paleo turkey meatballs

When we returned from Germany, David was hungry for some good home-cooking.  He was especially hungry for some turkey meatballs.  The problem was, the turkey meatballs as I used to make them were no longer eligible for our diet outside of cheat day -- the recipe calls for cheese and bread crumbs, neither one of which we are eating any more on our new paleo diet approach.  David's yearning for the turkey meatballs were so deep, however, that I was moved to consider if I might re-invent the recipe and make it paleo-friendly.

The problems posed by subtracting cheese and breadcrumbs from the meatball recipe were: (1) creaminess (cheese) and (2) binding (breadcrumbs).  It then occurred to me that I might use ground cashew nuts to function as both the binder and creaminess factor.

Using my old, non-paleo/non-4HB turkey meatball recipe, I replaced both the cheese and bread crumbs element with one cup of ground cashew nuts.  The meatball came out FANTASTIC, and David swears that he loves these ones more than the old version.

Below is the revised, paleo version of my previous turkey meatball recipe!

A cup of ground organic cashews.

The meatballs came together perfectly without any breadcrumbs or cheese!  (The white stuff underneath the meatballs  is fat that has rendered out.)

The cashews add a nice flavor and texture!  You really don't miss the cheese (shocking!).

(Makes about 14 large meatballs -- slightly smaller than a tennis ball)
- 2 lb. ground turkey (1 lb dark meat, 1 lb white) 
- 1 cup ground cashews 
- 5 eggs
- 2 yellow onions, grated
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- finely chopped flat parsley leaves (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Drizzle olive oil on a baking tray.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Season with pepper and only a little bit of salt.  Roll meatballs to your desired size (they are a little sticky, but should form a ball quite easily).  Bake in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes.  Serve in tomato sauce.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this on Chowstalker! Now I know what I am making this weekend. :-)

  2. Fantastic! Hope you enjoy! :)

  3. They look so tender on the inside! I just made meatballs with ground flaxseeds to bind them, and they turned out a bit dry. Gotta give these a try :)

  4. These meatballs look delicious; however, I was under the impression that cashews were a no-no on Paleo. Is this not the case?

    1. You're right. Cashews are a legume so they are on the no-no list!

  5. This was early on in our foray into being paleo - we used to have cashews in moderation. I now have a new website and will be posting a new meatball recipe this weekend! www.eatlivepaleo.com

  6. Very interesting subject, thank you for putting up'''

    paleo guide

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Cashews - like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios (and others) - are drupes, not true nuts. It is not a legume, but cashews have to be processed beyond simple removal of the fleshy husk. The shells contain several toxic oils, which are removed by washing and roasting.

    For more Paleo Diet hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/147893/cashews-a-legume-paleo-friendly.html#ixzz2n0zfgVrq
    Follow us: @PaleoHacks on Twitter | PaleoHacks on Facebook

  9. Looks like these bad boys come in at approximately 180 cal / 10 fat / 6 carb / 14 protein

  10. Can I do this without mushroims. My husband is alkergic

  11. Can I do this without mushroims. My husband is alkergic