Middle Eastern inspired meatballs with a creamy not-yogurt sauce (gf, df, paleo, AIP)

Okay, so this delicious bite was a happy accident on two fronts.

First, I tried to make coconut cream mayo (coconut cream, garlic, water, salt) which didn’t really pan out. I just didn’t like the flavor. It was way too coconuty. Don’t get me wrong – I love coconut, but just not in my mayo! So I stuck it in the fridge to use at some point in savory cooking.

Then last night, the peanut gallery requested spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I use gluten free brown rice pasta but since I’m on this super strict autoimmune paleo detox, I can’t have it, and I can’t have tomato sauce either. So I knew I wanted to do something with the meatballs for my dinner since I was already making it for theirs. I don’t usually make two different meals, but this particular detox I’m doing is pretty strict. I’m on day 7, btw. 🙂

So I took out the failed coconut mayo and decided to see if I could play around with the flavor profile. I added some tumeric, lots of cumin, some fresh lime juice, and a little more salt. What resulted was a tangy sauce/dip where about 95% of the coconut flavor was gone. It was creamy like a yogurt sauce and spiced with Middle Eastern & Mediterranean flavors so when I thought about pairing it with the meatballs, I thought of kefta, spiced meatballs that are made throughout both regions. I used pasture raised, grass-fed beef. To be more true to regional flavors, you might want to add lamb which would taste fantastic, I must admit. But I don’t eat lamb anymore (not for dietary reasons but just a personal choice).

So I’ve got the meatballs and the non-yogurt sauce ready to go, but no pita here. So I took zucchini, sliced white onion, generous sprigs of cilantro (could also use parsley or mint to be more true to regional flavorings). I layered all that on nice large romaine lettuce leaves, with a meatball and a generous spoon of the creamy non-yogurt sauce and wrapped the lettuce around it all for a super incredible, delicious handheld bite. I had three of these for dinner. And loved it so much had it again for lunch today.

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And P.S., the coconut sauce made for an excellent dip as well. Miss L figured that one out. She tried it and thought it tasted like ranch dressing so she dipped carrot and celery sticks in it for an afternoon snack today and was one happy camper!  

The sauce becomes thinner when it hits the hot meatballs (as you can see in the pics here) or once it hits room temperature, but when chilled, it’s actually a very thick consistency and perfect for dipping all sorts of multifarious crudités.

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