Triple the meat! Triple the flavor! These melt-in-your-mouth baked meatballs are loaded with ground beef, chicken, pork sausage and a flavorful blend of Italian-inspired herbs and spices! Serve them with your favorite pasta sauce or freeze a big batch for later for a quick and easy Keto, Paleo and Whole30 delicious protein-packed weeknight dinner!
What can I say? I love me some meatballs! Who doesn't? Meatball recipes are super fun to play with. Ground meat absorbs whatever flavors you mix into it, so it's basically a blank canvas to get creative with in the kitchen. The possibilities are endless when it comes to reinventing a meatball recipe! I have a quite a few creative meatball recipes floating around this little blog of mine, so I figured it was about time I create a more traditional Italian-inspired recipe. These meatballs encompass all of the goodness of a traditional Italian-style meatball. They're moist and loaded with that savory, robust goodness you crave from a delicious meatball while being low carb, gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free. They're the ultimate healthier version of a classic meatball, but no one will ever know the difference. They're just as mouth watering as their less nourishing counterpart! I promise!
- Nutritious Ingredients for the Best Healthy Italian Meatballs
- Possible Ingredient Substitutions for Baked Italian Meatballs
- Whole30 Compliant Ground Pork Sausage
- How to Make the BEST Ever Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Meatballs
- Serving Keto, Paleo & Whole30 Italian Meatballs
- Storing Homemade Meatballs
- 📖 Recipe
Nutritious Ingredients for the Best Healthy Italian Meatballs
- The Ground Meat Trifecta: aka ground beef, ground chicken and ground pork sausage.
- Almond Flour
- Kale: you know I had to sneak something green into the mix!
- Nutritional Yeast
- Dried Basil & Dried Oregano
- Italian Seasoning Blend
- Garlic Powder & Onion Powder
- Ground Sage
- Salt & Pepper
Possible Ingredient Substitutions for Baked Italian Meatballs
- The Meats: There are so many ways you can make this recipe your own and tailor it to your own dietary needs and preferences. Any of the ground meats can be swapped out for a different meat. Ground turkey is a great swap for ground chicken and ground venison or bison are great swaps for ground beef. I recommend using equal parts of higher fat ground meat and leaner meat. Doing so will eliminate the possibility of ending up with dry meatballs. The fattier meat will provide the perfect amount of moisture.
- Flours: I've found that swapping coconut flour for almond flour in most recipes makes little to no difference. I'm almost positive coconut flour would work just as well in this recipe. You could also swap out the almond flour for your favorite gluten-free panko. If you're on a round of Whole30 or avoiding grains, be sure to check your ingredients. While there are plenty of gluten-free panko options on the grocery store shelves, not all are Whole30 compliant or Paleo-friendly, so read those labels!
- Nutritonal Yeast: The nutritional yeast adds a hint of nutty, cheesy flavor to the meatballs while still being dairy-free and Whole30 compliant. If you can tolerate dairy, a good aged Parmesan is a great alternative to nutritonal yeast. It's also low carb and Ket0-friendly, if that's what your in to!
Whole30 Compliant Ground Pork Sausage
Finding a compliant ground pork sausage can be tricky. It's rare to find pork sausage without any sneaky sugars or weird food starches. If you cross paths with ROMA Italian Sausages (Mild of Hot) Links, stock up. While they do contain the preservatives BHT and BFA, those ones aren't exclusively off limits on a Whole30. I've purchased these sausages from Aldi & WalMart. For this recipe, I simply removed the sausage from the casings before adding it to the meatball mixture.
Alternatively, you can use unseasoned ground pork for this recipe. You'll just need to use more herbs and spices to account for the added depth of flavor that would have come from sausage. If using plain ground pork, use the listed conversions for the herbs and spices instead of the ones in the recipe card:
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried basil
- 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons onion powder
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
How to Make the BEST Ever Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Meatballs
You're going to LOVE how incredibly simple it is to throw these meatballs together! Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and lining a sheet pan with parchment paper. I pretty much always line my sheet pans with parchment paper simply because it's easier clean up! Next, prepare your kale. Rinse the kale, remove the leafy greens from the stems and give the leaves a good chop (you can toss the stems).
