~Gyros: Greek Meatballs & Tzatziki (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Greek Meatballs & Tzatziki 3This recipe is my new favorite.

It doesn’t take long to make & it’s fancy. Fancy in a rustic-tapas Greek-taverna kind of way.

Matthew & I got the idea while flipping through magazines in a doctor’s waiting room one day last summer.

For me, one of the fun intellectual exercises on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) has been figuring out how to turn SAD foods into AIP-friendly recipes, like Hawai’ian Pizza, Pot Pie & Ice Cream Sandwiches.

But that kind of thinking was outside of Matthew’s ken until recently.

Brain Fogfog-2

Immune-Mediated Cognitive Dysfunction (colloquially known as ‘Brain Fog’) is a common symptom of autoimmune conditions. It affects a person’s capacity for executive processing, including retrieval of stored information, working memory and the the ability to pay attention.

Turns out, the ability to recreate a recipe for the AIP requires all of these:

  1. Retrieval: Remembering which foods are (& are not) AIP-legal;
  2. Working Memory: Keeping in mind the original recipe & mentally manipulating it’s components in various ways until it is AIP-compliant;
  3. Sustained attention: Maintaining focus while thinking it through, trying it out, evaluating the results, adjusting & trying again.

Given that he could barely executive process his way in & out of a grocery store a year ago, it’s significant that 7 months into the AIP, Matthew was able to actively re-create this recipe with me. The fact that we can puzzle out recipes together is an indication that his Immune-Mediated Cognitive Dysfunction is lifting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust for reference, when he’s not captive by Brain Fog, he’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met~.

Since we came up with this recipe, we’ve collaborated on others, like Pontefract Cakes, Raspberry-Rosehip Gummies & Spanokapita Pie.

Seeing his capacities increase every month on the AIP reminds me how difficult it is for people who are severely disabled by autoimmune conditions to start and maintain a dietary protocol like this. 9 months in, Matthew is just now at the point where he could maintain the AIP on his own.

One of the things he wants to do with his slowly growing capacity is support people who face significant challenges, including wicked Brain Fog, to  initiate & maintain their own nutritional & lifestyle experiments.

The Recipe

If you’re avoiding FODMAPs (as Matthew does) check out the low-FODMAP variation of the Tzatziki.

This recipe is perfect for the Wahls Paleo Plus or any other ketogenic version of the AIP. Especially if you turn up the fat with sliced avocado, olives & a side of berry fudge.

I’ve included the recipes three ways. The separate Tzatziki & Greek Meatballs recipes that follow are exactly the same as the first version. I just added them in case you want to print/make them separately.

Gyros: Greek Meatballs & Tzatziki Lettuce Wraps (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

TzatzikiTzatziki

  • 1 tin (chilled) full-fat no-additive coconut milk
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dill

Ensure the tin of coconut milk is chilled: refrigerate overnight or for a few hours (I just leave mine in the fridge).

Grate the cucumber into a bowl.

With your impeccably clean hands, squeeze the liquid out the grated cucumber and transfer into a second bowl. Pour the cucumber juice into a glass or a mason jar.

Repeat, squeezing the liquid again & transferring the cucumber back to the first bowl. Pour the liquid in the jar. If it’s a juicy cucumber, repeat the squeezing, transferring & pouring a third time.

Drink the cucumber water. Yum.

Whip the coconut cream: Open the chilled tin of full-fat coconut milk. Scoop the solid cream off the top & put it in a bowl with high sides. Whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Use the remaining coconut water in a smoothie or put it in your stock pot.

Add the whipped cream and remaining ingredients to the cucumber and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Put it in the fridge until the meatballs are ready.

You can make the Tzatziki a day ahead, just pour the coconut-laced liquid off before serving (Yes, I drink that, too).

Low-FODMAP variation

Coconut is low FODMAP in small quantities, but becomes higher at higher doses. Rather than skimp on Tzatziki, just shift the ratio. Grate an addition cucumber and double the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. It’ll be more cucumber-iffic than a traditional Tzatziki, but you’ll be able to slather it on more lavishly.

Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs & Tzatziki

Yield: 90 mini meatballs

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1  heaping tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons lard, tallow or coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients (except the fat) together with your hands.

Form into about 90 mini meatballs.

They’re mini because they cook through more readily. And you get to eat more wraps!

Melt the fat in a frying pan on medium heat & fry the meat balls, turning as each side browns, in batches.

Put each batch in a low oven to keep warm, if you are serving them right away.

Serve with lettuce leaves & AIP-friendly Tzatziki. Everybody builds their own: Tapas-style. 

Tzatziki (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoAIP Tzatziki

  • 1 tin (chilled) full-fat no-additive coconut milk
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dill

Ensure the tin of coconut milk is chilled: refrigerate overnight or for a few hours (I just leave mine in the fridge).

Grate the cucumber into a bowl.

With your impeccably clean hands, squeeze the liquid out the grated cucumber and transfer into a second bowl. Pour the cucumber juice into a glass or a mason jar.

