Salmon "Meatballs" Today? Don't Mind if I Do...

Paired with a bacon & arugula salad, this is one of my favorite lunches... Here's the easy, low-carb, gluten-free recipe + random pics of last week's trip to the zoo (don't worry, they're worth it)

Sooooo…these low-carb salmon meatballs were supposed to get posted yesterday for Meatball Monday, but I went to the zoo with friends instead.




We all had a blast, but it was HOT! The actual temperature wasn’t too bad for this time of year—88 degrees, but the “real feel” temperature was 108. It was gross.


The kids had a great time overall, but while I was super excited for Hungry Jr.’s first trip to the zoo, he was surprisingly not that impressed with the animals.


He fed the giraffes, which I thought was awesome, but when I asked him what he thought of it he said it was “Boring. And gross.” He was more interested in hanging out with his friends, and running around than actually looking at the animals. Though he did think the penguins were cool (no pun intended).


I’m pretty sure that I enjoyed the animals more than he did! I’m not usually a fan of zoos because of the captivity thing, but I have to say that the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia is pretty impressive. They also have some gorgeous botanical gardens. 


Here’s a couple of my favorite photos from the day—I have tons more but haven’t had time to edit them yet.



I don’t know why, but most of my favorites were of birds.



It was nice to get out of the house and photograph something besides food for a change, but now I’m ready to get back to work!


The first thing on my agenda is to finally get these meatballs posted! This low-carb salmon meatball recipe is based on my favorite salmon burger recipe from back in the day.


It’s got all of the bases covered. Smoky, delicious meatball? Check. Creamy, tangy sauce? Check. Punch of acid to wake up your palate? Check. It’s awesome.


I use a combination of fresh and smoked salmon in this recipe, which gives it a more complex flavor. The smoked salmon I use is the hot smoked, not the soft lox style. The lox style makes it taste too fishy in my opinion, and I don’t like the texture.  But if you can’t get the hot smoked, or just don’t want to go to the trouble, you can use just the fresh salmon with great results too.



These are fantastic as an appetizer, but are also satisfying as a main dish entree—especially paired with arugula and bacon as a salad. One of my favorite lunches!


If you don’t want to go the meatball route, you can also form these into patties.


Salmon Meatballs With Dill Caper Tartar Sauce & Pickled Red Onions

A low carb and gluten free salmon meatball recipe that is perfect as an appetizer or a main dish salad.

(Yields 16 salmon balls; Serving Size 4 Salmon Balls)



For the meatballs:

16 oz fresh, raw salmon

4 oz smoked salmon (not lox style)

1 egg

1/4 cup almond flour

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chives (or scallions), chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper


For the tartar sauce:

1 Tbl capers, drained & chopped

1/2 tsp caper brine from jar

2 Tbl dill pickles or cornichons, chopped

1 Tbl fresh dill, roughly chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream


For the onions:

1/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice



Make the onions first because they need time to soften and mellow. Then the tartar sauce so they flavors can meld. Do the meatballs last.


For the onions:

At least 30 minutes before serving, combine the onions and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


For the tartar sauce:

Combine all of the tartar sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve.


For the meatballs:

Remove the skin and any bones from the salmon. Dice the raw salmon with a sharp knife. Crumble the smoked salmon into small pieces using your fingers. Combine all of the salmon and the remainder of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl. Form into 16 meatballs. Fry in a nonstick pan with a small amount of oil until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Don’t overcook or they will dry out.


Serve garnished with arugula and lemon wedges. Also excellent with bacon or pancetta crumbled over the top.



Approximate nutrition information:
per “naked” meatball: 62 calories, 3g fat, .25g net carbs, 8g protein
per “naked” serving (4): 248 calories, 12g fat, 1g net carbs, 32g protein

per meatball with the works: 94 calories, 7g fat, .6g net carbs, 8g protein
per (4) meatballs with works: 378 calories, 27g fat, 2g net carbs, 8g protein