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Meatballs bw

Cold winter days are perfect for crock pot cooking. The aroma that fills the house contributes to the feeling of coziness, especially if there is snow outside. Here in South Dakota, winter days call for hearty meat dishes, but the real challenge lies in making a healthy yet hearty meal that would be suitable for everyone in the family, even those of us who are gluten intolerant.

With recent snows and low temperatures, I was in the mood for concocting a healthy, meaty recipe that could be prepared in a crock pot. Our little family (with the exception of our English Setter) generally doesn’t eat much meat, so whenever we have meat on the menu, we try to make the dish as heart healthy as possible. Although we look to reduce – if not completely eliminate – unhealthy fats, we are not willing to compromise on taste. Naturally grown bison meat to the rescue!

We are so blessed to be living in Rapid City, where a wonderful small business, Wild Idea Buffalo, is headquartered. Their meat comes from naturally raised, naturally harvested bison (you can read all about that on their website linked above), and apart from being extremely tasty, it is also extremely low in fat yet abounding in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. That makes it a great candidate for my winter recipe experimentation.

This time around, I used their 100% bison meat Italian Sausage to concoct a gluten-free crock pot version of Italian Meatballs.

Meatballs blog


  • 1 lb Wild Idea Buffalo Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1  large egg
  • 1 Tbsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • organic chicken broth


Mix the first six ingredients in a medium bowl to combine, then shape into golf ball sized meatballs. Place in the crock pot in a single layer. Cover with tomatoes, and sprinkle with oregano and basil. Then, add enough chicken broth to barely cover. Cook in crock pot for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

We served ours over gluten-free quinoa pasta with a pinch of parmesan on top, but you can serve yours with traditional spaghetti, or over boiled rice, or even over mashed potatoes.

Buon appetito!