In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients. Using your hands or a heavy wooden spoon mix everything together gently but thoroughly. You want all of the meat, eggs, kale and dry ingredients to be well dispersed but avoid over mixing. As soon as the mixture comes together, stop mixing and begin rolling the mixture into meatballs.
Using a heaping tablespoon of mixture per meatball, with wet hands gently roll the mixture into about 20 equally sized balls. For fluffy, moist meatballs, avoid packing the meatballs too tight. You want the meatballs to stay together but still be light and fluffy enough to absorb whatever sauce you serve them with.
Place the meatballs on the sheet pan. It's okay if they're close together, but they shouldn't be touching. Last but not least, bake the meatballs in your preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes (flipping each meatball halfway through) until the meatballs are just cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees).
Serving Keto, Paleo & Whole30 Italian Meatballs
These meatballs are fantastic as is! They're a great grab-and-go meal prep option, but they're EVEN BETTER when simmered in a delicious tomato or marina sauce. If you have an Instant Pot, I can't urge you enough to make my Perfect Instant Pot Paleo Marinara Sauce. Not to like toot my own horn or anything but these meatballs and my sauce paired together make an incredibly flavorful meal worthy of being served in the finest Italian restaurants (*toot*toot*).
Storing Homemade Meatballs
If you won't be gobbling these meatballs up immediately, simply allow them to reach room temperature before storing them in an airtight resealable bag or container. You can store them in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. Whenever you need a quick and compliant protein, simply reheat the (thawed or frozen) meatballs in your favorite sauce for a quick, easy and nutritious meal.
These quick and easy Baked Italian Meatballs cover most of the dietary lifestyles; gluten-free, dairy-free, low carb, Keto, Paleo, Whole30, YOU NAME IT! -but don't let that deter you from making these if you couldn't care less about their "diet-friendliness." They're the best d*mn Baked Italian Meatballs regardless! This is the kind of recipe that brings together healthy and happy, and I'm all about it.
Did you make this? I'd love to hear all about it! Drop a rating and a comment below! Stay in touch with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest! I love when you tag me in all of your beautiful recipe recreations @paleoishkrista with #paleoishkristaeats! ENJOY! 🙂
PIN NOW! MAKE LATER!
HUNGRY FOR MORE DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS MEATBALL RECIPES?! I GOT YOU!
- Paleo Curry Chicken Meatballs
- Beef Kofta Meatball Kebabs with Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce
- Paleo Pumpkin Spice Turkey Meatballs
- Paleo Baked Blueberry Pancakes & Sausage Balls
Baked Italian Meatballs (Keto, Paleo & Whole30)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 pound ground pork sausage or links removed from casings
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup kale chopped
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon basil dried
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning like McCormick
- 1 tablespoon oregano dried
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sage dried
- tomato or marinara sauce optional
- Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Separate the kale leaves from the stem. Chop the leaves.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients. Using hands or a heavy spoon, mix ingredients together lightly but thoroughly. Make sure everything is well dispersed.
- Using a heaping tablespoon of mixture per meatball, roll the mixture between your hands into 2 inch round meatballs. Place the meatballs close together but not touching onto the lined baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes (turning halfway through) until cooked through (165° internal temperature).
- Serve as is or with your favorite tomato or marinara sauce!
- Store cooked meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
- Freeze cooked meatballs in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag for up to 3 months.
- Thaw and reheat before serving or simmer frozen meatballs in your favorite sauce until thawed and heated through.
- Serve with Perfect Instant Pot Paleo Marinara Sauce for an incredible Italian-inspired dish!
Let's stay connected! Before you head out, don't forget to subscribe! You'll receive monthly updates on everything that's been going down in my kitchen! No more, no less!