Italian Meatballs Buddha Bowl – Whole 30, AIP
Please see red notes in the recipe to make this meal AIP compliant.
Being a huge fan of NOT washing up a zillion dirtied dishes after preparing a meal, this clean eating Italian Meatballs Buddha Bowl is right up my alley. It’s a zesty one-pan-wonder, and a quick one at that. This meal is ready for hungry tummies in just under an hour.
The bold sausage flavor of the meatballs combined with the velvety, hearty potatoes, the al dente bites of the veggies all drizzled over with creamy and tangy pesto dressing makes for one stellar Whole 30 compliant and Paleo bowl of awesome.
I used a full size food service baking pan for this recipe, but you could also use a large jelly roll pan (or two mediums if that’s all ya got). Ideally, you want a lot of extra space so that you can keep adding ingredients to the pan and avoid any juices flowing over or crowding the food too much.
The secret to making this meal work quickly is the scootin’ action and the prepping while-cooking-action! First, heat the oven. Then make the dressing. Next roast the potatoes and onions. While those are cooking, mix up your meatballs. Scoot the taters over, then scoop the meatballs directly into the same baking pan. While those par-cook, prep the remaining veggies. More scooting action, then more roasting action. ALL IN THE SAME PAN. The trick to getting the differing ingredients cooked perfectly is added them at different times throughout the roasting process.
If you like fast meals and not lots of dirty dishes, and love curry and seafood, check out this totes AIP and Whole 30 Curried Shrimp, Sweet Potato & Kale Buddha Bowl!
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 Tb basil, dried
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (For AIP: omit)
- 3 Tb lemon juice
- 3 Tb ACV
- 1/4 cup cashew milk (For AIP: use coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1.25 lb ground beef
- 1/2 to 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 egg (For AIP: substitute 1 Tb olive oil)
- 2 Tb cassava flour
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp sage, dried
- 1 Tb basil, dried
- 1 tsp anise seeds (For AIP: omit)
- 2 tsp caraway seeds (For AIP: omit)
- 2 tsp fennel seeds (For AIP: omit)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (For AIP: omit)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (For AIP: omit)
- 2 Tb ghee (For AIP: use AIP-friendly cooking fat of choice)
- 1.5 lb fingerling potatoes, quartered (For AIP: use white sweet potatoes, peeled and 2" cubed)
- 1 medium sweet onion, 2" chopped
- 1 Tb high-heat stable olive oil
- 1.5 lb zucchini or summer squash, 2" chopped
- 1/2 lb grape tomatoes, halved (For AIP: omit)
- Himalayan salt to taste
- black pepper to taste (For AIP: omit)
- 1.5 Tb Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Heat oven to 425 F
- Add all ingredients except olive oil to a food processor or blender and process until well-blended.
- While the machine is still running, drizzle the oil in at a slow and steady stream until dressing is emulsifed.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
- Store in an airtight container (like a salad dressing storage bottle) for up to a week in the fridge.
- Don’t worry about washing out the food processor bowl if you are going to use it to make the meatballs…more flavor…less dishes!
- Spread ghee or AIP fat on the bottom a large food service pan or a large food service pan.
- Chop up potatoes and onions, add to pan, and toss to coat in fat.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- While baking, add all meatball ingredients to a food processor or large mixing bowl.
- Pulse or gently mix until just barely combined. Its ok if there are some inconsistently mixed spots here and there; it will just make for a fun, sausage-like texture.
- When potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, remove pan from oven.
- Season with salt and pepper (omit AIP), then scoot them all the way over to one side of the pan with a spatula.
- Use a 2 Tb cookie scoop to make rustic meatballs. Add the meatballs directly to the empty side of the pan as you scoop them.
- Place the pan back in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Chop up the remaining veggies while the meatballs cook.
- Remove pan from oven when the time is up, and scoot the meatballs over right next to the potatoes.
- Add the remaining vegetables to the empty part of the pan.
- Drizzle them with olive oil, and season them with salt and pepper (omit AIP) then toss with your spatula.
- Sprinkle Italian seasoning and garlic powder over the entire dish, then pop back in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until remaining veggies are cooked through to your liking.
- Serve in a rustic manner in a large bowl, drizzled over at the last minute with the dressing.
- If you have favorite spice blends that you love, go ahead and use those to save on prep time.
- Substitute veggies, proteins and starches with what works for you, or with what you already have in the kitchen. Get creative with your Buddha bowl!