Southwest Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Holy poodles! I go to Vegas soon!! In all the hustle and bustle of moving, I’ve completely forgotten to plan my outfits, get a spray tan, and get my nails done. I mean, there’s not much else to plan when heading to Vegas, right? Right. I’ll plan my outfits tomorrow then get my nails done. I hate doing my nails, but I’m totally going glitter style. As for the spray tan, I don’t care enough to get one. Please don’t lecture me about how tanning is bad, and self tanner has just as many harmful chemicals in it. I honestly don’t feel like listening. Or care. If a little self tanner makes me feel better about myself, I’m going to do it. Except for this time. Because I’m lazy. And it’s only about 50s and 60s in Vegas right now, so I won’t be skinny dipping anywhere. Or will I? Kidding. Skinny dipping is weird.

But I’m pumped to get away from the freezing cold in Colorado. I can’t really complain because it’s still wonderful and sunny out here, and it’s Colorado, but I’d like to wear more than just my Sorel’s I found on The Clymb for half price. Half priced shoes are always way more fun to wear. But I’ve organized my closet and can see all of my shoes now, so I want to wear them even more.

So I’m starting to try to do some DIY things. Crafting, if you will. Thank gosh for pinterest or I would have absolutely no clue how to do anything. I mean, I’ve only done one thing so far, but I’m in it. I made a centerpiece for my dining table out of little crate (I have no clue what it’s called), 3 square glasses, and some white and orange flowers. Fake, of course. Real ones die, then it defeats the purpose.

I feel like crafting should save you money, but it hasn’t so far for me. I think I need to learn where to shop. Michael’s didn’t really save me money. And with furnishing a new place, money goes away quickly. I still have to buy a new floor lamp and mirror and wall art. I’m not sure how to DIY wall art, but I’m going to have to figure it out at this rate. Can you teach me things?


Southwest Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce

  • Yield: 3-4 1x



For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey (or chicken, beef, etc.)
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce

  • 1 avocado
  • handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 jalapeño, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup 30 second mayo or Primal Kitchen mayo


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish with some oil (olive, coconut, etc.)
  2. Place all ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl and use your hands to mix the mixture together.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out each meatballs and form into balls. This should make about 18 small meatballs.
  4. Place each meatball into the greased baking dish, side by side. It’s ok if they are touching.
  5. Put in oven to bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. While the meatballs cook, create the dipping sauce by placing everything for the sauce, except for the mayo, into a food processor. Puree until smooth. Once smooth, add the mayo and puree once more until well combined.
  7. Dip meatballs into the sauce. Yay meatballs!

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PaleOMG Southwest Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


49 thoughts on “Southwest Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce”

  1. I too am on a crafting venture – here’s a secrete about Michael’s if you don’t already know. On the website they always have weekly deals and often it’s like 40% off of all regular priced items. It’s the way to go if you’re shopping at Micheal’s.

    1. I used to work at Michaels, and they take Joanne’s coupons. Which means, forget the 40% ones, use Joanne’s 50% ones! That, and you can combine coupons, as long as you have at least the same number of items as you do coupons.

      Love the blog!!! You’re awesome!

  2. I have a thing against paleo meatballs, because well, if you’re Italian and you grew up with real meatballs, paleo meatballs taste like poo. But these look like little fun parties for my mouth! Can’t wait to try them!

  3. Michael’s can be expensive! I try to get stuff for DIY at thrift stores or flea markets. It’s much cheaper and has a vintage, homey feel since it’s already been used 🙂 Sometimes you can find hidden gems!

  4. We furnished our daughter’s place from consignment stores, yard sales, and Goodwill for less than a thousand dollars. She also did her own abstract art. Hope Vegas stays warm for you.

  5. I have big time been craving meatballs this week. I was at a super bowl party and a guy made bacon cheeseburger meatballs… They were meatballs filled with bacon and covered in cheese. You should make a fantastic paleo version of it! Oh and when you dipped them in ketchup, holy crow.

  6. I’ve bought ugly canvas art at thrift stores and covered it with cool fabric from Joann’s or hobby lobby. It’s fast and easy and cheap! And you can just tear the fabric off and pick a new one when you want to change colors.

  7. Totally love your meatball recipes! It really irks me when people add breadcrumbs and oat flour to perfectly good meat =) these sound delicious and spicy! will definitely be making them soon!

  8. Please check out They have lots of awesome DIY projects ranging from easy to difficult. Some really awesome ideas!

    1. I love that site, thank you for sharing it!

      I’m a big fan of thrift stores too, and echo other coments who say buy the biggest ugliest canvas/framed art, and cover it w/ awesome fabric, and then do whatever you want on that… It’s fun to glue various found objects (buttons, leaves, ribbons, branches/twigs, random pieces of paper or fabric, etc) in some kind of pattern or design on top of that. I like spray glue, which you can get at Michael’s (they have coupons!) for a lot of those things.

