Easy no-breadcrumb meatballs

My family loves meatballs! But my stomach hates the hidden breadcrumbs. This recipe is a super simple, versatile version of the Italian favorite—and its gluten-free.

Ingredients (makes 15 two-inch meatballs):

  • One pound grassfed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs (I use parsley, but basil or oregano or a combo would work well)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl (I find it’s best to mix with my hands). Roll the meat mixture out into 15 balls. Bake for 25 minutes, let cool five minutes before serving. These go well with any gluten free pasta and Marcella Hazan’s simple marinara.

Top ten gifts for the cook in your life

We all know that one person who lives in the kitchen and loves creating food. In my house, that person is me! These gift ideas are all under $50, and are all products I own and use (or something very similar) or have personally added to my own Christmas list! Some of these are even stocking-sized.

1. This gift is for the practical cook who follows recipes on a phone or tablet. This tablet holder keeps devices out of foods way. I use a similar one and it keeps my spills and splatters off of my phone.

2. Every cook needs better control on oil use! This Oil spritzer not only functions well but is a pretty addition to the countertop. I have a very similar one and it’s a game changer. Pro tip: if you use cast iron, one spritz from this is exactly enough to season a skillet.

3. Meat thermometer — We use these when grilling and also to check a roast chicken without having to slice it open (ruining the crispy skin!). This is a must have.

4. For the avid pie baker, a French rolling pin is a must. Regular pins bend at the handles when rolling a particularly cold crust, plus, this one is so stylish and stows away easier.

5. It just isn’t soup season without an elegant Enameled Dutch oven. This white one looks crisp and fresh while it evenly cooks your soups, stews, and pot roasts. This one is an oven-to-table classic you’ll keep forever.

6. Every home cook must have a copy of Marcella Hazan’s “The Essentials of Italian Cooking”. This book teaches all the essentials, from pasta to sauce to gelato. This is one of my recipes inspired by this book.

7. This Le Creuset Pepper Mill is beautiful enough to display and functional enough to use for everything. You’ll forego grocery store grinders in favor of bulk peppercorns forever. And if you have any other pieces by Le Creuset, there’s a color to match.

8. A Pastry cutter and biscuit cutter set is a small luxury but a worthwhile one nonetheless. My mother sent me this one when she saw a video of me cutting biscuits with my vintage glassware. It quickly became a staple for crusts, biscuits and cookies. You can even use it to poach or fry a perfect egg.

9. A good chef knife is really the main thing you need in the kitchen. This one (I have a similar one that is out of stock) is surprisingly sharp and heavy for the low price. If you’re not ready to invest in a set of pricier cutlery, this one is a great choice.

10. An immersion blender always seemed like an unnecessary gadget to me, until I finally got one. This is an indispensable tool in our kitchen as it prevents me from having to put hot soup in a stand blender. I also use it for salad dressings, the whisk attachment for cakes and puddings —you name it, this high performer can do it.

Have any suggestions that need to be added to the list! Let me know by emailing me at sarah@modernhippiekitchen.com. These are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you purchase while browsing. I only post items I have personal knowledge of and think will help my readers in their cooking journeys!

Tuscan peasant soup made gluten-free

My sister in law got me a copy of Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” for my birthday, and I’ve spent the last week reading it cover to cover. It’s an amazing cookbook, especially if you are a cookbook fangirl like I am. One recipe stuck out to me last week — the Tuscan Peasant Soup With Cabbage and Beans, or, Aquacotta. It’s the perfect anti-thanksgiving meal for when you’re tired of those leftovers and the perfect cold-weather stew. It also happens that I had mountains of the main ingredient—Savoy cabbage— in the garden just ready to harvest, along with a few other items that were ready to be picked and used. I altered this recipe pretty heavily as I didn’t have some of the ingredients available, I didn’t have three hours to simmer, and I wanted to make it gluten free (Marcella’s version is poured over a layer of bread). I also wanted to add some meat to make it a little more hearty. It turned out to be one of our favorite meals and a rare highlight of 2020. Even my husband said it’s “a real winner,” which is high praise from him!

Here is my version of this classic dish:

Ingredients (roughly six servings):

  • One onion, chopped roughly
  • 1/4 c. Avocado oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Several cups finely chopped kale
  • Four to five cups finely chopped cabbage (the more the better)
  • One large can of Italian whole, peeled tomatoes, diced and with the juice
  • About a cup of chicken bone broth (enough to cover the veggies)
  • One lb Italian-style turkey sausage
  • About a half cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • One can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Eggs, as many as the people you are serving. The original recipe called for six, I used two because I was only serving two people and keeping the rest for leftovers.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • About a half cup of chopped fresh basil
  • Other herbs, to taste (I chopped some fresh parsley and oregano for garnish)
  • Other veggies, to taste (I added a handful of snap peas that were ready to be harvested from the garden)

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté the onion in the oil until it starts to wilt. Add the turkey sausage and break it up into tiny pieces. Add some salt, then the kale and cabbage. Stir until wilted, then add the tomatoes and the basil. Simmer for an hour on low, covered.

At the end of the simmering hour, in another saucepan, bring the lemon juice along with an inch to two inches of water to a boil. Add the eggs (poach them) when it comes to a boil. Let them poach for about 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the beans to the veggie mixture. Stir and correct for salt. Add some cracked pepper, to taste. Sprinkle about half the cheese on top of this, and leave simmering on low.

When the eggs are poached and still runny, scoop them from the sauce pan in a slotted spoon and place them on top of the vegetable and sausage dish. Add the rest of the cheese, and let them simmer another minute or so. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs (parsley and oregano worked well).

Serve each person a helping with an egg on top, preferably with a good glass of red wine.