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Meatballs with Great Grandma’s Bolognese Sauce (Low FODMAP)

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I grew up on Italian food, which can be full of garlic, onions, and bread. When I was diagnosed with IBS and went on the low FODMAP diet, I knew that I might have to give up my favorite comfort Italian foods, or learn to modify them. This was a huge struggle for me, as I was used to eating Italian food several nights a week! The sauce recipe took several tries, but eventually, I got it to taste just like my mom’s. The recipe I use has been passed down through four generations, so it was really important to me to make this sauce taste right. The meatballs and sauce are perfect for a big Sunday meal or a cold day.

Further Food Commentary:

This is the ultimate comfort food revisited to reduce the components that could otherwise cause indigestion. Scallions and chives have lower amounts of healthy organosulfur compounds than garlic and onions, which can cause gastrointestinal cramping or bloating. These organosulfur compounds are what gives these allium vegetables their signature stinky odor but act as powerful antioxidants and help boost selenium absorption. The secret to cooking with them without the tummy trouble is to saute them in olive oil but remove the pieces, which will leave only the flavor and aroma compounds in the oil. Oregano is usually the predominant herb used in “Italian seasonings.” The aromatic oils from oregano contain terpenes, which are phenolic compounds that may hold antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and insulin sensitizing characteristics. In fact, about a quarter of all prescription medicines contain compounds from herbs and other plants.

By Amanda Bontempo, MS, RD, CDN
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Meatballs with Great Grandma’s Bolognese Sauce (Low FODMAP)

Stars ( Reviews)

  • Prep Time:40 mins
  • Cook Time:1-2 hrs
  • Servings: 15

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

1 thick or 2 thin slices of gluten-free bread

⅓ cup non-dairy milk of choice

1 pound ground sirloin

½ cup finely chopped scallion

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)  or ½ tablespoon dried parsley

 

For the Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ onion (cut into large pieces, about 3 or 4 large pieces, DO NOT DICE)*

3 garlic cloves (slightly crushed)*

1 carrot (chopped)

½ bunch chives (finely chopped)

½ bunch of scallions (finely chopped)

1 pound ground sirloin

1 cup water

1 teaspoon dried basil

salt and pepper (to taste)

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (make sure the mix you use is garlic-free)

1 teaspoon rosemary

28-ounce can of tomato sauce

14-ounce can tomato puree

1 inch Parmesan cheese rind

* These ingredients will not be in final product to keep it low-FODMAP

Instructions

For the Meatballs:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Soak bread in the milk until soggy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Squeeze excess milk from the bread and combine with all other ingredients, making sure to break up the bread into small bits while mixing.
  4. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls (about 1 rounded tablespoon), pressing no more than necessary. Important – don’t make the balls too big!
  5. Place meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  6. Bake 11 minutes or until no longer pink on the inside.

 

For the Sauce:

  1. Heat a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add onions, stir.
  4. Add garlic and carrots, cook for 10 minutes, then remove onion and garlic pieces.
  5. Add chives and scallions.
  6. Add ground sirloin, cook until brown and crumbly, stirring frequently.
  7. Add water, basil, salt and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add in Italian herbs, rosemary, tomato sauce, tomato puree, and cheese rind. Bring to a low simmer and cook covered for 1-2 hours.

 

Notes:

This sauce is best when it’s been cooked over low heat for 2-3 hours, but is quite tasty and delicious after just 1 hour of simmering.

My family recipe uses ½ pound Italian sausage in addition to the sirloin in the sauce. Italian sausage often contains non-FODMAP friendly fillers, like wheat, garlic, onions, inulin, and/or sweeteners. I found a brand that I enjoy that is just meat, salt and pepper, and often add that in. Or, for people who are not on low-FODMAP protocols, like my husband, any store brand sausage makes a great addition when served on the side.

 

Suggested pairings:

Serve with gluten-free pasta or over polenta.

For the Meatballs: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Soak bread in the milk until soggy, about 5 minutes. Squeeze excess milk from the bread and combine with all other ingredients, making sure to break up the bread into small bits while mixing. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls (about 1 rounded tablespoon), pressing no more than necessary. Important – don’t make the balls too big! Place meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake 11 minutes or until no longer pink on the inside.   For the Sauce: Heat a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Add onions, stir. Add garlic and carrots, cook for 10 minutes, then remove onion and garlic pieces. Add chives and scallions. Add ground sirloin, cook until brown and crumbly, stirring frequently. Add water, basil, salt and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Add in Italian herbs, rosemary, tomato sauce, tomato puree, and cheese rind. Bring to a low simmer and cook covered for 1-2 hours.   Notes: This sauce is best when it’s been cooked over low heat for 2-3 hours, but is quite tasty and delicious after just 1 hour of simmering. My family recipe uses ½ pound Italian sausage in addition to the sirloin in the sauce. Italian sausage often contains non-FODMAP friendly fillers, like wheat, garlic, onions, inulin, and/or sweeteners. I found a brand that I enjoy that is just meat, salt and pepper, and often add that in. Or, for people who are not on low-FODMAP protocols, like my husband, any store brand sausage makes a great addition when served on the side.   Suggested pairings: Serve with gluten-free pasta or over polenta.

Nutrition Information

Per Meatball and approximately ¼ cup sauce:  Calories: 205; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 55mg; Sodium: 499mg; Potassium: 395mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 20g

Nutrition Bonus:   Vit A: 11%; Vit C: 10%; Iron: 14%;

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