Game-day Sweet & Sour Meatballs


I suspect a lot of you are still completing January challenges where you’re off sugar and may ask if this can be done without the honey. I tried it without and it just wasn’t “sweet and sour” but more of a tangy marinara sauce. So you can leave it out but the flavors will be a bit different!

With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, I’m sure a lot of you are thinking about what appetizers to serve now that you’re grain-free! Along with the recipe below, I’ll probably make my Chili Lime Nuts, Korean Beef Wrapped Asparagus, and of course a few batches of my Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I was never a big football fan, but growing up in Colorado and having been born in the San Francisco area, we routinely got together with friends to watch the 49ers and the Broncos when they played. I was usually the one who preferred to be in the kitchen preparing snacks and refilling empty bowls, which still holds true today. My favorite football snacks were, get ready for it – Velveeta chili dip with tortilla chips and those mini meatballs or hot dogs in a sweet and sour tomato sauce. The cheese dip will be impossible to recreate Paleo style since it was practically all fake food, but the meatballs were easy!

They were always such a perfect game-day snack because you could make them in the morning and then keep them warm in the crock pot during the game. No need to have the oven or stove on, or worse – eat cold food that had been sitting out all afternoon! You can make these with any ground meat you choose – I did beef but chicken or pork would taste really good as well.

Ps despite the cute French plates, there’s no dairy or cheese in this recipe!

againstallgrain_meatballs3 AgainstallGrain_Meatballs
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Game-day Sweet & Sour Meatballs

AUTHOR: Danielle Walker - AgainstAllGrain.com

SERVES: 3 dozen

PREP TIME: 20 mins

COOK TIME: 45 mins TOTAL TIME: 65 mins


  • 2 pounds ground beef, chicken, or pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 small vidalia sweet onions, about 1 cup minced
  • ¼ cup almond meal (with the skins) or 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt


  • 3 cups tomato puree
  • ¾ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the sauce first by combining all of the ingredients in a wide pot. Bring to a low boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until thickened.
  3. Meanwhile, make the meatballs.
  4. Place the onion in a food processor and pulse until finely minced.
  5. Add the egg, almond meal, beef, oil, ginger, and sea salt. Pulse until fully combined.
  6. Roll the mixture into small bite-sized meatballs.
  7. Space them evenly on two rimmed baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes, turning once.
  8. Once the sauce has thickened, transfer it and the meatballs to a slow cooker set to low. Cover until ready to enjoy.
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  • http://runninhwithanne.com Anne McClain

    Looking toward to making these for the week!

  • Melissa

    I am sooo excited about this meatball recipe!!! I make meatballs for holiday buffets, this is GREAT!!!

  • Anh

    I would like to make the yummy meatballs. Where can I find unsweetened pineapple juice with healthy ingredients? Can I substitute for something else?

    • HOLLY

      TJ’s (trader joes) has unsweetend pineapple juice in cartons in the refrigerated section, with the OJ. It is not from concentrate, and just pineapple juice! Dole makes a pineapple juic, but it has been told to contain some cornstarch, although not listed, and is from concentrate and in a metal can.

  • casey

    I want to try this. We are just GF and DF and I am wondering what to use in place of coconut aminos. Are they similar to tamari or liquid aminos. Just don’t want to buy them if I have something at home to substitute. Also, could I just use GF bread crumbs in place of almond meal or coconut flour.

    • Against All Grain

      Tamari has a similar flavor to coconut aminos, but it contains soy. GF bread crumbs often contain corn and rice. I do not use those ingredients, but if you can tolerate them, you can substitute.

  • Maria

    Hi, was wondering if soy sauce can be substituted for coconut aminos? Would it be too salty if it was used in the same amount as listed? I don’t want to buy it for this one recipe. Thanks.

    • Diane

      Soy sauce isn’t allowed on Paleo but yes you can use it in place of coconut aminos. It doesn’t taste too salty. I personally would sample the sauce using 1/4 C soy sauce to see how I like it.