Gluten Free meatballs baked in the oven with gooey mozzarella cheese on top! Enjoy these Italian style meatballs cooked in a Low Carb marinara sauce, that’s great over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash!
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Oh how I love the smell of Italian food cooking in my kitchen! And who doesn’t love a great meatball parmigiana!?
Before Keto, I often made the typical “Sunday Sauce” (or gravy depending on who you ask!) and of course served it over some of my favorite pasta long fusilli, rigatoni or penne.
While I no longer indulge in pasta, I do still really enjoy a good meatball, Italian sausage or Beef Braciole. This is such a healthy Low Carb meatball recipe that will make you forget that you are on a diet!
With shredded mozzarella cheese over the top, they’re baked in the oven till the cheese is golden and bubbly. These are the best gluten free meatballs ever, and I promise you won’t even miss the bread crumbs! They are moist, tender and full of flavor!
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Low Carb Italian Meatballs?
- Grass-fed ground beef (I use 85%)
- Ground pork
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Low carb tomato sauce
- Heavy cream
- White wine (or chicken stock)
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil
How to Make the Best Keto Meatballs
The best way to make meatballs is to first bake them in the oven, then pan fry them. The reason I do it this way is because when you bake them first, they hold their shape better, so when you fry them in the pan, they don’t fall apart easily.
Another reason you want to also fry them in the pan, is because this where you get the best flavor for the sauce. Those little brown bits that any meat, chicken or pork leaves behind when you fry it, that’s like GOLD!!
Ok, so let’s start by preheating your oven to 400F.
Combine the eggs, heavy cream, 2 cloves of garlic, parmesan cheese and half of the basil in a bowl and mix well. The reason I mix everything first and add in the meat last, is so the meat does not get overworked and tough.
This method should also be used in making Keto Meatloaf, it really works out well and blends everything together much easier!
Lately, add in the ground beef and ground pork, then mix just until combined, do not over-mix.
Using an ice cream scoop, form the meatballs and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This makes the meatballs more uniform in size and helps them all bake evenly. And let’s be honest, much easier than digging your hands in the bowl each time!
They can get pretty sticky, so a little trick is to wet your hands every now and then, to make them much easier to form.
Bake for them 10 minutes or until firm enough, that they’ll hold their shape nicely.
Turn the oven off, take the meatballs out and transfer them to an oven-safe skillet that has a drizzle of olive oil in it. You want it to be oven-safe because once the meatballs are almost done, we’re going to bake them in the oven with lots of melted cheese over the top! Sounds amazing, right!?
Put the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and sauté the meatballs for a few minutes on each side to brown. See those brown bits I mentioned earlier in the picture below? That’s what is going to give tremendous flavor to the sauce!
Remove the meatballs from the pan and set them aside on a plate. Drain off most of the fat, then add in the rest of the garlic. Sauté for about 20 seconds, careful not to brown it. If it turns brown, it will give the sauce a bitter taste, and you definitely don’t want that, so watch it carefully.
Pour the wine into the pan to deglaze it, scraping up the brown bits. Continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated and reduced by half.
Stir in your Low Carb tomato sauce, the rest of the basil, salt and pepper (to taste).
Add the meatballs back into the sauce and cook (covered) for another 45 minutes on medium low heat or until they’re tender.
Now the most exciting part, well side from actually getting to dig into them! Preheat your oven to 425F.
Add the mozzarella cheese over the top and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden. Take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh basil and serve over zoodles, spaghetti squash or with some veggies on the side.
Tips to Make the Best Keto Meatballs
As I mentioned earlier, the best method is to first bake, then fry the meatballs. This will help them hold their shape and still give the sauce lots of great flavor. When I was growing up we always fried them in the pan, but we also used regular bread crumbs back them, so they held their shape a little easier.
Can You Substitute Almond Flour for Bread Crumbs to Make This Gluten-Free Meatball Recipe?
Sure you can, but this meatball recipe is made without breadcrumbs. It uses 1 cup of parmesan cheese instead and actually acts as the perfect binder, along with the eggs.
In fact, in recipes that use bread crumbs, like Chicken Parmesan, Zucchini Fries, Chicken Milanese or Mozzarella Sticks, I make my own gluten free breadcrumbs with a mix of almond flour, parmesan cheese and crushed pork rinds and herbs, which works really well.
There is also heavy cream in the mix, this is to keep them moist and tender.
How Many Net Carbs are in Keto Meatballs?
Each serving in this Keto meatball recipe, has only 3 net carbs. This includes a little sauce over the top, which is a must!
How Should You Store these Low Carb Meatballs?
Store them in the fridge for a few days, sitting in their sauce so they can continue to absorb the flavor and stay moist. This is one of those meals that actually tastes better the next day. Beyond a few days, you can freeze them and they’ll reheat beautifully!
More Keto and Low Carb Ground Beef recipes…
More Italian inspired Keto and Low Carb recipes…
Keto Meatballs Italian Style -Low Carb/Gluten Free
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef I use 85%
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 28 ounce can of low carb tomato sauce
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 cloves garlic minced & divided
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped & divided
- 1/3 cup white wine I use Pinot Grigio – or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for coating the pan
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Add eggs, heavy cream, 2 cloves of garlic, parmesan cheese and half the basil to a bowl and mix well. Add in the ground beef and pork and mix just until combined, do not over-mix.
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out mixture into your hand, form the meatballs and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Wet your hands periodically, to prevent them from sticking to your hands. Bake for 10 minutes or until firm enough to hold their shape.
- Remove the pan from the oven, turn the oven off and transfer the meatballs to an oven-safe skillet that has a drizzle of olive oil in it. Put the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and sauté for a few minutes on each side to brown. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set on a plate.
- Drain off most of the fat, then add in the remaining clove of garlic. Sauté for about 20 seconds, careful not to brown it. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up the brown bits. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the tomato sauce, remaining basil, salt and pepper.
- Add the meatballs back in and cook (covered) for another 45 minutes on medium low or until tender. Preheat the oven to 425F. Add the cheese over the top and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh basil and serve over zoodles, spaghetti squash or with some veggies on the side.