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Bora Bora Fireballs

Clearly, I’ve got balls on the brain. We’ve been testing meatball recipes for Well Fed 2, and we have finally settled on the 15 (Yes! Fifteen!) varieties that will be included in the new cookbook. In honor of bringing the testing phase to a close, I thought I’d share a favorite of mine from the first Well Fed: Bora Bora Fireballs.

These meatballs came to me in a dream. I woke up with tumbling thoughts about a lush combination of pineapple, succulent pork, and creamy-sweet coconut. I was haunted by images of tikis and luaus. The only way to clear my mind was to surrender to the kitchen gods. After three attempts, something still wasn’t quite right. Later, while lost in photos of tropical beaches and coral reefs, I landed on the fiery name, and the rest of the recipe fell into place. These taste even better the second day, so if you can endure the wait, you will be rewarded.

Bora Bora Fireballs thumb

Bora Bora Fireballs

Prep 10 min | Cook 30 min | Makes about 42 meatballs

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, sugar-free, packed in its own juice
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or homemade substitute
1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3-4 scallions, white and green, very thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 fresh jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds ground pork

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the coconut. Toast, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Set aside to cool.

2. Drain the cup of canned pineapple in a sieve placed over a bowl to catch the juice. Press the pineapple pulp against the sieve with a wooden spoon to extract the excess moisture. Place the pineapple in a large mixing bowl and save the juice for later.

3. To the pineapple, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, and eggs. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. With your hands, crumble the pork into the bowl and knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

4. Arrange the bowls of pineapple juice, spiced coconut, and seasoned pork for easy access. Measure a level tablespoon of pork to make a meatball, lightly douse it in the pineapple juice, then roll it in the coconut, pressing the coconut shreds into the meat by lightly rolling the ball between your palms. This is a rare case in which more isn’t better — don’t go too cuckoo with the coconut. Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.

5. Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until sizzling and golden brown. These taste great with Confetti Cauliflower and/or Sunshine Sauce.

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115 Responses to “Bora Bora Fireballs”

  1. mlou says:

    I CAN NOT WAIT for Well Fed 2! I see my mother almost every Sunday for dinner, and she makes a paleo meal (because she is so cool). She is down with the cooking and ingrediants, but has DEFINITE oppinions on the cookbooks I’ve given to her! She loves yours – “its written like it should be.”
    Really appreciate your blog and the bad-assery that goes with it!

  2. mlou says:

    And…I can’t spell or type

  3. melissa says:

    damn these look good. pinning now.

  4. Andrea D. says:

    First, it’s damn hard to choose a favorite Well Fed recipe but this one is in my top two! I LOVE these little beauties! Second, I can NOT wait for Well Fed 2 and 15 meatball recipes??? Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

  5. Maggie C says:

    I am too lazy to toast the coconut and roll the balls in them (they are awesome like that), but I just throw the coconut in with the meat and make the balls and they are STILL the best food ever. Anytime I feel mopey about giving up junk food and grains, I make these and all is well.

  6. Rachel says:

    I’ve been making these with lamb (I don’t eat pork) and using Penzey’s chipotle powder in place of the jalepeno and they are pretty much my favorite recipe ever. My roommates get super excited (and jealous) every time I make them.

    Thanks so much for all the awesome recipes! I’m excited for Well Fed 2 and more meatballs!

  7. Kristen says:

    I’ve made these several times! Love them!

  8. Yvonne Attwood says:

    I ordered Well Fed a month ago and it finally arrived today (back ordered). Great recipes – but my favourite part of the book is your plan for chopping and cooking on Sunday for the week ahead. That’s what I will be doing this Sunday!

  9. Andrea says:

    I love meatballs so much! Thank you for creating 15 more recipes for meatball aficionados :)

  10. Jocelyn says:

    These are being made this evening for tomorrow’s dinner. I’ve been using recipes out of your book this entire week. It’s our third week of the whole30 and it was time to veer off the meal map path and get a little more creative. Loving everything so far: we did brine our chicken and it was amazeballs!

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing! You should be feeling pretty good by now, right?

      Bonus points for making these in advance — they really do taste even better the second day. Glad you liked the chicken!

      • Jocelyn says:

        We are feeling great. It’s amazing the crappy-ness that I accepted as just a part of my life (inability to sleep, low energy levels, constant joint pain) that changed simply by changing my food. I’m excited to try more of your recipes!

  11. Kristy S says:

    Having a hard time finding coconut aminos; are they necessary? I also hate shredded coconut – it’s a texture thing and I’m not very fond of the taste of coconut in the first place.

