Recipe: Chicken Meatballs with Marinara
Learn how to make easy chicken meatballs with Marinara done Paleo! My mouth waters whenever I just think of this recipe because the chicken meatballs are so tasty and the marinara is rich, hearty and garlicky.
I’ve been obsessed with chicken meatballs lately because one of my favorite restaurants, Milo & Olive in Santa Monica, Ca added it to their menu. I find myself driving there unconsciously because I gotta have those beauties dripping in rich, garlicky marinara! Topped with some fresh arugula and shaved onion, they just couldn’t be more satisfying and nutritious! I’ve tried to recreate my beloved meatballs with this recipe. I only hope I did them justice.
I used my favorite tomato, San Marzano, for the marinara. You don’t have to, but any cook will tell you they’re the best. Why? Because they’re perfectly vine-ripened and come packed in pure tomato sauce instead of water. Well worth the extra cost in my opinion. But if you prefer fresh tomatoes, by all means, use them. You may need to add some tomato paste to thicken the sauce and cook it down for a lot longer!
Serves 4 to 6 | Prep 20 minutes | Cook time 1 hour
Meatballs (makes about 20)
- 1.5 lbs ground pastured chicken
- 1/3 cup nut flour (Almonds, walnuts, or brazil nuts will work. Nut flour is just ground up nuts in the food processor. OR use a mixture of finely chopped up cauliflower, celery, and onions – also works well for fluffy meatballs. OR use gluten-free bread crumbs)
- 1/2 small onion, diced small
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup of fresh, chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 eggs, whisked (for binding)
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- olive oil (for cooking)
- 1 28-oz can of San Marzano Plum Tomatoes in Sauce (or get any preserved tomatoes in glass jars – I sometimes find them at my farmer’s market)
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 oz of water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large diced onion
- 3 gloves minced garlic
- 2 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 Tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground)
- A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Garnish with fresh arugula and shaved red onion (optional)
Saute onions with the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remember, you can add any vegetables you like to the marinara to make it more nutritious – kale, zucchini, carrots, etc. Add extra veggies in this step.
Add the garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, tomato paste and stir together until incorporated. Pour in the can or jar of tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add it to the pan.
Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, uncovered. Stir occasionally.
Once sauce is ready, carefully pour it into the blender or food processor and puree until smooth or chunky, whatever you prefer.
Once your sauce is on the stove, preheat a large frying pan with few tablespoons of coconut or olive oil over medium heat.
Add ground chicken and all the meatball ingredients into a bowl. Mix all that crap together with one of your best kitchen tools—your hands! (You don’t need to beat the egg, just throw it in!) Gently combine all the meatball ingredients with your hands – do not over mix or your meatballs will turn out tough.
Roll into balls about the size of golf balls (better to err on the side of too small than too big).
Fry meatballs in a skillet until browned on all sides—gentle, or they’ll fall apart! You can even throw them in the sauce and cook for longer if you want them well done!
Serve the meatballs smothered in your garlicky marinara! Garnish with fresh arugula and shaved onion or shallot. You can also serve your dish over spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, kelp noodles or with a side dish or your favorite veggies. Make ’em Paleo!