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Keto-adapted Greek meatballs (keftedes)

I believe every nation has their own version of meatballs. Some make them grilled, baked, others cook them in a thick sauce or even in the soup. In Greece, we like the meatballs swimming in a thick, aromatic, red tomato sauce or in creamy yellow Avgolemono (eggs and lemon) sauce. Personally, I cannot decide which is better. Avgolemono sauce is already keto friendly because all you need is yolks and lemon juice. Therefore, I decided to present you the Keto adaptation of famous Keftedes in red sauce. A true treat that any Ketonian would enjoy and love!

Breaking the Greek meatballs tradition

The task to make these meatballs Keto-friendly will require some changes to the traditional Greek recipe. Not only because of the high amount of natural sugar in cooked tomatoes, but also due to the lack of bonding agent for the meatballs. Typically, a Greek grandma (trust me, they are the experts in this) would go for wheat flour or even crumbled old bread. Oh, no! There’s no way I am going in that direction! Greek grandmas all over the world (especially those in diaspora) might get angry with me, but I will change this tradition and make the Keftedes 100% Keto while preserving the awesomeness of taste and aroma!

Greek Keftedes in red sauce – keto version

Preparation time: 1 h

Makes 20 meatballs

Ingredients (Meatballs)

  • 400g minced veal
  • 400 g minced pork
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 tbsp psyllium powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp ground garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 tsp ground sweet paprika
  • 1 medium white* onion (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • A dash of black pepper
  • 4 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

*White Onion has less sugar content than red onion


  • Grated hard or semi-hard goat/sheep cheese


  1. In a deep mixing bowl, place both kinds of meat, add in the egg and mix with your hand
  2. Add all the spices and Psyllium powder. Keep mixing until you get a unified mixture
  3. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Allow the Psyllium to thicken the mixture
  4. Grease your hands with olive oil and start creating medium-sized meatballs
  5. Preheat the olive oil in a deep frying pan to a medium temperature and place the meatballs in (carefully, try not to destroy their shape)
  6. Gently move the pan front and back so that the keftedes roll in the oil as they get fried
  7. Fry them from all sides until they get golden brown
  8. Remove them from the pan and place them on a wide plate


  1. In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic and pour the mixture on the same oil where you baked your keftedes, Cook for 3 minutes and stir
  2. Now blend the tomato with red bell peppers (in a food processor or in a blender) and add into the pan
  3. add all the spices and cook for 5 minutes. You can add some extra water if the sauce gets too thick

Final touch

  1. Place the keftedes into the pan with the sauce and let them simmer
  2. Cook for another 5 minutes
  3. Remove the pan from heat and remove the Bay leaves
  4. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley leaves
  5. serve with a lot of graded hard or semihard aged cheese. (Preferably goat or sheep cheese)

A true Keto-Mediterranean meatball dish

This Mediterranean treat will easily seduce you with the aromas and textures. The difference with the traditional version, which you might have tried in a Greek taverna, is not only in the exclusion of flour and reduction of tomato amount. The original recipe also calls for a spoon of sugar to make the sauce less sour. However, with the utilisation of stevia, even this problem is fixed.

By keeping the Keftedes within the Keto macros, this dish can teleport you to the shores of Greek seaside. Maybe, to one of our famous islands? This teleportation can occur at any time of the year, regardless of where you are situated.  It’s magical, it works, and what is most important – its totally KETO!


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