    Side note…my sweet-toothed father has asked for a cherry cobbler for his birthday dinner dessert. I can’t wait to make your recipe for him and blow his mind that there’s no sugar in it!!! Even making the coconut milk whipped “cream”.

    • Mel says:

      The coconut aminos are like soy sauce, so they’re not totally necessary but do add a nice underlying flavor. You can buy them online, but if you don’t feel like the hassle, just skip it and maybe add a little extra salt. You’ll also be fine without the coconut on the outside.

      Have fun with the cobbler!

  12. Alicia says:

    I may have said it before but your cookbook is HANDS DOWN the BEST Paleo cookbook out there!! Can’t wait for Well Fed 2 :) You my friend are a Paleo culinary genius! Thanks for being such a badass.

  13. Lia says:

    Do you use sweetened or unsweetened coconut?

  14. Rosann G says:

    What size can of pineapple?

  15. Heather says:

    These have been my favorite meatballs by far!! Absolutely amazing!!

  16. Amy says:

    Melissa, I made these a week or so ago (sans the heat) and they were a hit with the whole family. I served them with Sunshine Sauce, as you suggested, and we were so pleased with the whole deal.

    Neither I nor my kids like hot and spicy food and it was so easy to make these without the heat and not sacrifice flavor. The toasted coconut made them look spikey, and my middle daughter (all of a precious 2.5 years) called them “hedgehogs.” Loved them, thanks for the great recipes.

    • Mel says:

      Hedgehogs! I love it!

      I’m really glad you modified the recipe to make it more to your liking. That’s EXACTLY what I hope people will do with my recipes. Thanks for letting me know!

  17. Gwynn says:

    I have made these three times. I really, truly, absolutely love them. Sooo looking forward to Well Fed 2.

  18. Lindsay says:

    I just made these for a potluck at my gym and they were a HUGE hit! Thanks for the great recipe. It’s definitely one of my most favorite recipes ever. Super excited for MOAR MEATBALLS in Well Fed 2.

  19. Lys says:

    I am so excited for the second book!! The first one was amazing and I cook with it at least 3 days per week so super pumped for another great bunch of recipes!

  20. LucyR says:

    Do these freeze and reheat well? I’m looking to cook up a big batch of protein-goodness to keep in my freezer for last-minute lunches.

    • Mel says:

      Yes! After baking, let them cool them freeze in a big Ziplock or storage container. When you’re ready to eat, defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven: 350F for 10 minutes or until heated through.

  21. [...] noun, not the adjective! Made them last night but held off on eating them until today because the recipe creator said they’d be even better. She was right! These were amazing and fun to [...]

  22. David says:

    Has anyone tried throwing these babies on the grill and grilling them indirect? I bet it would add another layer of flavor. I’m trying it this weekend!

  23. Tara Miley says:

    I’ve been on a meatball kick lately… these sounds A.MAZ.ING!!

  24. Carla Higson says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I am planning on making these tonight; they sound amazing….BUT – I am trying to do the Whole30 and I keep stuffing up unknowingly.
    Can you please tell me if this is okay on the W30, as I’m just not sure about the canned pineapple….
    Thanks in advance for your help!

  25. Rachel M. says:

    I made these tonight for tomorrow, as suggested, but confess I may have snacked on a couple (um, 6) in the process. YUM-O! I am very excited for dinner tomor. But how’s it best to reheat them? I’m concerned that the coconut will lose its lovely crispiness in my fridge overnight, but if I reheat in the oven will they end up overcooked? Thanks a million! I am on Day 10 of Whole 30 and already bored… not boding well for me… these will help!

  26. Rachel M. says:

    Oops, I should have read through all the comments. 350 for 10 min to reheat. Gorgeous! Thanks!

  27. Patti Kay says:

    I made these last night and should not have used a parchment-lined cookie sheet as I did indeed have a fireball in my oven when the grease ran off the pan onto the cooking element. Fortunately, I was able to save the meatballs which were delicious. I agree the mix would make a tasty grilled burger. My advice: use a jelly roll pan and always keep a BIG box of baking soda in your kitchen.

  28. [...] kudos to Melissa Joulwan at The Clothes Make the Girl for this kick-ass recipe called Bora Bora Fireballs which I served with her Calypso Confetti Cauliflower. Check out that photo above … [...]

  29. Kate Tonda says:

    These look delicious! Can’t wait to make – any suggestions on a veggie side to compliment?

