Chicken Meatballs with Garlic Kale Marinara (Whole30 Day 4)
Recipe type: Gluten free, Grain free, Paleo, Whole30, Chicken
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings (20 meatballs and 2 cups sauce)
These deliciously moist paleo & gluten-free chicken meatballs with garlic kale marinara are Whole30 compliant and contain two hidden vegetables!
For the garlic kale marinara:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and halved if large*
  • One 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3-5 kale leaves, stems removed and chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon coconut milk (optional, for a slightly richer sauce)
For the meatballs:
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
1 shallot, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated (I used one of the cloves from the head I peeled for the sauce)
  • 1 pound ground chicken
1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for salting the zucchini
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Start off by lining a strainer with paper towels and placing the grated zucchini inside.  Sprinkle with a little salt (less than ¼ teaspoon) and set aside.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over very low heat.  Add the garlic and cook, tossing occasionally to help it brown evenly, until the cloves are a deep golden color all over (20-25 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  To make the meatballs, place all the ingredients except the zucchini in a large bowl.  Squeeze the excess moisture from the zucchini, then add it to the bowl.  Mix everything together well with a wooden spoon or your hands, and let it sit for five minutes.  Then, use tablespoon measure to make heaping tablespoon-sized balls and place them on the prepared sheet.  Place the sheet in the freezer for ten minutes.
  4. When the garlic is browned, add the can of tomatoes and the kale to the pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Adjust the heat so that the mixture simmers, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Once the meatballs have chilled, remove the pan from the freezer.  Use a small spoon to sprinkle a little bit of the liquid from the sauce onto the top of each meatball (this step is optional, but it gives them nice color and flavor as they bake).  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned and sizzling.
  6. When the meatballs are almost ready, stir the coconut milk into the sauce, if using, and process it with an immersion 
or regular blender.
  7. Serve the hot meatballs with the sauce spooned over (on top of zoodles or cauliflower rice if you'd like), or stick a toothpick in each meatball and serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
*Check out this video on how to peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds.  You have to shake really hard, but it works!
Recipe by A Calculated Whisk at