Coconut aminos – No soy is allowed on Whole30, so no soy sauce is allowed. But coconut aminos are a great soy sauce replacement and add a great depth of flavor. We can find coconut aminos at Walmart or Trader Joes. 

Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs - Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, with nut-free and egg-free options. Air fryer or oven.

  • Almond flour – Traditional meatballs use breadcrumbs to add bulk and tenderness. We use almond flour instead! Need a nut-free option? Use 1/2 cup mashed potatoes instead. Or, you can leave out the egg and the almond flour, but the meatballs won’t be as tender. 
  • Olive or avocado oil – We will just use a touch of this to saute the garlic in.
  • Minced garlic – I love just using pre-minced garlic, like this one from Walmart, to save time. But mincing your own fresh garlic cloves is delicious too.
  • BBQ Sauce – If you are on a Whole30, you can use this store-bought unsweetened bbq sauce that is Whole30 Approved. However, I save money by making my own Homemade BBQ sauce here. 
  • Grape juice – To keep this Whole30 and Paleo-friendly, make sure it’s 100% pure grape juice, with no added sugars. This one at Walmart is a good example.
  • Potato or arrowroot starch – These are Paleo + Whole30 flours that work like cornstarch to thicken sauces. Whisk it in thoroughly before adding to heat to avoid clumps! I don’t recommend tapioca flour for this sauce, as it will get tacky. 

Instructions

Making these Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs is quick and simple! Here is how to make them:

  • If cooking the meatballs in the oven, turn on your oven to broil (high). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack inside it (like this one), if you have one. 
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. The more you mix the meatballs, the less tender they will be!
  • Shape into 20 1-tablespoon meatballs, trying to keep the sizes even as much as possible so they will cook at the same rate. I use a cookie scoop like this one to make that easier. 
  • OVEN: Place all meatballs on the baking rack or lined baking sheet, spacing at least 1″ apart. Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned, flip, and then broil for another 3 minutes or until cooked through.
  • AIR FRYER: Place meatballs in a single layer in air fryer basket. You may need to do this in two batches. Air fry at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
  • While meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. Start by whisking together all the sauce ingredients in a cold small pot. Do this before adding to heat so the starch will whisk in and not clump. Once well combined, place pot over medium heat.
  • Stirring regularly, cook sauce over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
  • Pour sauce over cooked meatballs and serve! We love this served on top of cauliflower rice for Whole30 option, or steamed rice for a gluten-free option.

Make it a Meal

What do I serve these Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs with? We love it paired with the following:

  • Served on top of cauliflower rice for Whole30 option, or steamed rice for a gluten-free option.
  • With a green vegetable side like my Kale Salad or Broccoli Salad
  • Or, if you don’t have time to make a full salad, use steam in a bag broccoli or green beans. I steam in the microwave for 4-5 minutes (per package instructions), then toss with oil and seasonings and air fry at 375 for 10 minutes or saute in a pan with coconut oil over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, until it starts to look “burnt.” We love the crispy bits this creates!

Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs - Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, with nut-free and egg-free options. Air fryer or oven.

Whole30 Sweet BBQ Meatballs

Autumn @wholefoodfor7
A quick 30-minute meal to get a nourishing budget- and kid-friendly meal on the table fast!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 443 kcal

Ingredients
 

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef or half ground pork + half ground beef
  • 1/2 cup almond flour*
  • 1 large egg*
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened bbq sauce
  • 1 cups 100% grape juice
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot or potato starch or flour

Instructions
 

  • If cooking the meatballs in the oven, turn on your oven to broil (high). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack inside it (like this one), if you have one. 
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. The more you mix the meatballs, the less tender they will be!
  • Shape into 20 1-tablespoon meatballs, trying to keep the sizes even as much as possible so they will cook at the same rate. I use a cookie scoop like this one to make that easier. 
  • OVEN: Place all meatballs on the baking rack or lined baking sheet, spacing at least 1" apart. Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned, flip, and then broil for another 3 minutes or until cooked through.
  • AIR FRYER: Place meatballs in a single layer in air fryer basket. You may need to do this in two batches. Air fry at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
  • While meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. Start by whisking together all the sauce ingredients in a cold small pot. Do this before adding to heat so the starch will whisk in and not clump. Once well combined, place pot over medium heat.
  • Stirring regularly, cook sauce over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
  • Pour sauce over cooked meatballs and serve! We love this served on top of cauliflower rice for Whole30 option, or steamed rice for a gluten-free option.
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Video

Notes

For possible egg and nut-free substitutions, see the Ingredient section of the blog post above!

Nutrition

Calories: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 27gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 1114mgPotassium: 631mgFiber: 3gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 317IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 4mg
Keyword budget-friendly, dairy-free, easy, egg-free, gluten-free, kid-friendly, main dish, nut-free, paleo, whole30
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was so easy and soooo good!

    Reply
    • I’m so thrilled you found these EASY and delicious! Thank you for giving them a try and for the review!

      Reply

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