  30. Sonya says:

    ZOMG! These are so Amazeballs! I can hardly wait till tomorrow to have them for lunch! I love, love, love the meatball thing because it’s so easy and portable for lunches. Half my family has copies of Well Fed thank to your awesome ideas, cook ups, prep techniques and incredible recipes. I think this will be one of our favorites! Can hardly wait for Well Fed 2!!

    I added some fresh, chopped ginger and a whole jalapeno (with a few seeds) because I do like spicy. It seemed a bit too “wet” for dipping in the pineapple juice so I didn’t. Did I maybe do something wrong there?

    Also found that I need to use the measuring spoon to make sure I don’t make the meatballs too big.

    Overall, DELISH!!! Definitely will become a staple in my “go to” repertoire!

  31. Jordanna says:

    one of my favorite recipes from Well Fed!

    I loved the PDF version of your cookbook so much I had to get the real thing so I could put my hands on it and soak in the pages.

    Can’t wait for Well Fed 2!

    • Mel says:

      That’s such a nice compliment… thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying Well Fed, and I’m super excited about Well Fed 2. Some really fun new recipes are coming!

  32. [...] night I made Bora Bora Fireballs from one of my favorite Paleo Cookbooks, Well Fed. They were delicious! The author, Melissa [...]

  33. [...] My favorite Paleo Recipe EVER: Bora Bora Fireballs.  I have probably made them 3 or 4 times, most recently last night, and each time they are so [...]

  34. Teresa says:

    These are so amazing! Thank you for this recipe. I can’t wait for Well Fed 2!

  35. Stephanie says:

    These are AMAZING! I love the sweet/spicy combo.

  36. Jen says:

    Any idea of calories?

  37. Whitney says:

    Just made these tonight…DELICIOUS! I’m so excited to heat them up for lunch tomorrow too. After reading all of the above comments…I am ordering your cookbook now :)

  38. [...] – borabora fireballs and confetti [...]

  39. [...] Perfect Round Roast with parsnips & turnips and kale or asparagus, Chocolate Chili, and Bora Bora fireballs with confetti [...]

  40. [...] times. And for lunch I’m having chocolate chili over spinach. I have two nights of leftover meatballs with green salad then I need to deal with dinner. Which probably means Chipotle, if we’re [...]

  41. sara says:

    We made these a few months ago for the first time but with ground turkey. They were delicious and a huge hit! However we tried making two batches yesterday, one with ground chicken and one ground lamb, and it was a meatball disaster. The chicken turned a very strange doughy consistency after needing an entire hour in the oven, and the lamb was sitting in a layer of grease the whole time, making them mushy. WE couldn’t serve them. The only thing I did differently was buy fresh pineapple rather than canned (we didn’t like the added sweetness of the pineapple wash so didnt need the juice), and I just chopped it up ultra fine. Any tips? It was so disappointing after all the work!

    • Mel says:

      You can’t use fresh pineapple. It’s too acidic and breaks down the meat — that’s why the recipe calls for unsweetened, canned pineapple. In the future, I’d recommend making them without pineapple or using a dried fruit instead, if you don’t want to use canned.

  42. Karen Phillips says:

    Or use mango or fresh peach.

    My DIL made these recently (w/canned pineapple, unsweetened she bought at Whole Foods)and they were incredible. We three ate 40 at one sitting.

  43. [...] Ingredients: Coconut, salt, cayenne pepper, pineapple, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, scallions, jalapeno, eggs and pork. Instructions here. [...]

  44. Frasier says:

    I don’t think there’s such a thing as sugar-free pineapple…

  45. [...] macadamias and cinnamon, or for making grain-free granola, smoothies, desserts, coconut butter, meatballs, coconut cauliflower rice, [...]

  46. Rory says:

    Made these tonight and they came out AMAZING. Great recipe!! Thank you :)

  47. Shari says:

    Mel, I am making these tonight and can’t wait! By dried ginger, do you mean powdered ginger from a spice jar? I’m going to see if TJ’s has dried ginger but I don’t think they do. I just want to make sure I’m using the correct ingredient! :)

  48. [...] declined the invitation but this time I think we’ll try to be more social.  We made these Bora Bora Fireballs and because I’ve been a horrible blogger lately, I totally forgot to take a picture of them.  [...]

  49. Kim says:

    My sister and I were just discussing our love for meatballs. Fifteen more meatball recipes, bring it on! When is Well Fed 2 coming out, we can’t wait!

  50. [...] recipe I was most excited to try was the Bora Bora Fireballs. I know some friends who have raved about these addictive things and I was anxious to give them a [...]

  51. Tina Bock says:

    Did these really come to you in a dream?

