Bloody Mary Meatballs

August 19, 2015

Bloody Mary Meatballs
I was situating myself with my Kindle in seat 32C (classic “easy out” aisle seat) on my recent trip to Berlin, when the flight assistant unveiled behind the curtains the path-to-the-bathroom-blocking drink cart.
As I was spying from behind my ebook, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of people ordered tomato juice/Bloody Mary (including myself).
The old lady seated in front of me, a mom and her teenage daughter, even the hipster dude with handlebar moustache sitting next to me.
I never drink tomato juice/Bloody Mary at home, restaurants or bars. But when the flight assistant asks “What would you like to drink?”, rest assured there’s tomato juice to be had.

Tabasco Sauce
Over the years I’ve noticed that whenever I fly, about a third of all people orders tomato juice/Bloody Mary.
Now if tomato juice was a popular drink on the ground I would say: No big deal. But I’ve never seen 33% of all people filling their shopping carts with bottles of V8, ordering tomato juice as their beverage of choice in restaurants, or asking the bartender for a Bloody Mary in a bar.
As a matter of fact tomato juice is much more popular in the air than it is on the ground.
Why is that? Why I (and many like me) only drink tomato juice on planes?
I decided to get to the bottom of that.
Bloody Mary Meatballs
I’ve discovered that there are several theories why tomato juice is such a hit on planes.
One attributes it to the high nutritional value and filling effect of tomato juice (which is the reason why I order it.)
Another one ascribes it to pressure. According to it, during takeoff about a third of our taste buds go numb and in addition to that, the unnatural humidity in the cabin neutralizes our scent. As a result food taste blander than usual.
Lightly flavored drinks feel almost unpalatable. But tomato juice - which is anything but subtle - shines in all its saltiness.
Another study claims that it’s the very loud engine noise that suppresses our ability to taste food. That’s why we seek for bolder flavors. Tomato rich umami taste lags much longer than other tastes - such as sweet and salt - and it’s relatively unaffected by the loud background noise that one is exposed to while in flight.
Bloody Mary Meatballs
Probably, it's a combination of all these things and maybe others.
Anyways, to celebrate tomato juice/Bloody Mary popularity on airplanes I’ve decided to create these badass Bloody Mary Meatballs.
Meatballs seasoned as a Bloody Mary, served in a tasty tomato sauce, minus the vodka.
Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, very tasty.
You don’t need to be on an airplane to be able to enjoy these bad boys.
They’re good on the ground, just as much as in the air. Trust.
Bloody Mary Meatballs
Bloody Mary Meatballs                                                                                  Print this recipe!

Ingredients
Makes 20 meatballs, serves 4

1 lb / 453 gr ground sirloin (preferably grass-fed organic)
½ cup almond meal (or gluten-free breadcrumbs such as Gillian’s)
1 egg
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon celery salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (5 oz / 425 gr) can tomato sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and place a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, using a fork, gently stir the meatball ingredients (try not to overwork the meatballs.)
If the mixture is too wet, add more almond meal (or breadcrumbs) one tablespoon at a time.
Scoop one scant tablespoon of mixture and with dampened hands form into 20 balls.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) over high heat and sear the meatballs on all sides to brown, about 1 minute on each side. Be careful when flipping as meatballs are pretty fragile.
Place meatballs on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Heat the tomato sauce in the skillet, add meatballs, and simmer in tomato sauce for 4 to 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 288 calories, 13 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbs, and 26 grams of protein.

35 comments:

  1. These look amazing - I love a good Bloody Mary! Could you please clarify the amount of almond meal? Thanks!

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  2. Welcome back! I hope you had a FAB trip!
    But, I'm glad you're back to recipes, because I'm lovin' on these meatballs. i can't lie, Bloody Mary's are not my thang, but in paleo meatballs style? YES PLEASE! Pinned!

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    1. You need to be on an airplane to enjoy Bloody Mary's, on the ground they're so and so...

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  3. This is one epic recipe, Mike! I'm loving the tomato juice explanations here, too. Laura has always ordered Bloody Mary mix on planes...and she's even got me doing it on occasion now. All of the taste-numbing explanations must explain why airplane food is so bad, too. It's probably the best meal we've ever eaten...if we were on the ground. But at 30,000 feet, it just loses all of that amazing flavor that the airplane chefs pack into each bite. Next time, I'm bringing these meatballs with me on the plane. Take that, airplane food! #WolfpackAirlines

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    1. I should sell this recipe to airplane caterers...

