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Barb Hodgens
Barb Hodgens

Barb Hodgens loves to cook with alternative, healthy whole food ingredients, with a focus on gut health. Barb has overcome her own gut health issues through healthy eating. Share your ideas, comments and photos at the end of this post :)

Mexican meatballs

Mexican meatballs - the very definition of comfort food!

These Mexican meatballs are the very definition of comfort food; warming, cheesy and baked in a tasty homemade tomato, sweet pepper and jalapeno sauce that makes them moist and melt in your mouth delicious! 

Fresh Jalapeños, in the meatball and the sauce, make this dish sing with authentic Mexican flavour, so don’t be afraid to use the quantity we suggest. Jalapeños are really not spicy and have a mild taste that even kids will enjoy. Whatever ‘heat’ these little peppers have is in their seeds and the white membrane inside, so the super sensitive can simply cut this away. For more kick, however, add some hotter chilli variety.

Mexican jalapeños

Mexican meatballs are wonderful served over steamed rice (or cauliflower rice). You can lap up the sauce with some grain free tortilla options such as our black bean tacos, red lentil or buckwheat wraps. For next level yum, dollop the meatballs with homemade cultured sour cream or fresh quark.

Why not grind a double batch (or more)? Extra freshly ground Mexican meatball mixture in the freezer will make pre-planning future Mexican meals a walk in the park.

Tip: Roll the balls small and serve as appetisers – you can dip with a toothpick in the sauce or go simple and leave the sauce out entirely. They are very tasty plain.

Mexican meatballs


Meat balls

1 kg beef chuck steak – diced and then freshly ground
3/4 cup grated Mexican asadero / Spanish queso manchego (or aged cheese such as parmesan)
3/4 cup of ground almond (or breadcrumbs)
1 fresh jalapeño pepper finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 egg
½ teaspoon of dried oregano
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking the meatballs

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
2 medium sized sweet red capsicum/peppers/pimento
5 fresh jalapeño peppers, stems removed and finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups homemade broth (beef, chicken, vegetable) or water
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground pimento (allspice)
½ teaspoon of smoked papika
Pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon honey
1 – 2 cups of grated Mexican asadero / Spanish queso manchego / mozorella (or SCD legal aged cheese) for on top.
1-2 Fresh Jalapeños (stems and seeds removed and finely chopped) to garnish


Dice the meat into 5cm cubes and then place into the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
2.   While the meat is chilling, set the meat grinder up with the 8 mm cutting blade in the head.
3.   Prepare the meatball spice ingredients and set aside.
4.   Grind the beef into a large mixing bowl.
5.   Add all of the meatball ingredients to the freshly ground beef and thoroughly mix together with your hands.
6.   Roll the ground meat mixture into even sized balls approx. the size of golf balls.
7.   Arrange the meatballs on a plate and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until you have prepared the sauce ingredients. Note: the meatballs can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge overnight or frozen until required.
8.   Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet on the stovetop. I used a 28 cm pan.

Mexican meatballs

9.   Cook the meatballs in two batches. The cheese in the meatballs sticks to the pan and makes them difficult to turn. Brown two sides of the meatballs but don’t cook them all the way though.
10.Place the cooked meatballs onto a plate and set aside until the sauce is ready.
11.Use the same pan to cook the sauce. Do not wash it – the meat flavours will add to the sauce.

Mexican meatballs

12.  Pour in a little more olive oil into the pan if necessary.
13.  Add the chopped red onion, put the lid on the pan and leave to sweat on a low steady heat for approx. 3 minutes.
14.  Add the garlic, jalapeños, and red capsicum, stir to combine with the onions then return the lid and leave to cook for another 5 minutes.
15.  Add the onions, spices, salt, honey and water/or both then keep on a low simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes.
16.  Preheat the oven to 180 ˚C / 350 ˚ F
17.  Stir the sauce then place in the meatballs. Return the lid then simmer for a final 5 minutes.

Mexican meatballs

16.  Remove the pan from the stovetop.
17.  Turn the meat balls and coat with sauce.
18.  Sprinkle grated cheese over the dish and top each meatball with a scattering of finely chopped jalapeno.
19.  Bake for 10 or until the cheese has melted and browned in places.

20.  Serve hot over rice, with salad and tortilla style bread. Fantastic with our gluten free, black bean tortilla.

If you luv meatballs - try these: Vietnamese style meatballs, baked sticky teriyaki chicken meatballs, or gluten free Kibbeh.


Mexican meatballs