    • Mel says:

      It totally did. I woke up thinking about it… scribbled down a recipe… made it and it was AWFUL… kept working on it and finally landed on this recipe.

      • Tina Bock says:

        That’s awesome! They were amazing thanks so much. Sure fire way to get your kids attention – tell em you’re making Bora Bora Fireballs for dinner. :)

  52. Shelda says:

    Oh, these are just the cat’s meow! Everyone should have dreams that result in recipes like this! I made the whole recipe, and there’s only one of me, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how they taste tomorrow. Do they freeze well?

  53. Shelda says:

    Oops! I see you already answered that above. Good to know!

  54. Cristin says:

    Meatballs!?!?! OMG I LOVE Meatballs!! Oh boy Oh boy I can’t WAIT!!!! I also can’t wait to get home and make these little wonders with my grnd pork!!! WOOO HOOOO!!!

  55. Mary says:

    Seriously, every single recipe of yours that I make turns out INCREDIBLY, these were amazing! You have such a great knack for interesting, delicious flavors, Mel! You’ve helped me expand my palate like whoa :)

  56. Abbey F says:

    Excited for these for dinner tonight! We found you while doing our first Whole30 (I think we’ve done 4 now… about every 6 months we feel we need it to reset) and even though we don’t eat paleo or whole30 in the in-between times, the principles are always in the back of my head. This recipe has become a favorite! I make your mayo recipe constantly too :) Thanks!

  57. Meggin says:

    Holy yum, Batman! These are our new go-to protein snack. I make a bunch of them at the beginning of the week and we use them as a one-sie/two-sie on the go snack. I used 99% lean groud turkey and added some extra cayenne pepper for more spice. I didn’t need the pinapple juice to get the coconut to stick, so I kept it for my smoothies the next morning. Thanks for the satisfying flavor bomb!

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! Glad they’re coming in handy! (See what I did there?!)

      I really like using meatballs for grab-and-go eating, too. FLAVOR BOMBS!

  58. […] Bora Bora Fireballs Go cuckoo for coconut with these tropical-tasting pork meatballs. Ground pork has fewer calories and […]

  59. […] Inspired by Melissa’s Bora Bora Fireballs […]

  60. […] guess I have to share some of the recipes I used for my weekend feasting now. Bora Bora Fireballs http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2013/03/05/bora-bora-fireballs/ Sweet, spicy, porky. My paleo wondertwin, Hallie, makes these like a boss. And sunshine sauce goes […]

  61. Kathy says:

    after 2 hours in the oven, the outsides were burned and some of the insides still looked uncooked. I blame the French oven (and a bad Celcius conversion on my part) I’ve never used before, unless you have some other idea. The flavor was really good, so I am determined to make these again.

  62. Donna says:

    I sooooo want to try these, but I’m allergic to eggs, which I’m guessing are included to bind the ingredients. Any suggestions on a substitute, or am I destined to live a meatball-free life?

  63. […] two: Well Fed’s Bora Bora Fireballs with dried mango slices and a few […]

  64. Kim K says:

    This beautiful picture popped up in my facebook feed from Stupid Easy Paleo. Can’t wait to make them this weekend, they look and sound super tasty. :) And oh my God is your hair ever cute. Love it!

  65. […] spiced with cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla, salt, and pepper. For dinner I was planning to make Bora Bora Fireballs and I had a whole pineapple. So I sliced up some of it and sprinkled some cinnamon, cayenne, and […]

  66. Lori says:

    I’ve NEVER had meatballs that I’ve loved as much as these. They are so divine, in fact, that I will only cook them for myself – is that a bad thing? I just don’t want to share them. Selfish, I know, but holy moly they are amazing!! (And I actually HAVE shared them ;) )

  67. Lori says:

    oops, looks like i need to change my icon – back in the day when i baked bread. nowadays i don’t think you could pay me to eat bread. lovin the W30+ and WellFed.

  68. […] not forgotten about unoriginal Tuesdays.  Today I’m featuring Bora Bora Fireballs from Well Fed. These things rock.  Seriously.  And, they remind me of some place warmer, some place where there […]

  69. […] Bora Bora Fireballs Okay, so mine look more like sexy little A-cups than meatballs. I don’t mind, I’m into it. .social-icon{ display:inline-block; width: 120px; float:left; } Tweet Previous post: PhotoBlog: Winter Waterfall near Chiang Mai, Thailand […]

  70. […] Bora bora fireballs with sunshine sauce and roasted cauliflower.  I couldn’t find sugar-free sunbutter and […]

  71. Jinny says:

    I have had Well Fed for months now and just got around to cocking out of it this weekend and I wish I would have cooked these delishes recipes sooner! I made these today and I couldn’t stop eating them! I made Sunshine Sauce to dip them in and all I have to say is YUM-O!

