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The Best Whole30 Kimchi Stew with Lion’s Head Meatballs

  • Author: Charlotte Smythe
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


Lion’s head meatballs are simmered in this rich and flavorful whole30 compliant kimchi stew. It’s the ultimate comfort food.




1 lb ground pork

1 tsp grated ginger

2 scallions, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp Chinese five spice

4 tbsp almond flour

1 tbsp arrowroot flour/starch

1 egg

1 tsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp coconut aminos

1/4 cup ghee, olive oil or avocado oil

Kimchi Stew

2 slices no sugar added bacon, chopped

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups prepared Whole30 compliant kimchi 

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp cayenne pepper, use less or omit and use paprika if you’re not a fan of a little spice

1 tbsp Korean Pepper flakes 

2 tbsp coconut aminos

1 cup water

1 cup mushroom or bone broth

2 scallions, chopped, with whites and greens separated


To begin, add all the ingredients (except the ghee/oil) needed for the meatballs into a bowl and use a fork to combine the mixture, do not over mix. Roll out the mixture into equal meatballs, makes 10-12 meatballs depending on how big your meatballs are. 

Heat the ghee or oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pot and sear them for 2-3 minutes on all sides. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set them aside.

Discard most of the oil from the pot and return the pot to the heat. Now, add the bacon, onion and garlic to the same pot and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the onion is tender. 

Now, add the kimchi to the pot, stir and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes. Mix the tomato paste, cayenne pepper, Korean pepper flakes and coconut aminos together in a small bowl until it forms a paste.

Add the paste to the pot with the kimchi and vegetables. Stir and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes. 

Now, to deglaze the pan, pour the water and broth into the pot and stir to lift up all the drippings from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and simmer the stew for 10 minutes. Uncover the stew, give it a taste and add a little more coconut aminos if it’s too acidic. Now, nestle the meatballs into the stew and scatter the whites of the scallions on top. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes to finish cooking the meatballs.

Remove the stew from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Uncover and serve with cauliflower rice and the remaining greens of the scallions. 

Keywords: Kimchi stew, whole30 kimchi stew, lions head meatballs