Paleo Beef Liver Meatball and Cabbage Soup

Yup, I said it.  “Cabbage” and “liver” in the same recipe title.  But trust me, if I didn’t find it to be 100% delicious, I would not be sharing it with you.  I’ve been intrigued by the amazing health benefits of grass-fed liver for a while now, but I wasn’t really sure of how to introduce the topic on this site.  Liver is not something that most people tend to get excited about and so in order to sell it, I knew I’d have to find an incredible way to prepare it.  I’ve tried the classic liver and onions, a chopped liver sandwich, and even a curried version (which was actually pretty good but I forgot to write down my recipe).  This is the first that I feel I can confidently promise you will love.  Now, on to a discussion of the health benefits.

Beef liver is an extremely nutrient dense food, providing an abundance of vitamin A, B vitamins, copper, zinc, iron and folate.  These vitamins are essential for proper functioning of the immune system, combatting fatigue, promoting healthy metabolism, and protecting against oxidative stress.  On top of all that, it is very high in protein.  I find that when I eat liver, it takes hours for me to feel hungry again.  Which is unusual for a snack-monster like me  :)

The nice thing about this recipe is that there are many layers of flavor that make the liver much less noticeable.  There is a savory, salty broth made with a parmesan rind, lots of hearty vegetables, and the meatballs which contain ground beef, liver, and spices.  You can also adjust the amount of liver according to your taste.  Try just 1/4 pound if you’re not sure about the stuff or go all the way to 3/4 pound if you’re a liver-eating pro.

Do you include liver in your diet?  If so, what are your favorite ways to prepare it?

Beef Liver Meatball and Cabbage Soup
makes 12 servings

Ingredients
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 large carrots, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 4 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 zucchini, quartered and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 large head of cabbage, shredded (about 8 cups)
- 8 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
- 1 parmesan rind
- salt, to taste

- 1 lb ground beef (grass-fed, if possible)
- 2/3 lb beef liver (use more or less, to taste)
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp ground flax
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add carrots and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and sauté another 5 minutes, until vegetables are starting to soften.  Add cabbage and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add broth or stock and parmesan rind.  Bring to a simmer and prepare meatballs.

3. Place liver in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Place in a large bowl with ground beef, egg, flax, salt, paprika, and oregano.  Mix ingredients until uniformly distributed.  In a large sauté pan, heat a little more olive oil.  Drop beef mixture by tablespoonfuls into the pan and cook for about 1 minute on each side, until lightly browned.  They do not have to be cooked all the way through as they will continue cooking in the stock pot with the soup.

4. Add meatballs to the soup and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Serve hot.

* I shared this post with this week’s Whole Foods WednesdayReal Food WednesdayAllergy Free Wednesday, Gluten-Free WednesdayFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysHearth and Soul HopFat Tuesday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

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6 thoughts on “Paleo Beef Liver Meatball and Cabbage Soup

  1. Your recipe looks delicious! I’ve actually never had beef liver, and I’m not sure why. It’s pretty popular in the area that I live in. A lot of people around here eat liver and onions. And adding it to a curry is a great idea too. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul!

  2. I made your recipe tonight! Very interesting. I threw in some spelt alphabet noodles just to inspire my kids to eat it. Could have done without that in the end, I think. I might try the meatballs in a more mixed vegie soup next, perhaps with a tomato base. I did enjoy it, though. Hubby didn’t even know that I put liver (chicken liver) in the meatballs!

    • I love the idea of putting alphabet noodles into the mix to make the recipe more kid-friendly. Excellent idea and I hope the tomato base is also a success!

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