Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs Recipe (Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo)

Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Swedish Meatballs, and they're baked instead of fried.

Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs Recipe (Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo) found on

I'm always happy when I can get a halfway decent photograph of meat, especially ground meat, and these Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs that I first posted in 2007 were desperately in need of a photo update!  The recipe was inspired by Oven-Baked Swedish Meatballs from a Swedish food blog called Anne's Food, but if your experience to Swedish Meatballs is limited to Ikea Swedish Meatballs, it might be only the seasonings used in this recipe that are familiar.  

What I loved about Anne's recipe is the finely chopped onion, that she didn't use breadcrumbs or serve the meatballs with a creamy gravy, and the way they were baked instead of fried, and when I made these again for new photos I took it one step healthier and switched out half the meat for ground turkey sausage.  I tested the recipe with my niece Kara, and we both thought they were delicious.  If you don't care about making the meatballs lower in fat you could also use all ground beef, half ground pork, or half pork sausage.

Of course not using breadcrumbs makes these delicious meatballs Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, and the meatballs also Can Be Paleo if you use approved meats. They're also South Beach Phase One, and they were featured for Phase One Fridays back in April 2013. That's when I added them to the list for a new photo, so I'm happy they finally made it to the front of the line!

Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs Recipe (Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo) found on
I used half lean ground beef and half ground turkey sausage, but use the meat combination that you prefer.  Crumble meat into a bowl and let it come to room temperature. Be sure the onion is very finely minced so it can be well-distributed through the meat. (I used my beloved Cuisinart Food Processor to chop the onion, which worked well.) Add the onions and spices to the bowl, and gently mix with clean hands; then use a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to scoop out meatballs and form them with your hands.

Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs Recipe (Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo) found on
We used two different baking racks that we rigged up from what I had in my kitchen, but the meatballs on the wire rack definitely cooked more quickly and browned better on all sides.  Cooking on a rack like this is probably not 100% necessary, but when you use ground turkey there will be some liquid that oozes out and baking on a rack lets that drip down away from the meatballs.  Spray the rack with olive oil and bake meatballs 20-30 minutes until they're slightly browned and cooked through.  (We turned the ones on the rack with smaller holes half way through, but the ones on the wire rack didn't need to be turned.)

Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs Recipe (Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo) found on
And just for fun, here's the original photo of Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs from back in 2007. You see why I wanted a new photo, don't you?

Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs Recipe (Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo) found on
Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs
(Makes 36-42 meatballs, depending on how big you make them; recipe originally from Anne's Food, slightly adapted by Kalyn.)

1 lb. very lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
1 lb lean ground turkey breakfast sausage or lean ground turkey (You can also use all ground beef, half ground pork, or half pork sausage if you don't care about making it low in fat.)
1 onion, diced very small
1 T garlic puree (also called ground garlic)
1/2 tsp. Veg-Sal or 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Put meat in mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature while you finely chop onion. (I used my beloved Cuisinart Food Processor to chop the onion, which worked well.)

When the meat is room temperature, mix in onions, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and cinnamon. Mix with your clean hands just until spices and meats are well combined; don't over-mix the ingredients.

Mist pan or grilling rack with olive oil or non-stick spray.  (Baking on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath it will make the meatballs cook more evenly and it also lets any liquid that oozes out drip down away from the meatballs.  This is especially important if you use ground turkey.)

Use a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to measure out meat, forming small meatballs by rolling with your hands and placing them on the rack as you go. Bake until meatballs are slightly browned and cooked through, 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot.

South Beach/Low-Carb Suggestions:
With low-fat ground beef and low-fat ground turkey sausage or ground turkey, these Low-Carb Baked Swedish Meatballs are a good dish for all phases of the South Beach Diet, and also good for any type of low-carb diet.  The meatballs are even Paleo if you use approved meats! (People following other low-carb diets might want to use meat with more fat; take your choice on that.)  Low-Carb side dishes I think would taste great with this include Many Peppers Greek Salad or Arugula and Gorgonzola Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Meatballs You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet or Low-Carb friendly; check ingredients.)
Grilled Sriracha-Seame Turkey Meatballs ~ Kalyn's Kitchen 
Dagmar's Spicy Meatballs ~ Nami-Nami
Baked Greek Meatballs with Feta ~ Kalyn's Kitchen 
Greektown Turkey Meatballs ~ The Perfect Pantry
Beef and Sausage Meatballs with Tomato Sauce ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Swedish Meatballs ~ Simply Recipes
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. The spices make all the difference, don't they? I never used to cook meat with cinnamon and cardamom when I was younger, but the warm spices combined with meat are just lovely.

  2. First, a confession: It's been a while since I dropped by your blog. Having said that, WOW you have been doing some fabulous work! Your blog is interesting, very informative, and easy to navigate. Well done! Now I am off to add you to my blog roll, which is seriously out of date.

    Baking the meatballs and misting them with the oil looks like it retains the flavor without too much grease--I like that a lot.

  3. Wow, all those spices really appeals. Wouldn't these work as a finger food!

  4. Lydia, the flavor of this with all those spices was really something special.

    Andrea, thanks. I have been working hard on it. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll.

