Meatballs in roasted root sauce

In an effort to make a sauce that is nightshade free (and AIP friendly), I came up with this roasted root vegetable sauce. Just make sure to omit the black pepper if you are on a strict AIP diet. It looks like tomato sauce, but it definitely has a different taste. It's still delicious, but don't go in to this thinking it'll taste like meatballs in marinara sauce or you might be disappointed.

The roasted veggies give it a great flavor and the beets give it such an amazing, vibrant color. There's something about eating bright food that makes me happy! It's kind of like those purple carrots I used in a recipe a while back. I mean, presentation is everything, right? And I think this photo says it all. But trust me, the dish tastes just as good as it looks!

If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you could definitely sub the meatballs for your favorite vegan/veggie meatball option. The sauce is versatile and can be added to zucchini noodles or any other dish you would normally use tomato sauce for. If you do use the sauce in your own dish, I'd love to hear what you made! Send me a note through the "contact me page" letting me know what you created!

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1.5 lbs ground beef (turkey or chicken would work well too)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp dried minced onion

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tablespoon ground flaxmeal

2 eggs

Sauce:

4 large red beets

12 oz carrots

4 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

2 cups chicken (or vegetable for vegetarian option) broth

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil

3. Peel and cut beets in about 1'' pieces and place on baking ship

4. Peel and roughly chop carrots, also about 1'' pieces and add to baking sheet

5. Place garlic cloves on baking sheet as well (still in casing)

6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, mixing halfway through (if you have a convection oven, you could wait to roast these until the meatballs are made, just add on 10 minutes to baking time for meatballs)

7. While veggies are roasting, make the meatballs

8. Place ground beef in large bowl and add the remaining meatball ingredients : 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp dried minced onion, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tablespoon ground flax meal and 2 eggs and mix until just combined; don't over mix.

9. Form into 2'' balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet

10. Remove veggie pan from oven and let cool enough until safe to touch

11. Increase oven to 415°F and bake meatballs for 10-15 minutes (or until center is no longer pink) while veggies are cooling

12. While meatballs are cooking, squeeze garlic from casings and transfer to blender or food processor along with beets, carrots, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning and 2 cups broth

13. Blend/pulse on high until desired consistency (I like to leave a little bit of texture)

14. Transfer meatballs to a large saucepan and add root sauce

15. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes to make sure everything is heated through

Serve and enjoy!

Optional: Top with some fresh parsley

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