Paleo Southwest Meatballs in Tomato-Adobo Sauce

Think most paleo meatballs are boring? Wait until you take a bite of these baked ground beef and chorizo beauties rolling around in a spicy tomato-adobo sauce!

Not only do you have that awesome beef and pork combo in these, but you get plenty of other Mexican-inspired flavors too.

And here’s one of the really cool things about this particular meatball recipe: it’s simple to make. I’m not sure why, but a lot of meatball recipes get way too complicated and time-consuming for my taste. This why I make it a point to keep mine extra-simple with lots of fresh flavors.

So here’s about all you need to know to rock and roll on this paleo meatball recipe…

The meatballs are half grass-fed ground beef and half Mexican ground chorizo. You don’t have to make them with chorizo of course, but for this one it’s highly recommended.

Be sure and adjust the spiciness of this dish to suit your own personal taste. Down here in Arizona, we tend to eat spicier food – so what’s mild to us might be fire-extinguisher hot to you.

Most of the heat in this dish comes from this little can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You might not be familiar with it, but it’s a pantry staple here in the Southwest. Basically it’s smoked and dried jalapeño peppers that have been rehydrated in a smoky-sweet kind of red sauce. It really adds a whole new dimension to your cooking..that’s why you’ll see it in a number of my recipes.

But I digress – I’d suggest starting with just one teaspoon of minced chipotle for this recipe, and maybe scrape away the seeds from the pepper for an even milder heat.

So for this recipe, you’ll start by making the sauce on the stovetop first and setting that aside.

Next you’ll mix the ground beef, chorizo and spices together and then form the meatballs. And a tip here, gently form those meatballs – if you pack them tight like you’re making a snowball you’ll wind up with some very tough meatballs.

And the last step is simply adding half the sauce you made to your baking dish, putting the meatballs in, and then pouring the other half of the sauce over everything. Bake for about 40 minutes until the meatballs cook through, and that’s it.

Serve with your favorite veggies on the side, or my favorite, over cauliflower rice. A steamed bed of zoodles would be another good choice.

Hope you enjoy this easy paleo meatball recipe – and as always please let me know what you think!

Paleo Southwest Meatballs in Tomato-Adobo Sauce Recipe

Paleo Southwest Meatballs in Tomato-Adobo Sauce Recipe


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or beef broth
  • 1-3 tsp minced chipotle in adobo sauce (adjust for your heat preference)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 lbs ground beef
  • 3/4 lbs ground mexican chorizo
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus some extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, whisked


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Begin with the tomato/adobo sauce you'll pour over the meatballs before baking. Take a medium-size saucepan, add the olive oil, and heat on medium. When oil is hot, add the onions to the pan and sauté just until they're translucent, around 4-5 minutes – avoid overcooking. Next add the minced garlic and cook just one minute, then add in the tomato, broth, and the minced chipotle peppers. Simmer 5 minutes, then remove tomato/adobo sauce from heat.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, add the beef, chorizo, oregano, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pour over the whisked egg, and gently mix through with hands. Finally, form 12 meatballs – each about the size of a golf ball. Use only enough pressure so that the meatballs hold their shape – don't over-compress for best results.
  4. Take out a 9" x 12" baking dish. First add 1/2 the tomato/adobo sauce your prepared to the dish. Now place the meatballs on top of the sauce, and space as uniformly as possible. Finally top with the remaining half of the sauce – gently pour it over all the meatballs
  5. Bake in a 350ºF oven until meatballs are cooked through. Usually around 40-45 minutes, but cooking times will vary.
  6. Enjoy hot out of the dish with a veggie side, or serve over cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Trina- Was wondering if you have found a brand of Chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce that is true paleo? Sans corn and other junk ingredients? The one you show as well as others all have the same ingredients. Any suggestions? I, too, live in AZ but haven’t found a brand I can eat. I’m trying to avoid making my own since I make so many other things. Just trying to find one convenient shortcut for once. Thanks!

    1. Adobo sauce… Dumb auto correct!

    2. Hi Kristen, I have looked high and low and have yet to find one that’s perfect.:)

      1. You never say when to add the cumin or oregano. Making these now and forgot it:/

        1. Sorry about that…the cumin and oregano go with the meatball section. The recipe has been corrected! Thank you.

  2. Maybe I’m missing it, but I don’t see where to use oregano and cumin? In Meatballs or sauce?

    1. Sorry…those spices go with the meatball prep, not the sauce. Recipe has been corrected!

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