Paleo Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles
Paleo Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles is flavorful, grain free turkey meatballs cooked in marinara sauce. Serve over zoodles for a delicious low carb meal!
I’ve always loved my carbs a little too much. When I was younger, there was no such thing as a portion size for me, and I could eat my fill without gaining weight.
My husband and I both ordered a big plate of food on our first date, and we both cleaned our plates. He commented that I didn’t eat like most women, and I considered that a compliment. 🙂
Those days are long over as my metabolism has slowed since then. I’ve realized all the years of stuffing myself full of carbs has probably contributed to my gut disorder and GERD. Some people just don’t digest certain carbohydrates well, especially in large quantities.
These days, I eat more like a girl. I still eat grains, potatoes and a minimal amount of gluten-free bread, but I’m now a firm believer in portion size.
Wheat bread and pasta are pretty much out of my life now. I miss Dave’s Killer Bread, but I truly couldn’t care less about pasta. I’ll take spaghetti squash and veggie noodles over pasta any day, because they’re so satisfying and they don’t weigh me down.
These Paleo Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles is the perfect low carb comfort food that I crave, and it never, ever leaves me feeling deprived.
This recipe is from the book Paleo Power Bowls by Julia Mueller of The Roasted Root. I’ve been following Julia for years now, and love her wholesome, nutritious recipes.
Julia has been on her own gut health journey, which I’d read about on her blog before I knew what was going on with me. I’ve learned so much from her blog posts, and even more from her book.
I’ve never followed a Paleo diet religiously, but I’ve always embraced diets that encourage clean eating. This book is full of wholesome meals packed with fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and sustainable sources of protein.
Each and every recipe was created so thoughtfully with the right balance of protein, carbs, color and texture. The recipes are truly a feast for the eyes and they’ll make your belly rumble just looking at them!
The introduction to Paleo Power Bowls is packed with information on Julia’s history of gut ailments, her Paleo and low-FODMAP journey, why gut health is so important, and a slew of resources.
The book is broken down into the categories Breakfast Bowls, Dinner Bowls, Salad Bowls, Soup, Stew and Chili, and Dessert Bowls. Each recipe includes a label identifying the recipe as 30-Minute, AIP, low-FODMAP, One-Pot, Vegan, Vegetarian or Whole30, with a few adaptations.
I highly recommend Paleo Power Bowls whether you’re having gut issues, are following a specific diet, or you just want to prepare great tasting, healthy food. It’s truly a special cookbook that I’ll turn to week after week.
I have a huge thing for meatballs, especially when they’re made with ground turkey. The meat is nice and lean and it has so much flavor.
Classic meatballs normally contain bread or breadcrumbs to act as a binder, but these Paleo turkey meatballs include a combination of almond flour and tapioca flour to keep them grain free.
Just in case you’re wondering, the texture of the meatballs doesn’t suffer in the slightest. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed them and I’ll be making them on a regular basis. 🙂
How to make Paleo meatballs
Add all meatball ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until well-incorporated and the meat begins to ball up, or you can simply mix the ingredients together with your hands!
Form the meatballs into 1 1/2 – 2″ diameter balls and place on a plate. I used my 1 1/2″ cookie scoop because I’m severely meatball challenged. I thought this would help me get the ball shapes that I have trouble achieving, and I still had trouble.
Hey, they still tasted great!
Cook the meatballs in a skillet with a shallow layer of oil over medium high heat for 1 1/2 minutes per side, or until they have a nice sear on them. The meatballs should not be cooked through at this point!
Add the marinara sauce and cook for 20 minutes more or until cooked through.
For best results, make the marinara sauce up to 1 week advance as it becomes more flavorful as it sits.
Sub the marinara sauce with store bought sauce, making sure that it does not contain sugar.
Replace cooked zoodles with spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice.
Use store bought zucchini or other veggie noodles for a time saver!
Use half ground turkey and half turkey sausage for even more flavor. Be sure to check turkey sausage ingredients if you follow a paleo diet.
More satisfying low carb meals:
For the marinara sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey, such as Diestel brand
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Olive oil, enough to coat the skillet
For the zoodles:
- 3 large zucchini squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the marinara sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and sauté another 2 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the basil, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or longer for a deeper flavor.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chopped basil.
Prepare the meatballs:
- Add all meatball ingredients (ground turkey through parsley), except for the olive oil for the pan, to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until the ingredients are well-combined and the meat begins to ball up. Or mix with your hands!
- Form 1 1/2 - 2" diameter meatballs and place on a plate.
- Heat a 10" or larger cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Once the skillet is hot, carefully add the meatballs, but avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Cook for 1 1/2 minutes per side or until the meatballs have a nice sear on all sides. The meatballs should not be cooked all the way through at this point.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the marinara sauce to the skillet. Cover and cook at a gentle boil for 20 minutes or over medium low for 1 hour or until cooked through.
Prepare the zoodles:
- Spiralize the zucchini following the spiralizer manufacturer instructions.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
- Add the zucchini noodles and sauté, stirring occasionally, until noodles are hot and reach the desired amount of doneness, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve the zoodles with the turkey meatballs and garnish with freshly chopped basil or parsley if desired. Enjoy!
- This recipe is from the cookbook Paleo Power Bowls by Julia Mueller.
- For best results, make the marinara sauce up to 1 week advance as it becomes more flavorful as it sits.
- Sub the marinara sauce with store bought sauce, making sure that it does not contain sugar.
- Replace cooked zoodles with spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice.
- Use store bought zucchini or other veggie noodles for a time saver!
- Use half ground turkey and half turkey sausage for even more flavor. Be sure to check turkey sausage ingredients if you follow a paleo diet.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 426Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 700mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 24g
Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.