Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs are the easiest meatball recipe ever…with a superfood twist: liver.
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
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
- 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.
- In a large bowl, add the ground beef, vegetables, egg and spices together.
- 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.
- Mix all the ingredients to combine. Shape into balls. I made them fairly large and got 20 total.
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.
- Sprinkle the sliced red bell pepper on top of the meatballs and pour pasta sauce and diced tomatoes on top.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- Serve with spaghetti squash, over sautéed kale, or just as is.