Primal Italian Meatballs

These Italian meatballs use a surprising ingredient to keep them grain-free.

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Meatball Recipe

I’m willing to bet that for many of us, spaghetti was a staple meal in our youth. It’s fast, easy, and filling so it’s usually a go-to for busy moms who just want to get food on the table with little effort.

One of the roadblocks for those switching from the Standard American Diet to a clean eating lifestyle like paleo is finding simple recipes that require minimal effort and don’t cost a small fortune.

As a mom who needs to feed 3 kids every night I am well aware of this problem.

Ready-Made Freezer Meatballs

I love to have ready-made food in the freezer so I can just throw it in the oven to reheat and eat. My favorite thing, aside from these meatballs, to make in bulk for freezing is the chicken nuggets that I use in our Takeout Orange Chicken and Sweet & Sour Chicken. If I don’t feel like making the sauce to go with it, we eat the nuggets with Honey Mustard Dip and a quick side salad. Done!

These Italian meatballs freeze perfectly and reheat quickly so you can be eating in no time. I like to make a triple batch so I always have some on hand. If you don’t have time to make a batch of homemade Paleo Spaghetti Sauce, our favorite fallback is Thrive Market’s Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce.

Grain-Free Italian Meatballs {paleo; primal}

Italian Meatballs

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Ground Pork Sausage, we use Jimmy Dean
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Dried Minced Onions
  • 1/3 cup Pork Panko, finely ground pork rinds
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese, fresh, not shelf stable (optional, omit for dairy-free)
  • 1-2 cups Paleo Spaghetti Sauce
  • Fresh Mozzarella, optional, omit for dairy-free


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except spaghetti sauce and mozzarella, in a large bowl. Combine (with a spoon or your hands) until completely combined and evenly mixed.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop (approx. 1 Tbsp in volume), scoop the meatball mixture into balls and roll to smooth with your hands. Place on the prepared baking sheet, almost but not quite touching.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until cooked through (if you press down on them, they will feel firm, not squishy).
  5. Remove from oven and transfer meatballs (with a slotted spoon) to an 8x8 baking dish. Cover with spaghetti sauce and add mozzarella on top (if using). Put back in the oven and bake, uncovered, until sauce is heated through and cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a side salad. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 1063mgCarbohydrates: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 21g

Nutrition is calculated by a third party and may not be 100% accurate

Please share:

    1. If you can’t find it or get ahold of it, you can smash up regular pork rinds. If you just don’t want to use pork rinds, I’m not sure. They are used in place of the breadcrumbs typically used in meatballs. A nut flour sub would probably hold too much moisture, but could be used (just use less than the recipe calls for).

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe! I was on a quest to look for a nut free, dairy free, grain free meatball and boy did your recipe deliver! I just left out the parmesan and upped the pork rinds to 1/2 cup. I also used all beef. There is someone who did not want to have salt so I did not add that. Only had the salt in the pork rinds. They came out so well and absolutely delicious. Moist, not dried out at all and plenty of flavor. Thank you!

  2. This recipe looks great and I’ll be making it soon!
    How many meatballs does it make using the scoop you mention and how many meatballs is in a serving?
    Thank you.

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