Cheesy Chicken Parmesan Meatballs (low carb and keto friendly)




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chicken Parmesan meatball bake

Cheesy Chicken Parmesan Meatballs is a comforting meal that you can make low carb and keto friendly ~ or decadently carb-a-licious ~ with just a few tweaks, and switching out how you serve them.  

chicken parmesan meatballs in a cast iron braiser

This is my kind of meal…I couldn’t stop thinking about it from the moment I bought the ingredients. It’s been a while since I’ve made meatballs with ground chicken, and I really like how it lightens them up.  

What makes these chicken parmesan meatballs keto and low carb friendly?

  • Meatballs most often contain breadcrumbs in the mixture, which helps to give the meatballs a looser, more appealing texture.  I’ve substituted almond flour (you can also use Parmesan cheese) for the crumbs.
  • Tomato sauce is often laden with hidden sugars.  I’ve used a brand that I love that has no added sugar, Rao’s.  I love the Arrabbiata spicy version, which adds some zing to my casserole.  
  • I serve these large meatballs all by themselves, with a big green salad on the side, so there’s no extra carbs in the meal.
  • Meatballs made this way are a great way to get a delicious high protein satisfying meal if you’re cutting carbs.

 

chicken Parmesan meatballs with spoon

Grant and I are on a low carb kick (we’re both trying to lose a few pounds) and so we ate the meatballs naked. To clarify, the meatballs were naked, not us ;)  But if you’re ok with bread, I highly recommend these soft pillowy meatballs laid across a crusty roll, drenched with extra sauce, of course.

Why I mix my meatballs in a stand mixer!

mixing meatballs in a stand mixer

That’s right, I use my KitchenAid mixer to mix meatballs and meatloaves…why?  Because I’ve found that the paddle attachment, on low, combines all the ingredients more quickly, more thoroughly, and way more neatly than I can do with my hands.  Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

*This method works great if you want to make the meat mixture ahead ~ just pop a lid on your mixer bowl and stash it in the fridge.

 

making chicken parmesan meatballs

I got a little carried away and made these meatballs into a ginormous 1/2 cup size. I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the meat mixture and then rolled them in almond meal (or bread crumbs for regular meatballs) before browning.  My inner kid really loves giant meatballs :)

But you could definitely scale back if you like to a more normal size. The cooking time would be a little shorter in that case.  These could even be made into bite sized cocktail meatballs, just add toothpicks!

Adding tomato sauce to chicken Parmesan meatballs

The most important thing? Be sure to eat these chicken Parm meatballs straightaway while the cheese is still all gooey.

Seving from a large pan of chicken parmesan meatballs

How to serve chicken Parmesan meatballs low carb style ~

I like them the Italian way, served straight up, in little bowls. (I make a crunchy salad to go alongside.)

Over zoodles or other spiralized veggies.

Over mashed cauliflower

With green beans or broccoli

If you aren’t following a low carb diet, or you’re feeding a family or a crowd, I suggest serving the meatballs over pasta, or tucking them into a submarine roll, slathered with more of that sauce, of course.  

chicken Parmesan meatballs in a roll with wine

 How to freeze chicken meatballs 

  • After forming and coating the meatballs place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for 2 hours, or until firmly frozen.  Transfer to a heavy duty zip lock bag and remove any excess air as you zip it closed.
  • To thaw, transfer the frozen meatballs to the refrigerator and leave overnight.

How to reheat leftover chicken Parmesan meatballs

  • We found these meatballs reheated beautifully without any textural issues that we get with ground beef.
  • Individual servings can be reheated in the microwave.
  • For larger portions, cover with foil and heat in a 350F until warmed through.

chicken Parmesan meatballs just out of the oven

I’m meatball obsessed ~

chicken Parmesan meatball bake
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4.82 from 11 votes

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Casserole

Course dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
refrigeration 1 hour
Yield 8 servings

Equipment

  • a large casserole or cast iron braising pan

Ingredients

meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground chicken I used white meat but dark meat is fine
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 cup almond meal plus more for rolling (substitute more Parmesan cheese, or breadcrumbs for higher carb count)
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced (more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup grated onion
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil for brushing

casserole

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Put all the meatball ingredients, except the olive oil) into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend gently but thoroughly, making sure all of the components get evenly distributed.
  • Scoop out 1/2 cup amounts using an ice cream scoop if you like, and form large round meatballs. The mixture will be very moist, and that's fine. Place the meatballs in a single layer in a large baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour, or overnight if you want to make these ahead.
  • Turn oven down to 350F or preheat if the next day.
  • Lightly coat the bottom of a large baking pan with olive oil. Roll the meatballs in bread crumbs and arrange in a single layer in your pan. Brush the tops liberally with olive oil.
  • Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • Add your sauce to the pan and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  • Top liberally with the cheese, return to oven just until it melts. You can run it under the broiler for additional browning, but watch like a hawk so it doesn't burn.
  • Makes 15 large or 30 regular sized meatballs.

Notes

To make classic meatballs simply substitute bread crumbs for the almond meal.

chicken Parmesan meatballs pin

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10 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Christine Sialtsis
    October 16, 2019 at 5:10 am

    5 stars
    Hi Sue, would you have the nutrition facts for the chicken parmesan meatballs if you use extra lean ground beef instead of the chicken? I have an app
    where I track what I’ve eaten and would appreciate the information. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Billie
    October 9, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Sue, I’d love to make this recipe so it could just be reheated after thawing. Do you think it would work to cook the meatballs and place them in a foil pan and then freeze rather than freezing them uncooked? If that would work, would you put the sauce on them before freezing them or would you add it after thawing/before baking? What about the cheese? I know lasagne can be frozen and then reheated, but am not sure if these would work that way. (I need some freezer friendly meals for my daughter who just had her third child) Thanks in advance!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 9, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      I think you can do this just like lasagna, freeze the whole thing. Just wrap well. I think in the case of your daughter you’d want it to be as convenient and worry free as possible ~ congrats to you both!

  • Reply
    Tami
    October 9, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe. I have been eating low carb for years now and while I may drool over all your wonderful recipes I was never able to make them. Will we be seeing more keto/low carb recipes coming our way in the future? I would love to see some dessert recipes .
    And Cyndi… spaghetti squash would make a perfect side to these meatballs. Great idea.

  • Reply
    Lynn Rickman
    October 9, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Thanks, these sound delicious! Can’t wait to try several different ways.

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 9, 2019 at 8:15 am

    5 stars
    Thanks for a keto-friendly recipe. I love everything you share, but this is a decadent dish I can enjoy guilt free!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 9, 2019 at 8:44 am

      I’m trying to include more of my alternative diet readers Maria, glad you like this one!

  • Reply
    Cyndi B
    October 9, 2019 at 5:02 am

    These look great and would really go well with spaghetti squash!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 9, 2019 at 7:41 am

      That would be a fun meal!

  • Reply
    Triccia B
    October 9, 2019 at 4:39 am

    5 stars
    These giant meatballs look fantastic! I’m fascinated with the almond meal coating – I would have never thought of that. All that cheese, the vibrant sauce, I’m all in!