Italian Meatballs


Italian Meatballs

Mmm…meatballs. Ball of meat? Yes please. It’s official: we have closed on a new home and are moving out of our teeny tiny one bedroom apartment. This means more kitchen space and far more interesting spots to take pictures of my food. I actually found myself walking into each space during house hunting, evaluating the photography space. For my food. That’s normal. More exciting news: this Friday I’m attending TECHmuch Atlanta, a traveling food blog conference, because I WON a ticket! Guys, I never win anything. This has to mean my life is on some sort of upswing. I bought a house, I won a ticket to TECHmunch, and I’m headed to Napa on Sunday as  an advisory panel member for the National Pork Board. Hellooooooo wine & pork! So much nom. I’m looking forward to learning some good pork cookin’ tips to bring home to you guys. My current pork regimen includes 3 functions:

  1. Putting bacon into hot pan.

  2. Putting pork loin into slow cooker with onions and beef bone broth.

  3. Putting pork chops into slow cooker with sauerkraut.

That’s it. That’s what I do.But who cares about pork right now. We’ll care about pork next week. This week I’m making chicken and turkey meatballs because I’m cooking absolutely every morsel of food in my house before the move, and I almost always have the goods on hand to make meatballs.

If you’ve never made meatballs because you find them intimidating or you think they’re unhealthy or you just plain don’t like ’em [the latter I would question, but, you know, no judgement], try this recipe. Chicken meatballs have a really light flavor and they’re softer than your typical beef or pork meatballs. I also use turkey sausage to add a little fat. Fat = flavor and tenderness = perfect meatball. Don’t fear the fat.This is a really classic Italian meatball recipe. All I’ve done is swapped the beef and pork for chicken  and turkey and I’ve used oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs. Why? Because breadcrumbs are empty calories. Bread just sucks. It’s not real food. The bread you buy at the store has been processed to death. Foods like bread, pasta and crackers turn to straight sugar when they hit your bloodstream. You might as well grind up Twizzlers to put in your meatballs. Yeah, swallow that.

**If you see me at Jersey Mike’s inhaling a Classic Italian on white bread, please don’t hate me. Italian sub addiction is a disease.**

Back to oatmeal – the oats give the meatballs a subtle sweetness that I love. Oats are grains and while I try cutting them out where I can, meatballs need starch. Plain and simple. Paleo freaks, JUST TRUST.  I’ve put much blood, sweat and tears into making a grain free meatball and they’re just plain awful. Stop lying to yourselves! Your low carb meatballs taste like poop! If you really are grain-free, just use sweet potato to replace the oatmeal. I’ve actually been testing with it and it works like a charm – that recipe coming soon!

Ok so how do these meatballs fit into your meal plan? Consider 5-6 meatballs as one serving.

  • with Simple Tomato Basil Sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella for a mini meal

  • over zoodles, spaghetti squash or rice/quinoa noodles – regular pasta if you’re feeling naughty

  • pop 3-4 in your mouth as a snack on the go; add a banana for a post workout meal

  • slice in half and drop into chicken broth with fresh dill and sliced potatoes – seriously, try this!

  • have with Simple Tomato Basil Sauce and a side of mashed taters for a hearty meal

  • slice and eat over romaine, parmesan and caesar dressing

These keep for several days in the fridge and are perfect for weekend meal prep! With so many different way to eat these, you could eat meatballs every other night and not get sick of them.

Italian Meatballs

Author: Megan Kober, RDN, LD

Prep time: 25 mins

Cook time: 25 mins

Total time: 50 mins

Serves: 24 meatballs

A light, but hearty meatball made from ground chicken and turkey sausage.


  • 3/4 c gluten-free oatmeal

  • 1/2 c almond milk [any milk will work]

  • 1 lb ground chicken

  • 1/2 lb ground spicy Italian turkey sausage

  • 1/4 c grated parmesan

  • 1 egg

  • 1 T parsley, finely chopped

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp salt & 15 grinds of fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment or lightly grease a pan with cold-pressed canola oil.

  3. Grind oatmeal in a food processor to a flour consistency.

  4. Soak ground oats in almond milk for 5 minutes. It will get thick and sticky!

  5. Combine the remaining ingredients.

  6. Add in the oatmeal mixture and gently mix, using your hands. Because the oatmeal is so sticky, you’ll have to really squish it between your hands to incorporate it into the mix. Be cautious of overmixing – this results in a tough meatball.

  7. Form into 1 inch balls. “Pack” the meatballs with your hands – this helps to hold the ball together.

  8. Line meatballs on your prepared sheet pan.

  9. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing the meatballs.


To make this recipe grain free, use 1/2 c cooked and mashed sweet potatoes in place of the oatmeal.

Mix and match your meats. Pork sausage is a AWESOME in this recipe!

Go as natural as you can afford with your chicken and turkey – free range, organic.


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