Recipe: Lamb Meatballs in Pumpkin Marinara

I had leftover pumpkin from my blondie recipe so I had to find a creative use for it. A coworker previously mentioned adding pumpkin to spaghetti sauce for extra fiber, and it sounded like a great idea. The natural sweetness of the pumpkin will take the edge off the acidity, while adding a little volume to the sauce.

This recipe provided an opportunity for me to clear out some fridge space as well. We had ample leftovers of bbq sauce and spaghetti sauce that needed to be used. About the only thing that I needed to purchase was the ground protein and the cheese; I stocked everything else in my pantry.

You’ll also notice that these meatballs are grain-free…no breadcrumbs. In the cooking instructions, I explain how to keep the meatballs together while it slow cooks. It does take an extra cooking step, but the results are worth it!

  • 8 oz(s), Canned Pumpkin
  • 4 fluid ounce, Bbq Sauce
  • 8 fluid ounce, chunky garden (tomato, onion & garlic) spaghetti sauce
  • 1.50 oz(s), Garlic, raw
  • 13.50 ounce, Onion
  • 2 ounce, Kraft Parmesan Finely Shredded
  • 56 g, 2% Mozzarella shredded
  • 0.50 tsp(s), Spices, ground cumin
  • 2 tsp(s), Spices, chili powder
  • 1 tsp, ground, Spices, pepper, black
  • 1 tsp(s), Spices, parsley, dried
  • 1 tsp, leaves, Spices, basil, dried
  • 1.75 cup (121 g), Diced Basil, Garlic, & Oregano Canned Tomatoes
  • 1 egg, jumbo egg
  • 2 Tbsp (14g), Coconut Oil (Virgin, Unrefined, Cold Pressed)
  • 0.25 tsp, Sea Salt
  • 16 oz, Ground Chuck Beef 90/10
  • 16 oz, Ground Lamb

Add half of the dried spices, pumpkin puree, bbq sauce and spaghetti sauce to a slow cooker turned to high. While these ingredients start simmering, warm coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat.

Chop the onions and garlic, add to saute pan. Cook until translucent and aromatic about 3-5 minutes. Take off heat and add 3/4 of the garlic/onion mix to the slow cooker, reserving the rest for meatballs.

Meanwhile, mix beef, lamb, egg, cheese, and half of the dry spices in a bowl and knead until thoroughly incorporated. Add the garlic/onion mix and continue to knead. Divide into 12 portions and hand-form the meatballs.

Add meatballs to heated saute pan or cast iron skillet and sear on all sides. The idea is to sear the outside but not cook the meatballs through. Transfer meatballs to slow cooker, taking care to drain fat.

Cook low and slow over low heat for 1-2 hours in the slow cooker.

Yields 12 meatballs + sauce. My preferred serving size is 2 meatballs, garnished with chopped green onions.


Nutrition calculator:
Calories 291 (per meatball/sauce)
Total Fat 17 g
Total Carbohydrate 16 g 5 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 9 g
Protein 19 g

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