If you search for meatball recipes on Pinterest you’ll discover a huge array of new recipes to try. Some bloggers are seriously creative when it comes to their meatball recipes and it inspired me to try to create something low carb but equally delicious. A benefit to using ground chicken (or ground turkey even) is that you could easily make these into burger patties instead and grill them for a sandwich, if you wanted. I’ve even made regular beef burgers and put them over a bed of fresh spinach for a twist on the traditional salad, but that’s another story. These chicken meatballs could be really versatile; they’re great absolutely plain on their own or with just a dash of hot sauce and a side of steamed veggies, over zoodles or regular pasta in marinara sauce, as a meatball sub sandwich (for the non-low carb crowd), on a salad or with toothpicks as an appetizer. I wanted to create a sauce to pair them with (hence the hot sauce and sour cream in the first photo) but I decided against it at the last minute. Regardless these are great!
I started by pre-heating the oven to 350°F, lining a baking sheet with foil and liberally spraying it with non-stick spray. You want to be certain these don’t stick/burn to the foil, so don’t be shy with the spray for this recipe. In my food processor I ground 1.5 servings (about 14 pieces) of pork rinds to a fine texture, yielding about 1/2 cup. Are you getting tired of hearing that I used pork rinds in recipes? I hope not; they are the best replacement for breadcrumbs and have zero carbs. It’s like a keto super food. I added some fresh ground sea salt and pepper to the pork rinds and set aside.
Next I finely diced 1/4 of a yellow onion. I tried to use my grater instead at first but it did not work out how I wanted. The closer to a minced onion the better so make sure to keep chopping. I also chopped about 1 cup of fresh baby spinach. The key to doing this easiest is to pick out similarly sized leaves (step 1, below) and layer the on top of one another. Roll the leaves as tightly as possible (step 2, roll even tighter than shown) and then chop in a chiffonade fashion (step 3). I continued to chop them until they were smaller, more manageable pieces.
Into my mixing bowl I added 1.75 pounds of ground chicken, the pork rinds, 1 egg, the onion and spinach. I also added 1 tablespoon of garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian herbs seasoning and 1 ounce of blue cheese crumbles. You can use your hands, but I used a rubber spatula to mix all the ingredients together until they were thoroughly combined but not overly mixed.
Next I rolled the chicken mixture into meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball. This recipe makes 20 meatballs that size, but you can make them larger or smaller depending on personal preference. I tried to make them as evenly-sized as possible with roughly equal amounts of spinach, onion and blue cheese in each. If you find your mixture is too wet, grind up some more pork rinds and add them before rolling into meatballs; I did not need to do that with mine.
I baked these for 30 minutes on the center rack. Since the temperature is only 350 they don’t really brown up. I like to add a little butter to a sauce pan and brown all sides before serving. Straight out of the oven is just fine, too, though. These are fork tender and juicy inside but still hold together wonderfully from the egg and pork rinds. The blue cheese is rich and the onions still have a little crunch, balancing each other out perfectly.
What ingredients would you like to see in a meatball recipe? Let me know!