Mexican Meatballs over Calabacitas- CrossFit Series




I love Mexican Meatballs!

This recipe was originally created in “Picture and Text” format for SFH awhile back. It was easy to make a Zone balanced meal, so I ran the numbers and created a video version for the most recent series on

I recommend reading through the “Picture and Text” recipe as it has Pork Skin Flour as an ingredient that is not present in today’s recipe. It is not a crucial ingredient, but something that is fun and adds an extra level of flavory.

Either way you end up doing it, don’t miss out out this flavor experience. The use of cinnamon here is subtle, but sumptuous and, because of this, Mexican Meatballs with Calabacitas, is one of my top choices when eating Ice Age Meals.

Give it a go, Chef it up fo’ sho’, and prove to yourself once more that you are a pro at…

“Keeping It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

Mexican Meatballs over Calabacitas

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, diced
  • 3/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons Super Radical Rib Rub

Ingredients for Calabacitas:

  • 6 cups zucchini, large dice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups onions, large dice
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Preparation Instructions for the Meatballs:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, celery, onions, chipotle powder, cinnamon, eggs and Super Radical Rib Rub. Mix well until uniform.
  2. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Using a 1 oz portion-control scoop, scoop meatball mixture into the pan. Repeat the process until the mixture is gone and you’ve got a pan full of meatballs.
  3. During cooking, turn the meatballs 3-4 times, with the goal of achieving nice caramelization on all sides and an internal temperature of 165F.
  4. When meatballs are done, pair with calabacitas for a killer meal.

Preparation Instructions for Calabacitas:

  1. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and saute until garlic is toasted.
  2. Add onion and chipotle powder. Stir
  3. Add red bell pepper, poblano pepper, green bell pepper and a pinch of kosher salt. Place a lid on the pot and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini and another pinch of kosher salt. Replace the lid on the pot and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms, stir to incorporate and cook for 3 additional minutes.
  6. Fold in tomato puree, bring to a simmer and the calabacitas are ready. Share with your friends and enjoy!

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Proteins: (20) 

A large majority of our protein is coming from our beef.  We start with 2 pounds (32oz) of it but after it cooks down we are left with about 26.5oz.  With 1.5oz equaling one block, that gives us 18 blocks.  Additionally we have two eggs, which count as one block each bringing the protein total to 20 blocks.

Carbohydrates: (23.5) 

We have a lot of sources of carbs in this recipe.  First we have our onions.  We are using a total of 4 cups of onions.  We know that about ½ cup equals one block so that gives us a total of 8 blocks.  From there we have our peppers.  We know that 2 cups of peppers on average equal one block, so we have a total of 4.5 cups of peppers, so for easy math we will say that that is 2.5 blocks.  Next we add the tomato puree.  1/2 cup of Puree equals one block so from the 4 cups we get 8 blocks. We also have about 6 garlic cloves, and knowing that 10 cloves give us one block, we will count the garlic as ½ block.  Our Zucchini counts 2 cups per block, so with 6 cups that gives us 3 blocks.  And finally we have our celery, which gives us 1/2 block as 2.5 cups equal one block, and our mushrooms which give us 1 blocks as 4 cups equal one block.  Our total carb block count is 23.5.

Fats: (9) 

Our fats come from the oil we are using.  1/3 of a teaspoon equals one block and since we are using one tablespoon that gives us 9 fat blocks in this recipe. 

Balancing Act: 

This recipe is just about balanced out.  If we divide it into 6 meals, we get just over 3 protein blocks, 4 carb blocks and just over one fat block per meal.


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