Paleo Riggie’s Sauce & Meatballs – Utica, NY

I just arrived in New York last night where I was born & my Grandpa still lives. I have so many memories coming up here from Scranton (home then) in my childhood. Cool summer days, terrible allergies, Brook’s chicken, spending time on my Grandpa’s large property, being at my (other) Grandparents restaurant, spending time with both sides of my family & so many other things. I am certainly very nostalgic about this area. I’m so happy to here visiting with my little family!

But they also have great food too! Did you know that half moon cookies originated from here? I grew up eating them (SO GOOD!) from Hemstrought’s bakery (now closed but still ships cookies). There are lots of local & many italian restaurants in the area. Oh the pizza? So good! Utica Greens is a thing too. Also have never tried it but maybe my next recreation!

But the recipe I created the other day is inspired by the dish chicken Riggies which also originates from here. I’ve actually never had it at a restaurant but saw a newspaper clipping with the recipe & decided to try it. I made it (modified for paleo) with chicken – that’s the original recipe.

The recipe below is modified further (still paleo) with meatballs instead of chicken & the sauce is a little different than the original Riggies but still pay homage to the original.

I hope you enjoy!

Paleo Riggies sauce & Meatballs

by Christine Block


1 lb ground pork (or whatever ground meat you have on hand)

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or so) (sub parmesan cheese if not paleo)

2-3 tbsp oil for frying

Mix everything together except oil. Form meatballs & fry in oil for 3 or so minutes on each side on medium low until done.


1/2 onion, chopped

1 pepper, sliced

handful of mushrooms sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp or so italian seasoning

1/4 cup apple juice

1 cup tomato sauce (I used pizza sauce)

1/2 cup coconut milk

salt & pepper to taste

Once your done frying meatballs (if you skipped the meatballs use 1-2 tbsp oil) start sauté’ onions on medium low in the same pan – sprinkle with salt. Let soften, 1-2 minutes. Add peppers sauté 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms sauté 2-3 minutes. Add garlic sauté for a minute. Add 1 tsp Italian seasoning & let simmer for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 c. apple juice and let cook for a minute or two. Add sauce – stir & let simmer for a few minutes. Then add coconut milk & let simmer until heated through. Serve with meatballs & over pasta or zoodles!


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