  72. […] Jenny Arthur 140Kg/308lb Clean (Video)   Bora Bora Fireballs   6 Workout Rules to Ignore […]

  73. Bonnie says:

    I wonder if these would be doable with hamburger rather than ground pork. What do you think? I can’t really get any ground pork where I am — I live in India where, though they have pork, they don’t as a nation grind their meat, it seems, and I don’t have a meat grinder, but I can get ground beef at the US commissary.

    • Mel says:

      Sure! Chicken will also work. If you have a food processor, you can grind the meat yourself. Cut into slices, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes, then grind in food processor.

  74. Bonnie says:

    I had heard that, about the processor and meat, but I was afraid I’d end up with pate. Freezing a bit makes a lot of sense. Thanks! I do have a food processor.

  75. Thanh says:

    Does anyone know what the carb count on these are? They look amazing! And I just started a low carb diet.

  76. Salina says:

    I just made these for the first time from your Well Fed cookbook..
    AMAZE-BALLS! :)

    Thanks for the great recipe!
    Salina

  77. Michelle says:

    I made these yesterday and offered some to my friends and ended up having to hide them from them because they were eating so many that I wouldn’t have had any left. These are SO good. I ate one and immediately ordered your cookbook. :)

  78. Jayne says:

    These bora bora fire balls r awesome
    We love to have it as a family meal

  79. […] lots of new recipes that I gratuitously pinched from Becks’, including the yumtastic ‘Bora Bora Fireballs‘ and ‘Chocolate Chili‘ from the awesome ‘Well Fed’ and Becks’ […]

  80. Steph says:

    Made these with ground dark meat turkey, and they were delicious. Didn’t have a full 2 pounds of meat, so I added 1/4 c. of almond flour to “bulk” the meatball mix, and so I could form balls. Also omitted some of the spicy stuff because of various family members who don’t like spicy.

    We served it with a bastardized sunshine sauce (mac nut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, garlic powder, a touch of coconut sugar), leftover sauteed cabbage, leftover mashed sweets, and all was well. Thanks, Melissa!

  81. Anjelica says:

    Love these meatballs! Served it with sunshine sauce. I have both cookbooks in paperback, kindle and pdf. My four males (3 boys and my husband) love every recipe I have made. Except my husband is not a chocolate chili fan (he doesn’t consider that Texas chili, ha) My husband and I were both raised by parents that either traveled a lot internationally for work or lived overseas. Love the international feel of both books and all the lovely spices.

  82. Lynn says:

    10 minutes prep to make 40 dredge and roll meatballs? Do you have some secret? It took me more than 10 minutes to get the meat, juice, and coconut ready!

  83. Kelly says:

    I know this was posted some time ago, but wanted to leave feedback.

    I made these with the Sonshine Sauce last weekend and they were AMAZING. They’re in permanent rotation from now on. I made them for a pool party and seriously considered not serving them so we could hog them all for ourselves. Crazy GOOD!

  84. Pau says:

    Mel,

    I’m planning on making these tonight with the cocoa-toasted cauliflower… Any chance they can go in the oven together? I know one is at 400* and the other at 375*, but is there any way to adjust time?? I SO need a double oven!

  85. Lisa says:

    Unless I missed it here, I don’t see the the nutritional info posted. Can you tell me calories, carbs, fat, etc. please. These sound great and I want to make them! :)

  86. Dadi Shroff says:

    I find it nearly impossible to get canned pineapple in its own juice where I live .I do get canned pineapple in sugar syrup which I don’t really want to use. Freshly cut is easily available to me however. Do you think this recipe should work if I use freshly cut pineapple and no sugar added, preservative free pineapple juice from a carton ? I would like to stay within whole30 guidelines and for me that seems to be the only workaround.

    • Unfortunately, fresh pineapple doesn’t work in this recipe — it’s too acidic and it makes the meatballs fall apart. I’m sorry! You could replace the pineapple with diced fresh mango — I think that will work just fine. And don’t worry about the pineapple juice for the coconut step; the coconut will stick to the meatballs without it. Happy Whole30-ing!

  87. Kim H says:

    I am a huge fan of these- I will tell you, I triple the coconut flake recipe and save the rest for snacking or adding to other meals through the week. I recently did a sweet potato covered in pulled pork and the spicy coconut flakes on top completely made the dish. So. Good.

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