    Tanna, these might be a little big to eat with your fingers, and I'm not sure they're that much of a heart healthy recipe, although not too bad I guess with the lower fat meats. I think I'd cut mine in half when I ate them.

  5. These look - which is what I'm saving them to!

  6. See, the thing I love about this site is that it's full of recipes that are not only delicious but good for you *and* able to be made by real people with real lives. I had a pound of ground turkey that I was intending to make lasagna out of, but that turned out to be way too ambitious for tonight. I also had a package of turkey sausage I had bought because it was on sale, but I had no plans for it yet. And voila, Kalyn produces the perfect recipe for me to make tonight. These came out great, even with the turkey products and my lack of cardamom (I added back in a little cinnamon). I got 34 meatballs and they took 25 minutes to cook. I ate them with a little bit of reduced fat sour cream.

  7. Quite an interesting mix of ingredients in those meatballs, but they sound delicious.

  8. Cardamom, I have to try this recipe asop! I can confirm what ZOE's been pointing out, meatballs with ground turkey taste very good (I usually spice them with lots of parsley, a little sauted onion, salt and pepper, adding a couple of spoonfulls of milk soaked breadcrumbs to lighten the texture). I put them on parchment paper, no oiling needed.
    Thanks for all work you put into your blog to provide us with such great recipes (I found you via Lucullian Delights, for which I shall be forever grateful to Ilva!).

  9. Christine, I must add you to my network. I'll try to find you.

    Zoe, thanks for letting me know you liked them. The idea of turkey sounds good.

    Cate, thanks.

    Merisi, you're welcome, and one more thing for me to thank Ilva for. (She's the greatest!)

  10. Not like the Swedish Meatballs at the annual Lutyfisk dinner I remember, either!
    These look very good. I have an old recipe for meatballs with ginger - now I'm going to add the other spices....and skip the heavy cream.

  11. My grandmother was famous for her Swedish Meatballs. My mom made them this week and it did not live up to grandmas... This recipe however sounds tasty. Sounds like a great blend of spices!

  12. Can't wait to try this tomorrow. I had copied Anne's recipe but was going to have to research her measurements and oven temp as it was C instead of F. lol

  13. These are delicious! I planned to have meatballs with spaghetti sauce, but I ended up using cinnamon, ginger, and allspice instead of normal Italian spices when I decided to use this recipe. So, it was browned diced mushrooms, zucchini, onion, and fresh tomato (just because I didn't have canned) with a small can of tomato sauce, with those spices. It was actually REALLY good. Have the second half of the meatballs in the freezer and can't wait to eat them!

    Have you ever thought about hosting a South Beach friendly weekly or monthly meal plan like on orgjunkie?

    I HAVE to make menu plans or I might as well not be on the diet, but it would be cool to see some from other South Beachers.

  14. Amber, so glad you liked the recipe. No I haven't ever thought about doing that (I don't think I've ever made a weekly menu in my life, so I'd be terrible at it!) Might be a fun idea for someone, but I don't think I can take on anything else!

  15. Finally a recipe for Swedish meatballs that does not involve gravy etc. It sounds very good and I can't wait to try to make them! Thank you very much for the recipe!

  16. Looks so good...Where did you get that pan?

  17. The picture looks not so good. :-) But the recipe sounds amazing!!

  18. Fuzzy Halo, the pan was from a thrift store. Not sure what the original purpose was for it, but it worked well for this.

    Becca, agreed about the photo, but the meatballs are good!

  19. I can't wait to make these! Since you we're out of cinnamon, did you substitute allspice? I want to use cinnamon when I make them so please let me know how much to use and if I would also use the allspice. Thank you!!

  20. The original recipe had both cinnamon and allspice. It said a "pinch" of the seasonings, which I changed to a more specific amount so I'd probably use the amount of cinnamon if I used it.

  21. I love that these meatballs are naturally gluten free, Kalyn! They look so good! :-)


  22. Thanks Shirley. And I love that there is no bread as well.

  23. The meatballs are in the oven right now. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  24. Ummm I'm making these asap! I think I can skip my diet just this once.

  25. Thanks for linking to one of my turkey meatball recipes. I'm a meatball fanatic, and you can be sure I'll be making these Swedish meatballs!

    1. Thanks Lydia! I am a pretty big meatball fan myself.

  26. These were very good. Thanks, Kalyn. I love little meatballs anytime. Especially love having some already cooked in my freezer, which is where half of these are going.

    1. Elizabeth, so glad you enjoyed them! And I love the idea of stockpiling some in the freezer too.

  27. Swedish meatballs look quite enticing :) I just saved an image of its recipe will it give a try. Kalyn would you mind sharing some new veggie recipes, ideally for breakfast...

    1. Hi Nichole, will definitely see what I can come up with for that. I assume when you say "veggie" you're talking about vegetarian breakfast ideas that have vegetables. In the meantime you can find lots and lots of vegetarian breakfast options in the photo index for Meatless Recipes. Enjoy!


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