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  4. What I phenomenal recipe, I love Bloody Mary, so I'm pretty sure I'd love these bad boys!

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  5. Yup, that's true that tomato juice is the only one juice doesn't taste worse in the air. But I still prefer simple water. Such a shame I've never seen these meatballs served on a plane. I think we should change it, ASAP. Well done, Mike!

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  6. Duuude - fantastic recipe! Loving the horseradish in these balls!
    Hmmm - maybe it's the pressure and noise that make me pass out on a plane - my daughter tries to nudge me awake when drinks/food comes around, but I can barely keep my eyes open!

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    1. I hate you Shashi, I'm sorry but I do. I can't sleep on planes. Zero, nada, nilch. And you can't keep your eyes open? It's so not fair...

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  7. What a unique idea Mike! I've always wanted to try a Bloody Mary, since it's one of the healthier alcoholic drinks, but I never have. Maybe I'll just get my taste of it in this recipe. :-) Love the horseradish addition too!

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    1. You need to get a Bloody Mary asap Lauren, it's really really good!

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  8. Hysterical! I always order tomato juice on planes....and ONLY on planes. This looks great! -CR

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  9. Hehe I've never paid enough attention to notice this! Or maybe I don't fly enough. I always grab the window seat because I get motion sickness :(.
    Looks delish, Mike! Thanks!

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  10. I saw a report on television about this tomato juice thing in the plane. I found it quite interesting as well. The meatballs look great, by reading the title I thought there would be alcohol in the sauce. I am glad there isn't, because this is just the kind of meal my kids would looooove.!

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  11. Interesting theories about flying and tomato juice/Bloody Mary. Your recipe sounds delcious.

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  12. So weird you mention planes and Tomato Juice or Bloody Mary's being so popular because on my last flight I ordered a bloody Mary and so did the Lady next to me. I wasn't really paying any attention to the rest of the plane, but interesting observation. Next flight, I'm going to be spying on everyone's drink order! lol. Anyways, these meatballs are freggin' fantastic and all sorts of Oh-My-Gawd-Gimme! LOOOOVE this idea, Mike! These have my name written ALL over them! Pinned! Cheers!

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  13. See I always thought people ordered Bloody Marys on planes because they could say it was a healthy cocktail, without any guilt if drinking it in the morning! "See, it's OK, it's got tomato juice in it!" Haha.
    Interesting and informative Mike and I DO see them always on flights and really no where else.
    Now about these meatballs, awesome idea and the flavors ROCK.

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  14. This is absolutely great, I'd never in a million years thought to put Bloody Mary ingredients into a main dish but it has all the components for perfect meatballs!

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  15. Great post, Mike! I never understood the tomato juice / Bloody Mary thing in airplanes either... I think I had tomato juice twice in my life just to see what it was all about.

    on a side note - I've been living permanently in the US for more than 20 years but I STILL learn new words all the time. The other day someone called me a badass, and I almost got mad since I had no idea if it was good or bad.

    English is an amazing language - badass is a good thing. Go figure that one!

    :-)

    welcome back if you are back...

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    1. Sally you are a badass, you'd better get used to be one ;)

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  16. anything with hot sauce..and I'M IN! These look so delicious!

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  17. I have BAD memories of flying and bloody Marys- The lady next to me ordered one and the silly drink flicked into my face when we hit turbulence and spice + eyes = hell. She then blamed me for it! Anyway, this recipe I will suffer burnt eyes for- Anything spicy, tomato based and meatballs = I'm in.

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    1. What a b*#^h! You should have ordered a BM yourself and throw it at her!

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  18. I've honestly never ordered a bloody mary, but I'd happily eat your balls. #totallyplatonic #meatballs #getyourmindoutofthegutter Love that you researched why people drink tomato juice on planes haha... that's right up my Type A researcher mentality!

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    1. Hahahaha man, I missed your comments. I'm so glad you're back!

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  19. I always thought they ordered the bloody mary mix because they brought their own alcohol. You can carry a zip loc bag with 6 of the very small vodka bottles(1 oz.). TSA doesn't care since they are sealed and for me it works better than valium. None of the airlines has said anything, but I don't broadcast it either.

    Your recipe sounds fantastic, thank you!

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