      You can find a ton of random unique pieces at thrift stores, and arrange them in a funky/interesting way… If you end up hating something that you got, you only spent like $1 in the first place so no biggie.

      I’ve also done the calendar thing – I got a Van Gogh calendar a few years ago, and now have a couple framed Van Gogh prints, including “Starry Night,” as a result!

  9. I pretty much regularly make a version of these already…using your SW meatloaf recipe as the base recipe for it, but rollin’ em into cute little balls. I tend to add almond flour with mine and an egg, but I dig that you omit both in this recipe! Fantastic! And…any sauce that has cilantro as one of the main ingredients to dip. MMM..might have to revist and revise my current meatball recipe and witch it up for this one!

  10. For wall art, we always buy inexpensive prints (I’ve even cut out pictures from a cool calendar) and then have them framed nicely. You can either frame them yourself with already prepared mattes and discounted frames, or spend a little more on having them professionally framed. I once used a $12 frame from IKEA (which had a different picture in it, just swapped it out) with a picture of Greece from a 12 month calendar and, voila, beautiful wall art! In fact, I just picked up a piece from the framing store today. We only spent $20 on the print, which we got from the streets in Prague, and it looks like we spent way more=) The meatballs look lovely, btw, can’t wait to try!

  11. canvas on demand has great sales on groupon. you download a picture and they make a canvas out of it – you can pay a little extra and have them go over your picture and make sure it looks super awesome – which sounds like a scam, but it really does make the picture look significantly better. They have different options for different prices. For one i did a $7 upgrade option, but for some reason when i used my groupon the difference in price was only 50 cents more. DONE and DONE. I have 3 pictures of varying sizes and a few friends have them as well – they all look awesome. At one point their sale was for $25 a canvas on groupon

  12. These look yummy! I’m going to Vegas for my first time President’s Day Weekend. Didn’t think of getting a spray tan but maybe I will! Any restaurant recommendations?

    1. MMMmmmm…American Fish at Aria. It’s a Michael Mina restaurant. Not Paleo, but if you have a cheat meal, this would be the place to do it. Yum.

  13. Ideas for wall art …. I saved a bunch of dark chocolate wrappers (lots of interesting ones from Whole Foods, etc) and made them into a collage of sorts … Check it out! 🙂

    Of course if you saw my room you’d realize I go more over board than that. Even with 15 foot ceilings, I’ve painted two of the walls different shades of blue. Then one day last summer I started a mural of sunflowers right on my closet doors. If I ever leave this place, I’ll be using a lot of primer! But making murals and painting bold colors can do amazing things for your home!

    1. Instead of the avacado , use any type of sauce you like.
      I made these years ago must have been when it was posted, made them for family, parties and to work everyone loves them, I was just looking for the recipes because I want to take them camping with us, see some friends while keeping social distant.

  14. These are the best meatballs I have made…ever! Home-run Juli, you run those bases! I didn’t have jalapeno so I used green hot sauce and it came out well. I don’t buy cookbooks because I always forget them on my shelf and find recipes online, but I am so excited to buy your upcoming book with Civilized Caveman. Please please please do an event in Atlanta when the book comes out!

  15. For those not strictly paleo, the dipping sauce also makes a great pasta sauce! We added some olive oil to make it a little less thick.

    Just make sure to use a shaped pasta so it will catch and hold lots of the sauce!

    So delicious!

  16. You can diy wall art so easy! Find an old canvas painting at a thrift store (or buy a new canvas with hobby lobby coupons) and just staple a cute fabric around it! Voila, wall art. (=

  17. Juli,

    these meatballs rock! The sauce is fantastic as well, I make a double batch of it and put it on a lot of other things (bison burgers, eggs, stir-fry, etc.) thanks!

  18. These were soo delicious! I used the chipotle mayo that I used to make the chorizo meatloaf the other day with the sauce and it was soo spicy and yummy! It definitely kicked it up a notch and I’ll be keeping these in my permanent collection! Thanks for the awesome recipes!

  19. The meatballs were fantastic! I didn’t get to make the sauce so can’t wait to try the combination. Thanks so much for sharing all your great creations.

  20. Delicious! Super easy. Chopping the veggies is the most time consuming part, but I just used my food processor. The sauce is heavenly and the cumin and chili powder in the meatballs gives the dish a lovely flavor! I love paleomg recipes, but I tend to stick to her easier recipes! This is definitely one.

  21. I made these a couple weeks ago. They are so delicious and the sauce was wonderful. Going to make them again soon. Thanks for all the recipes.

  22. Made these meatballs without the dipping sauce last night for my NYE Mexican themed dinner. They were a hit! I doubled the recipe and used a combo of ground pork and chicken. Thanks, Juli!

  23. Found these during a Google search for Paleo ground turkey. So good! Served these over rice for hubs and son and riced cauliflower for me Had to thin out the sauce with water, but my husband said he’d be happy with that sauce on just about anything! Love finding these gems! Thanks Juli!

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