These Italian-style gluten-free low carb meatballs were inspired by my readers. Thank you, guys – I love hearing from you!
I’m running an email subscriber survey this week, and even while still waiting for more responses to come in, I’m already getting to know you better. (Have you subscribed yet? You can find the easy sign-up form at the top of this post – and you’ll get a free e-book, too!) One thing is clear: you want to see more low carb dinner ideas.
I’ve got plenty of low carb dinner recipes queued up, but I knew right away that I had to share these Italian low carb meatballs. I make these little beauties all. the. time. My husband and I love them. They offer a way to get my toddler to eat some protein, too.
Gluten-free meatballs are actually not so different from regular ones. Whether you’ve made one kind or the other before, the basics are the same. You just need meat, binders, seasonings, and moisture. And, I’m happy to share my tips and tricks with you!
For my version of low carb meatballs, I used a combination of grated Parmesan cheese and golden flaxseed meal for the binder. This pairing makes a delicious substitute for the boring breadcrumbs found in many meatball recipes. Besides, instead of the carbs you get healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.
Since flaxseed meal is so good at holding things together, you can get away with using just one egg. This is a big advantage, because too much egg can lead to dense and spongy meatballs. Not what you want! We need just enough egg for the meatballs to hold up, and in this case one does the trick.
If you don’t have golden flaxseed meal, know that the regular kind will work the same way, but the golden version has a milder flavor that you may prefer. Otherwise, feel free to use almond flour instead, using the same amount. Its holding power is slightly less than flaxseed meal, but overall it still makes an excellent substitute.
It goes without saying that herbs and seasonings are crucial to making delicious keto meatballs! This Italian-style version – chock full of Italian seasoning, parsley, and garlic – is my absolute favorite. Feel free to change it up with the spices you like best.
Either way, the amount of salt plays an important role. As a general rule of thumb, one teaspoon per pound of meat is usually the right amount. I used a little less (3/4 teaspoon) in this recipe, since the Parmesan cheese is also salty.
What else? You want your low carb meatballs to be juicy, right? The key is adding some kind of moisture (and the egg doesn’t count).
I used unsweetened coconut milk, but any milk you have (almond, dairy, etc.) will work great. You could even try heavy cream if you want extra rich keto meatballs with more fat.
Letting everything soak for a few minutes before adding the meat goes a long way in improving the texture of your meatballs, so don’t skip that step! Not only does it let the flavors develop, it also lets the moisture soak into the dry ingredients more thoroughly. Adding the meat last prevents overworking it by avoiding repeated mixing, which is also helpful in improving tenderness.
Finally, form the gluten-free meatballs as gently as you can. A cookie scoop like this one works best for this! (Even better, it comes in multiple sizes if you want bigger meatballs.) If you use your hands instead of a scoop, make sure they are cold and lightly covered in oil. This prevents sticking and ensures that the fats in the meat don’t break down prior to cooking.
Hooray for juicy low carb meatballs!
Gluten-free Low Carb Meatballs Recipe – Italian Style (Keto, Nut-free):
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Want more low carb, gluten-free Italian dinner ideas? Try these: