Spaghetti w/ Elk Veggie Meatballs

Our dietitian said that my daughter was doing very well for the condition she has (developmental allergies where she can’t eat wheat, soy, eggs dairy, or nuts). Apparently many kids lose a lot of weight and have a “failure to thrive” issue–understandably so–it is very hard to feed a toddler with such drastic allergies. One thing she did recommend, however, was to increase her sources of zinc and iron through things such as lamb, and other “gamy” red meats that are higher in these nutrients than plain old ground beef.

(If you are trying to find things to feed your child, please visit my “Food Ideas” tab and my “Resources” tab for more info)

I originally planned to make these meatballs with lamb, but our local grocery store was out of lamb and happened to have Elk available, so I decided to give it a try.  I never tried elk before this, but I grew up on deer meat (venison) so I expected elk to taste pretty gamy.  Unfortunately, it was not as gamy as I assumed (or really at all), so while my husband and I enjoyed these meatballs by themselves, my daughter was not so impressed. But with a little spaghetti sauce and some quinoa & brown rice noodles, she LOVED them and they’re super nutritious!




1 lb ground elk meat

3/4 orange bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1/2 cup zucchini, shredded and then finely chopped

1 small roma tomato (just less than 1/4 cup)

1 heaping TBS minced garlic

1 TBS parsley

1 tsp basil

1 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp sage

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1/8 tsp cayenne (my daughter likes spices.. this does not make it spicy though)

1/2 cup milk

1-1 1/2 cups rice Krispies

Avocado oil for frying


1-2 cups of gluten free noodles of your choice (I used about 1 cup: half quinoa noodles and half brown rice)

1 jar of GF, DF, SF spaghetti sauce (I use Prego Garden Harvest. It was the only one I could find that did not have soybean oil or cheese added in)



Using the amount of noodles that you think your child will eat, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook until tender them while you make the meatballs.

Place the elk meat in a large mixing bowl and add all of the ingredients except the milk and rice Krispies. Mix well (I use my hands for this).


(My prep area is always in Betta, Edna’s view 🙂 She’s my cooking buddy)

Add the avocado oil to a frying pan (I use a large, Wok-style pan). Add enough to cover about 1/8-1/4 an inch (see the picture below). Heat oil over medium high heat.

Add the milk to the meatball mixture little bits at a time, only until the meat is soft and mushy (very appetizing, I know!), but not falling apart. It needs to be able to be rolled into a ball.

Then add the Rice Krispies to the mixture and mix until all is well-blended.


Roll into meatballs and place in the skillet to fry once the oil is hot enough. I cooked them for roughly 5 minutes on each side. Once both sides are a nice crispy brown, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel.


Heat the spaghetti sauce in a separate pot.

Once the noodles are ready, drain the water, add olive oil and a little black pepper and mix well.

Add some noodles to a bowl, top with some broken up meatballs, and then some spaghetti sauce. Mix together well and hopefully your toddler will love it as much as mine did!


Please let me know if you make this recipe and enjoy it!