Repeat, squeezing the liquid again & transferring the cucumber back to the first bowl. Pour the liquid in the jar. If it’s a juicy cucumber, repeat the squeezing, transferring & pouring a third time.

Drink the cucumber water. Yum.

Whip the coconut cream: Open the chilled tin of full-fat coconut milk. Scoop the solid cream off the top & put it in a bowl with high sides. Whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Use the remaining coconut water in a smoothie or put it in your stock pot.

Add the whipped cream and remaining ingredients to the cucumber and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Put it in the fridge until the meatballs are ready.

You can make the Tzatziki a day ahead, just pour the coconut-laced liquid off before serving (Yes, I drink that, too).

Low-FODMAP variation

Coconut is low FODMAP in small quantities, but becomes higher at higher doses. Rather than skimp on Tzatziki, just shift the ratio. Grate an addition cucumber and double the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. It’ll be more cucumber-iffic than a traditional Tzatziki, but you won’t have to moderate quite so much.

Tzatziki Fusion:  with sliced avocado & custom-made AIP-friendly sausage from your favorite butcher
Tzatziki Fusion: with sliced avocado & custom-made AIP-friendly sausage from your favorite butcher

Greek Meatballs (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoGreek Meatballs & Tzatziki 2

Yield: 90 mini meatballs

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1  heaping tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons lard, tallow or coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients (except the fat) together with your hands.

Form into about 90 mini meatballs.

They’re mini because they cook through more readily. And you get to eat more wraps!

Melt the fat in a frying pan on medium heat & fry the meat balls, turning as each side browns, in batches.

Put each batch in a low oven to keep warm, if you are serving them right away.

Serve with lettuce leaves & AIP-friendly Tzatziki. Everybody build your own: Tapas-style.

If you’re on the WahlsPaleo+ (or another ketogenic protocol), 11 of these cuties=4 ounces of lamb.

 

17 thoughts on “~Gyros: Greek Meatballs & Tzatziki (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

  1. This looks awesome! I feel happy to hear that you and Matt are creating food together. I remember you telling me that when you ate SAD you really disliked cooking…ha ha..now you could almost say you write a food blog!

  2. Another awesome recipe. Tzatziki is one of the things I’ve missed, and I always did like mine heavy on the cucumber.

  3. I am SO making this recipe – inspired! Looks seriously delish’ and perfect for barbecue weather which is fast approaching down here.

    One of the reasons I have found my AIP ‘journey’ (blech! – hate that word!) so manageable is that LM is 100% committed, too. It must be so lovely for you both that Matthew has now healed to the point where he wants – and is able – to create with you like this. I am happy for you both. I’m sure it has been a very long road.

    Just one small suggestion, Petra – for people who are unused to the concept of separating the coconut water and fat by refrigerating (and then whipping), the jump from coconut milk to whipped cream may not be 100% clear in the recipe?

  4. Petra,
    Thank you for your exciting and informative blog.

    I am looking for your food diary template. The one you were emailing to folks who asked for it. I can’t seem to find the area where you showed it to us. (I hope you aren’t eceiving this twice! I don’t think I was logged in before)

    Also can you tell me the name of the ketosis strips you use?

    1. The tracking forms come from this post: https://petra8paleo.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/tracking-the-wahls-paleo-plus/. I’ve just sent them to you! And just ask for urine ketone test strips at a pharmacy. Keep in mind that these are only effective at the beginning. Once your body becomes fully keto-adpated ketones will no longer show up in your urine, so you will get a false-negative. However, they are a more economical way to get started, especially if you aren’t sure if you’re going to stick with ketosis. And who would, before you’ve tried it?! I’ve just ordered one of these: https://www.ketonix.com/ It’s bit of an investment, but then I’m pretty committed to ketosis (& I also love data & experimentation.)

  5. I’m so upset. I went to make the sauce and my Native Forest Coconut milk was all mixed together except for a small clump of cream at the top. Not near enough to make this. So I wasted money and opened another can and same thing. When I first bought this coconut milk, the cream was very thick and at the top of the can and the water was what was left below. Not this time. Now I don’t have enough cream and I don’t what to do. I put it in the fridge again but doubt that will help.

    1. Some brands seem to vary in the quantity of coconut cream each tin generates. My new favorite is Natural Value brand Coconut Cream (not milk). It also come in a tin, has no guar gum & has only a couple of tablespoons of coconut water~.

  6. These meatballs are so good! Reminds me of gyro meat. I used half lamb/half beef to cut the cost down, and added an onion and baked them instead of frying. Then ate them in a delicious salad of lettuce, cucumber, and olives, and the tzatziki sauce (made with coconut yogurt) as a dressing. Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. thank you for bringing attention to the symptoms of autoimmune that no one realizes. I have MS and the brain fog, word recall and fatigue is terrible. We have been doing Wahls for over a year and cant believe how good I feel! Recipes like this make staying on the diet so much easier and enjoyable.

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