A couple of weeks ago, I started a low-carb diet in order to get my weight and health back on track. It was supposed to be a short-term stint. But I saw such amazing results in only a week so I decided to keep going! Unfortunately, with low-carb diets you are heavily restricted in the types of food you can eat AND the ingredients you can use in your recipes. I had to switch to low-carb options of all my favorite ingredients. After the initial transition, I realized you can pretty much turn any recipe into a low-carb one with a few twists. These Korean Meatballs are no exception! Read on to learn a few tricks I used to fit them into my low-carb routine.
Meat in general is usually a big part of low-carb diets because it’s full of healthy protein and fat with very little carbs. Limiting your carb intake requires you to increase the amount of fat you consume so that your body still has something to burn without you falling into a malnourished state. The main ingredient in these meatballs is perfect for meeting these terms because it consists of semi-lean ground beef (about 85/15 on the fat content).
In traditional meatballs you’ll usually mix in a hefty serving of breadcrumbs to help hold them together and add some extra flavor. Breadcrumbs are a major no-no when you’re trying to stay low-carb. Some breadcrumb brands can have almost 40 grams of carbs per cup! For this recipe, I decided to substitute breadcrumbs with almond flour instead. Almond flour is incredibly low in carbs and for this recipe it functioned the same way the breadcrumbs would have. Plus, the subtle hint of almond flavor was a great addition to the “sweet and spicy” essence I was going for.
Sugar can be tricky when you’re on a low-carb diet. Since the glaze for these meatballs needed to be “sweet” as well as “spicy”, I had to find a way to add sweetness without all the extra carbs that come with traditional sugar. Brown sugar is a staple ingredient in these kinds of recipes because it compliments the saltiness of the soy sauce quite well. To avoid the extra carbs, I made sure to use a brown sugar substitute with zero net carbs. More specifically I used Swerve Brown Sugar. Out of all the sugar substitutes I’ve tried, Swerve is BY FAR the best tasting and closest flavor to regular sugar. It also comes in granulated and powdered varieties as well.
With the finishing touches of the sweet and spicy glaze poured over the perfectly baked meatballs, this dish becomes an incredibly irresistible meal! You’d never guess it was low-carb if I didn’t tell you. Other than the fact they’re low-carb (and dare I say, healthy for you) these meatballs are so savory with the most amazing flavor. Serve them up with a Healthy Salad or some Bacon Brussels Sprouts and I promise you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything if you decide to go on a low-carb diet. Enjoy!
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My name is Renee McGinley and I'm a self-taught cook, constantly learning as I go. Please check out my About Me page for more on my recipe motto and cooking style.