Stevia refers to the many forms of alternative sweeteners derived from the Stevia plant. The “glycosides” contained in the stevia plant are what makes it sometimes 50 to 300 times sweeter than our usual go-to, sugar derived from sugar cane. But unlike sugar derived from sugar cane, our bodies do not metabolize the glycosides contained in stevia, and therefore it is a calorie free sugar alternative. However, not all stevia is created equal. Stevia in its most unrefined form is dried and ground stevia leaves and resembles and green dust. Most stevia you will find in coffee shops and stores are stevia derivatives that resemble white crystalized sugar. These crystallin derivatives are highly processed and therefore less desirable than the simple ground up leaf form. The Self-Healing and Wellness team finds that stevia is best used to accentuate the natural sweetness of a fruit component in a dish, adding enhanced sweetness without added sugar. Be careful and use it sparingly. Too much stevia can give a dish a bitter aftertaste and leave it completely ruined. If used correctly, using stevia is a great trick to sweeten pies and jams all while limiting ones sugar intake. Stevia is more versatile than one may imagine and can be used in incredibly creative ways like the Sugar Friendly Asian Inspired Meatballs Recipe below. These little flavor bombs are packed with the delicious flavor of Asian inspired barbecue and skip the unnecessary sugar content. This meatball recipe is a Self-Healing and Wellness team favorite, because it one of those recipes that is even more delicious than its less healthy counterpart.
Asian Inspired Meatballs Recipe
1 Lb. Ground Pork
9 Dried Turkish Apricots (Diced)
1 Clove of garlic (Minced)
1 ½ Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1/2 Tsp. Whole Fennel Seeds
1/2 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Stevia Powder
1 /4 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
1/8 Tsp. Five Spice Blend
Sea Salt to taste
In a medium mixing bowl, combine fennel seeds, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, stevia, smoked paprika, five spice, garlic, salt, and soy sauce. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow combination to bloom.
Add the pork and apricots and stir in a consistent direction with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Mixing the meat in one direction aligns the fibers and allows for a more juicy, tender, and delicious result.
Roll mixture into 1¼-inch balls, cover, and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour. This resting allows for the flavors to absorb into the meat.
On a hot grill, cook the meatballs until grill marks appear on each side.
Turn down grill and allow meatballs to cook on medium heat without direct flame for 7-10 more minutes or until cooked throughout.
These flavor packed morsels are great as a appetizer and are even delicious served cold as a quick snack. Enjoy.