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Chia Meatballs with Easy Marinara & A Giveaway!

Chia = nature's perfect binder.

Angela's Featured on
by Angela Gallardo in Lunch & Dinner, Recipes

We had such a great response with the last giveaway here at Bare Root that I decided I definitely need to be bringing you guys more of them.  I’m so excited for today’s!  It’s such a fun product made by a really inspiring artist.  Alyson Thomas, of Drywell Art, is sponsoring today’s giveaway of 1 Every Part-Cow Butchery Diagram Poster.

The earth-loving farm girl and the modern nerdy food geek in me are throwing a party together, celebrating the opportunity to agree on just how awesome something is.  Alyson says it best in the description for this piece:

I *extensively* researched retail cuts of beef to fully flesh out what
primal cut part of the cow they come from. The result is a both a highly
accurate and informative diagram, as well as a bold and colorful piece
of art. I’ve even had culinary students buy this piece to study.

In addition to Alyson gifting one lucky reader the poster, she’s running a coupon code through October 6th (see end of this post for coupon code).  So if you’re like me and have a geeked out love of cooking or just love fun & funky art, you’ve gotta enter today’s giveaway!

Meet Alyson Thomas

Drywell Art is the arty creation of me,
Alyson Thomas. I was raised in suburban Texas and escaped to California
as soon as I could.  I am authorized to add “Esq.” to the end of my
name, but I choose not to, despite the fanciness it would certainly
lend. In 2009, I quit my job as an immigration attorney to pursue an art
career, despite my lack of formal art training. It was a kind of crazy
(awesome) decision.

Basically, I’ve just been drawing things
that make me laugh. I try to figure out the meat-analogous
sub-components of everything I see. Then I figure out how to turn that
into art.  My 2010 daily art project – MEAT SECTIONS – was a ham-fisted
(ahem…) attempt to humorously combine two of my passions – food and art.
Since then, I’ve continued to make simple, vivid, and occasionally
clever watercolor & ink illustrations of food, butchery, things that
are the worst, and a despondent and disaffected yellow block. I might
be a genius. Probably not.

Right now, I’m just kind of riding this meat train for awhile.

In honor of Alyson’s poster, I thought I’d share some info on my favorite source for most all the protein that’s consumed in this house.  On the recommendation of many fellow paleo eaters, I ordered from US Wellness Meats, an amazingly run family of farms in the midwest.  I initially headed there for their SUGAR-FREE BACON (yes, alllll bacon has sugar) that I consumed regularly during our Whole30.  But I’ve discovered I also absolutely love their Sugar-Free Breakfast Sausage, Skirt Steak (which I use here), and most of all:  their Ground Beef (75% or 85%).

Noted on the description for the 75% Ground Beef:

The omega 6:3 ratio rivals fish and chicken, and the CLA levels will be higher compared to the 85% lean burger.

All of our beef products are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.

So not only is their meat going to be WAY more healthful than all that grain-fed stuff, but it is actually more moist and flavorful than any old cut of meat from the store (non-organic, grain-fed, etc) that I’ve ever had.  And did I mention that they are seriously affordable?  Check them out, guys.  Upgrade your protein.  It’s one of the best food choices you can make these days.

The following recipe is a flavorful meatball made without egg or grain as a binder.  The chia bulks up with the moisture from the meat and helps the balls keep their shape.  A simple homemade marinara and spiralized fresh zucchini lets the meatballs shine as the star of this meal.

Chia Meatballs

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (recommended no leaner than 85%)

2 T. organic tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 t. herbs de Provence (or your fave dried Italian herbs)

1 t. sea salt

1 t. ground pepper

2 T. chia seeds

2 t. 100% Pure Avocado Oil, for sauteing


Combine all ingredients except the avocado oil in a large bowl and stir well with a fork.   Let rest for 5-10 minutes so the chia can do it’s thing.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the avocado oil.  Scoop 8 balls and pat into a round shape (I used a #20 disher).   Cook meatballs until brown, turning on at least 3 sides.  Move meatballs to a plate to rest (they will not be fully cooked but will finish cooking later in the sauce) and drain all but 1-2 T. of oil from the pan.

Easy Marinara

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

spring of fresh rosemary, chopped

2 T. white wine (or sub juice of 1 lemon)

1/2 c. beef or chicken stock (homemade, if possible)

1 can organic diced tomatoes

1 can organic tomato sauce

1/2 t. sea salt

1/2 t. ground pepper


Add diced onion to the large saute pan with the residual oil from cooking the meatballs.  Saute until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and rosemary and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add white wine and stock and scrape down any brown bits left at the bottom of the pan.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and stir well.  Cook over medium heat until sauce begins to reduce and thicken, about 15-20 minutes (it should be at a strong simmer).  Reduce the heat to medium low and gently add meatballs to the outer edge of the pan.  Cook 5-10 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through to desired done-ness (10 minutes will ensure no pink inside).

Serve over your favorite spiralized veggie (zucchini is pictured here because it’s still coming in my CSA box!).

chia meatballs

So the details of the giveaway are as follows:

Please enter through the Rafflecopter widget (easy to sign in via Facebook) and take advantage of all the ways to enter.  Many of the options allow entering daily to up your odds of winning!

This contest is open to US residents only (sorry to all international readers!) and you must be 18 years of age to enter.

Alyson’s coupon code is:  BUTCHERSPECIAL (use all caps) and is valid from today through October 6th at midnight.

  1. Ali Maffucci says:

    I love this giveaway! I also love that you’ve given zucchini noodles the spotlight here! What amazing photography, I’m so glad I found your site (via Foodgawker). I love spiralizing so much, I started a food blog dedicated to it. Can’t wait to try these meatballs!

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Thanks, Ali! So glad you found me! A whole site about spiralizing? That’s amazing. I’m OBSESSED with my spiralizer so I completely understand! 🙂 Good luck with the meatballs!

  2. Beth Rizer says:

    How would these meatballs do if I make them in bulk and froze them? Will it be ok with the chia seeds or will it not act right when defrosted? I’m totally excited to try these!!

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Haven’t tried freezing them, what a good idea! My best guess would be that since there isn’t a TON of chia, they wouldn’t behave too oddly when defrosted. That being said, you may be safer to get them cooking when they’re just partially defrosted. Hope it works out!

  3. GT says:

    What are the nutritional facts?

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Hey GT, I don’t post nutritional facts because the focus on my recipes is eating nutritious foods and not watching macros or counting calories. That being said, this calculator is a good tool for calculating it yourself:

  4. ChiQua25 says:

    I really enjoyed this meatball recipe. It was so easy and quick to make. Even my picky husband and son loved it and asked for more.

  5. Ilana Posner says:

    how long would you cook the meatballs if you did it in the crockpot? and is the T tablespoon and “t” teaspoon”

    thank you!

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