Wednesday, May 27, 2015

{TPM Kitchen} CLEANer EATING: Chia Meatball Recipe {Gluten-Free + Egg-Free + Dairy-Free}

Since the start of 2014, I've started becoming interested in substituting ingredients for healthier alternatives when I am cooking.  It just started with using less sugar and/or dairy, until I made the full transition to stop using white and brown sugar altogether, and only exclusively use organic coconut sap sugar.  I've also started using less eggs, and started using chia seeds and ground flax seeds as my egg substitutes. I find it very rewarding to be able to cook a meal or bake a treat that is more nutritious and healthier for my family.  

My kids all suffer from varying degrees of eczema, which are all brought about my certain food intolerance; specifically wheat, eggs, dairy. On our best days, we just deal with the minor discomfort of itchiness; worst days, we change bed sheets often because one kid cannot control her scratching, which leads to open scabs and blood marks on the sheets.

What I am aiming for is a healthy balance of all the food groups, and minimize (not cut out) the consumption of sugar, dairy and egg...all the usual suspects in eczema flare-ups.  I noticed that the flare-ups usually follow after we binge on pasta/bread.  If they consume too much wheat from bread and pasta in consecutive days, then they start to get a little bit of itch on their arms, so I've always been the "evil mom" who puts their consumption of wheat at a minimum.

I share my recipe for my version of Chia Meatballs that is Gluten-Free + Egg-Free + Dairy-Free

I mentioned in a previous post that I have added a new section to the blog called, CLEANer EATING

Healthy Ideas & Yummy Recipes tested in the TPM Kitchen
What To Eat When You Want To Eat Clean

BUT let me just be clear that we are not going vegan/vegetarian... we love meat too much! Neither are we hopping on the paleo bandwagon... we also love our carbs as much!  The purpose here is just to manage our food intolerance.

One of the "healthier alternative ingredients" that has been making the rounds in my kitchen is Chia Seeds. I use to just sprinkle them on our yogurts as a topping, or make into a pudding to go with my minatamis na saba.

But while I was doing research on how to go egg-less in cooking and baking, I was delighted to learn that Chia work really well in place of eggs. When soaked in water, it produces a gel like mixture that makes for a great binding agent.  I've used chia to replace eggs on many instances since then.

There are many health benefits to adding chia seeds to your diet, which you can read in this article by the Huffington Post.

Chia Meatballs Recipe
Gluten-Free + Egg-Free + Dairy-Free

I am now sharing my recipe for Chia Meatballs. This is one of the very first recipes I've played around with... taking out the eggs, adding chia gel; taking out the breadcrumbs, and adding flaxseeds and rolled oats.  Even with all the healthy modifications, it is still very flavorful.

I make a big batch, and store them in containers good for one serving. Depends on how I am going to use them, I adjust the sizes of the meatballs. Sometimes, I make them bigger than what is shown. And when I know that I am going to use them for Shepherd's Pie, I do not bother to shape them into balls anymore.
 When I am pressed for time, I do not even shape them into balls, I just put them into containers to freeze. Take them out at a later time and shape them just before cooking.

I always double the recipe because I use this as my basic meat filling. I make them into fist-sized balls and turn them into burger patties for the kids' merienda. I can also just add some curry sauce over the patties and have Hamburger Curry Rice.

I serve with spaghetti sauce on top of pasta (or quinoa pasta if they are in the middle of an eczema attack) and call it Spaghetti Bolognese.  Sometimes, I add mozzarella cheese in the middle of the balls and make some marinara sauce to make Italian meatballs.

The kids also love it when I simmer the meatballs with some chicken broth and add some veggies. The mixture of chicken broth and beef from the meatballs, makes for a really tasty soup. Add some cheese before I serve, winner talaga with the kids!

I pour mushroom sauce over it and top with truffle oil and some more mushroom for variety.

I forego rolling them into balls and use them for the meat base of my Shepherd's Pie. So many things I do with this recipe! We also eat them as is! Yummy when dipped in raspberry or mango-pineapple jam.

I take them out whenever the kids say, "We're hungry!" It has saved me countless of times when I run out of ideas to serve them for lunch baon, or when I get home late and there's not much time to prepare for dinner.

CHIA MEATBALL RECIPE (No Eggs, No Bread Crumbs)

Meatball mixture:
500 gms ground beef ( I use sirloin)
500 gms lean ground pork (I use lomo or kasim)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sage
3 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chia seeds mixed in 2/3 cup of water
1/2 cup oatmeal (make sure it's labeled gluten free if you are trying to avoid gluten in your diet)
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp soy sauce / Bragg's Liquid Aminos

* If you have a hard time looking for chia seeds, flax seeds, Bragg's Liquid Aminos in your grocery, you can get them at Healthy Options like I do.


1. In a cup, whisk together the chia seeds and warm water and let stand for about 20 minutes. Make sure to mix once or twice as the chia seeds tend to clump together as they start to form into a gel.

2. Mix together all the dry ingredients for the meatball. Add in the meat and the liquid seasoning. Make sure to mix well to evenly distribute the seasonings.

3. Divide into half and place in freezer safe plastic containers. alternatively, you can also roll them into balls.

4. Keep in freezer until ready to use.

Try it and lemme know how yours turn out!