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Baked Chicken Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

Baked Chicken Meatballs In Spiced Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Healthy and delicious baked chicken meatballs in spiced tomato sauce can be served over mashed or baked potatoes, zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice or with regular rice or quinoa. A side of guacamole will add a nice Tex-Mex twist and you can also sprinkle them with some grated cheese if you tolerate dairy. This recipe is gluten-free, paleo and Whole30-friendly.



For the meatballs

700 g / 1.5 lb ground chicken meat (or chicken thighs without skin)
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tablespoons chopped coriander/cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika

For the sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups tinned diced tomatoes
Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro and lemon zest


Prepare the meatballs

  • Grate carrots and zucchini. In batches, squeeze the grated vegetables in your hands to remove excess juice and return the flesh to a large mixing bowl.
  • If using chicken thighs, cut them into smaller pieces and add to a food processor. Blitz a few times until ground up into rough mince. Otherwise, add the ground chicken mince to the vegetables.  Add the rest of the meatball  ingredients and combine using your hands, to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  • Roll the mixture into small balls, just a little larger than a gold ball, and set aside.

Prepare the sauce

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 355 F.
  • Sauté the onion in olive oil for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and stir for a minute. Add the spices and salt, stir through and then add the tomatoes. Stir together for a minute or so.
  • Add two-thirds of the sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish or a casserole dish. Place the meatballs on top and then spoon a tablespoon of leftover sauce on top of each meatball. Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes (less for smaller sized meatballs). Increase the temperature to 200 C / 400 F in the last 5-10 minutes.


AIP: As I mentioned, these chicken meatballs are Whole30 and paleo-friendly. For those following an AIP protocol or avoiding nightshades, you can omit paprika in the meatballs. Bake the meatballs drizzled with olive oil and lime juice, sans the tomato sauce, or prepare a simple broth made with sautéed onions, garlic, vegetable stock, bay leaf and some spices.

Ground chicken can be made with skinless chicken thigh meat using a food processor or meat mincer. Pork or turkey mince will also work in this recipe.


  • Serving Size: 3 meatballs and sauce
  • Calories: 367
  • Sugar: 6.3 g
  • Sodium: 1423.9 mg
  • Fat: 22.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.2 g
  • Fiber: 4.6 g
  • Protein: 33 g
  • Cholesterol: 150.5 mg
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