Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Oct

Italian Sausage Meatballs with Fresh Herbs

Perhaps there is a more eloquent way to say it, but Shalon perfectly describes the flavor of the meatballs she entered in the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest with this quote: “They satisfy my mmm, goodness requirement.”

It’s true. “Mmm” is likely to be the first thing out of your mouth when you take a bite, thanks to a flavorful combination of ground beef (or bison) and sweet Italian sausage. Italian sausage is traditionally made from pork but chicken and turkey varieties are also out there. Fennel seed, which has a slightly sweet and very faint licorice-like flavor is the distinguishing characteristics of sweet Italian sausage. The Italian sausage perfectly matches other ingredients in the meatballs like fresh herbs, garlic and red pepper flakes. You can dip the meatballs in ketchup or mustard if you want, but with so much satisfying flavor packed into them you’ll be completely satisfied eating the meatballs unadorned.

Meatballs are easy to pack for lunch. You can also do what Shalon does and keep your freezer well-stocked; whenever hunger hits, defrost a few for a convenient protein-packed snack.

Makes 20 large or 30 medium meatballs


  • 1 lb ground beef (or bison)
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 long sprig fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cream (optional)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan (optional)
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat


Remove the Italian sausage from its casing.

Mix all of the ingredients, except bacon fat, together until well combined.

With lightly oiled hands, roll the meatballs into the desired size.

To cook, heat bacon fat in a saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the meatballs. Fry 5-7 minutes, until bottom is browned.

Turn meatballs to opposite side and fry until that side is nicely browned, another 5-7 minutes. Cut one open to determine if it is fully cooked on the inside. If not quite done, turn heat to low and cover pan for a few more minutes or put meatballs in a warm oven while you fry another batch.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. These look fantastic, going shopping now and try these tonight, Thanks

    john wrote on September 27th, 2011
  2. I make this loosely (not too strict with the proportions.) Tastes absolutely wonderful, always surprised how they come out since I vary the heat – what a great recipe. I make extra to put in the fridge and pull for snacks.

    newcurious wrote on August 31st, 2012
  3. Can I fry the meatballs instead of baking? I need the extra fat for modified atkins and epilepsy so this would give extra fat along with protein.

    Candy wrote on October 28th, 2012
  4. These look great. Has anyone tried freezing them after they were cooked? I am thinking of making them to take down to the beach and I want things I can prepare ahead of time. Or, has anyone tried baking them instead of frying?

    Mer wrote on July 2nd, 2013
    • I have baked them instead of frying and they turned out fine. I also did 1/4 c coconut flour instead of almond flour since I was out

      Kathleen wrote on March 16th, 2014
  5. I am kind of new to primal – keep trying to stay on and keep falling off with long work hours and dinners out. But this time I realllly want to stay on this healthy eating. Made these meatballs and deglazed the pan with some raw whole milk. Also – didnt have bacon fat, so cooked on grass fed ghee. Husband, who is a total carb-o-holic, said these meatballs are the best things I ever made. I agree – they are delicious especially with the deglazing “sauce.” Thanks Mark!

    Leen wrote on October 7th, 2014

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