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Spaghetti and Meatballs – Gluten-Free, Paleo, Primal, and Whole30

Spaghetti and Meatballs, Russ Crandall, Zoodles, Paleo, Whole30
Photo Credit: Russ Crandall | The Domestic Man

There are some dishes that remain a favorite from childhood to adulthood. Spaghetti and Meatballs is one of those dishes! It doesn’t matter how old you are, you may find yourself craving this yummy meal. As we get older, we may have changing dietary needs and classic spaghetti may not be the right choice for us. Don’t worry because Russ Crandall has created the perfect alternative, Spaghetti and Meatballs served over your choice of noodles (gluten-free, zucchini, or spaghetti squash). A special thank you to Russ, we can’t wait to try this for ourselves!

I realize that this recipe’s title starts with the word “spaghetti”, but make no mistake about it – the meatballs are the star of this week. Since first developing this meatball recipe for Paleo Takeout, we’ve made it often, at least monthly. There are a few little touches that make the meatballs just perfect: a mix of beef and pork so that the meat flavor is prominent but not overwhelming, egg yolks for creaminess, gelatin powder for a smooth and succulent texture, and bacon for little bursts of umami.

One of my favorite ways to describe these meatballs is to say that they’ll make your Italian grandmother swoon. Matter of fact, just as I’m writing this intro, I’ve decided to add them to our dinner menu this week.

Here is the writeup from Paleo Takeout:

It seems like every country has a meatball recipe, from the very popular Swedish meatballs to the relatively unknown Finnish meatballs (Lihapullat), often made with reindeer meat. Italian meatballs are larger than most other meatballs and are prized for their tenderness. Gelatin may seem like a strange addition, but it gives the meatballs a velvety texture, not unlike what you’d expect from eating veal.


Spaghetti and Meatballs, Russ Crandall, Zoodles, Paleo, Whole30
Photo Credit: Russ Crandall | The Domestic Man

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Gluten-Free, Paleo, Primal, and Whole30-Friendly

Recipe by: Russ Crandall, The Domestic Man

Serves: 4

USWM Shopping List: Ground Beef, Ground Pork, Sugar-Free Bacon


24-32oz jarred or homemade red sauce

1 (8 oz) package gluten-free spaghetti ~or~
4 zucchini or yellow squash (about 2 lbs total), spiral-sliced

4 large egg yolks, beaten
2 tbsp chicken stock
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork


  1. Warm the sauce over medium-low heat. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
  2. Cook the spaghetti. For rice-based spaghetti, cook as directed on the box, then rinse in cold water until cool to the touch and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking. For spiral-sliced zucchini or yellow squash, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  3. Position an oven rack near the top of your oven and preheat the oven on broil. Combine the egg yolks, broth, and gelatin; set aside. Place the onion, garlic, parsley, tapioca starch, salt, pepper, and oregano in a food processor and pulse until uniform. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the bacon and pulse until well mixed. Transfer to a mixing bowl, then add the egg yolk mixture, beef, and pork. With your hands, gently mix until uniform, then form into 12 tennis ball–sized meatballs and transfer to a heavy-duty baking sheet.
  4. Broil the meatballs until the tops are browned, about 6 minutes, then remove from the oven and gently add to the sauce. Cover and gently simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes – they should register 160F internally.
  5. Distribute the spaghetti among 4 wide bowls, then spoon the sauce and meatballs over the spaghetti. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese, and serve.




Russ Crandall

Meet The Chef

A big US Wellness thank you goes out to Russ Crandall, The Domestic Man. At his blog, you’ll find gluten-free and Paleo-friendly recipes. His recipes focus on classic, traditional, and international dishes from a historical, linguistic, and cultural perspective.

Check out his cookbooks! Russ released his debut cookbook, The Ancestral Table: Paleo Recipes for a Traditional Lifestyle, in February 2014, and his second cookbook, The New York Times-bestselling Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites without the Junk, in June 2015. His most recent cookbook was released May 1, 2019, The Heritage Cookbook.