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Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs (Gluten-Free)

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs are the easiest meatball recipe ever…with a superfood twist: liver.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Lately I’ve received many requests for crockpot recipes, so I decided to keep it simple and create something with Italian flavors but with a special addition.

Is Liver Healthy For You?

I’ve had two pounds of grass-fed calf’s liver sitting in my freezer for months now, unsure of what to do with it. Liver is known as one of the most potent superfoods and is ridiculously high in micronutrients. I recently tried sheep’s liver fried in butter and onions and while it wasn’t utterly terrible I didn’t find it great either.

The idea of hiding the liver in something else (meatballs) came to me, and so I pulled the calf’s liver out of the deep freeze and grated it into the meatball mixture. You could very easily make these meatballs with any type of ground meat you’d like (bison, turkey, elk, pork, etc) and certainly leave out the liver if you prefer.

Can You Freeze Meatballs?

I made two pounds of meatballs and in the future might even do three pounds at a time since they will freeze well or make great leftovers throughout the week.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Beef, Crock Pot, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 779 kcal

This Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs recipe is simple and full of Italian flavor but with an extra special addition.



  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/3 cup calf’s liver frozen and grated, optional
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced small
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch green onions thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup olives any kind, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 24 oz pasta sauce
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes


  1. Prepare the vegetables: chop ½ of a red bell pepper into small dice and slice the other bell pepper thinly; slice the green onions thinly (white + green parts); chop the olives; mince the garlic.
  2. In a large bowl, add the ground beef, vegetables, egg and spices together.
  3. Grate frozen liver into the beef mixture. You can add as much as you’d like, but I went with a small amount (1/2 cup) to start. Omit liver if you’d prefer.
  4. Mix all the ingredients to combine. Shape into balls. I made them fairly large and got 20 total.
  5. Heat a skillet to medium and add 1 tablespoon avocado oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides and add to the crock pot. This took two batches.

  6. Sprinkle the sliced red bell pepper on top of the meatballs and pour pasta sauce and diced tomatoes on top.
  7. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  8. Serve with spaghetti squash, over sautéed kale, or just as is.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 779 Calories from Fat 504
% Daily Value*
Fat 56g86%
Saturated Fat 19g95%
Cholesterol 220mg73%
Sodium 2185mg91%
Potassium 1640mg47%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 8g32%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 46g92%
Vitamin A 5630IU113%
Vitamin C 80.7mg98%
Calcium 214mg21%
Iron 10.4mg58%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

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6 Responses

  1. Not sure what is wrong with your website, but the ingredients list is invisible except for the ones with links. Also part of the directions. I had to copy and paste to get the information.

    1. Hi Gail…It’s not my site. Unfortunately, it’s your browser. A few other people have written with the same problem, and when they updated their browser to the newest version, it fixed the problem.

  2. My second batch of these in as many weeks is simmering away in the crockpot. I didn’t measure out the chicken livers; I had about half a container left, so I pureed them with the onion, egg, garlic and olives (plus fresh parsley). I mixed this with the meat and seasonings in the Kitchen Aid – yes, after years of eating paleo, I finally have a use for my stand mixer! ;D

    These really benefit from a few hours in the fridge before browning. It makes the meat much easier to handle.

    Thank you for this recipe – it’s a keeper!

  3. What does the liver do for this recipe? I have a ton of liver, pork and beef, that I have frozen as a result of a meatshare that I bought into and had no idea what to do with it. Will try it out in this recipe.

Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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