These keto mozzarella stuffed meatballs are the perfect addition to your weekly menu. They are paired with a quick and healthy stovetop tomato sauce and are moist and delicious!
Baked mozzarella stuffed meatballs
These meatballs are succulent, juicy, and the perfect way to heighten any weeknight meal.
You can use your favorite kinds of ground meat, although my personal preference is mixing ground beef with something leaner like ground turkey/pork/chicken.
I absolutely love pairing them with my favorite gluten free pasta or eating them alongside mashed potatoes.
They are also fabulous on their own or can be paired with some cauliflower rice or cauliflower mash if you'd like to keep your meal low carb!
Why This Recipe
I wanted to create an Italian-inspired meatball recipe with authentic flavors that was still gluten free, easy to make, healthy, and delicious!
The ingredients you need for mozzarella stuffed meatballs:
You don't need very much to make these fabulous meatballs.
The stovetop tomato sauce is my absolute favorite, too but if you are pressed for time or want to use your favorite jarred tomato sauce instead, that's completely fine! 🙂
Here is what you'll need:
- Ground meat: I like to use a combination of ground beef (85/15 or 80/20) and chicken, but you can alternatively use ground pork or turkey, too.
- Olive oil: Avocado oil can be used as well.
- Onion: You can use white onion or yellow onion.
- Egg: The egg will act as a binder in the recipe.
- Parmesan: I like to grab a block and grate it myself.
- Almond flour: It is used in place of bread crumbs... it also provides a bit of moisture to the meatballs and help them stick together.
- Parsley: Fresh Italian leaf parsley is what I recommend.
- Basil: Grab some fresh basil... it's wonderful in the meatballs and the sauce.
- Black pepper: I like to use freshly cracked black pepper!
- Fresh mozzarella: You can find fresh blocks of mozzarella in the cheese section of your local grocery store. Do not buy pre-shredded.
Meatballs are wonderful. I love that I can throw them on a salad if I want to and eat them cold.
I may even try to re-create this recipe into an Italian-inspired hamburger patty. Can you imagine having a mozzarella stuffed cheeseburger? Oh my gosh.
I also enjoy that they freeze well. I simply store the sauce separately, and I've got the perfect quick to defrost meal when I'm ready for them again.
How to make baked mozzarella stuffed meatballs
Preheat oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
Slice mozzarella into 24 small chunks and set aside.
Mix together ground meat, oil, onion, egg, almond flour, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and pepper. Mix just until combined (over mixing will create tough meatballs!)
Divide meat into 24 even pieces. Wrap each piece around a piece of mozzarella cheese. Roll into a ball ensuring all of the cheese is completely covered by the meatball.
Space evenly on the baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. A little of the cheese may leak out of some of the meatballs, that's fine… there is plenty inside, too!
Remove meatballs from the oven, gently stir into the sauce (recipe is below on the recipe card) and let simmer on the stovetop for an additional 15 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and serve with your choice of pasta or low carb pasta.
I highly recommend using fresh herbs in this recipe... it makes a world of a difference in the final result!
What is the secret to tender meatballs?
I believe the secret to tender meatballs is having the right balance of fat to lean protein in the ground meat mixture.
This is why I recommend using (1) leaner protein like: pork, chicken or turkey paired with something fattier like an 85/15 or 80/20 ground beef.
These meatballs also remain tender from the egg, two different types of cheese, and the incredible sauce they are simmering in at the end.
How do I get my meatballs to stick together?
The ingredients in the meatball recipe that really help them stick together well include: almond flour, parmesan cheese, and the egg.
The egg acts as a binder primarily, but the almond flour and egg aid in keeping things together while remaining moist and tender.
Is it better to bake or fry meatballs?
I have actually never really tried frying meatballs. It seems like it could be messy.
The less of a mess I am creating lately in the kitchen, the better.
It's also really nice that I can multi-task and make the sauce on the stovetop, without anything sizzling and splattering next to it (while the meatballs bake in the oven!) 😉
More easy weeknight recipes you'll love:
One Pan Southwest Chicken and Rice
Keto Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground meat see notes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small white onion finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 24 even pieces, see notes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 garlic cloves minced
- 36 ounces crushed tomatoes see notes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter or ghee
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
- Slice mozzarella into 24 small chunks and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, oil, onion, egg, almond flour, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and pepper. Mix just until combined (over mixing will create tough meatballs!)
- Divide meat into 24 even pieces. Wrap each piece around a piece of mozzarella cheese. Roll into a ball ensuring all of the cheese is completely covered by the meatball.
- Space evenly on the baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. A little of the cheese may leak out of some of the meatballs, that's fine… there is plenty inside, too!
- While they are baking, prepare the red sauce. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add olive oil and heat through for another minute.
- Add diced onion and stir for 1 minute. Add dried spices (salt, pepper, and oregano.) Cook for another 4-5 mins until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Throw in the garlic cloves and sauté one more min, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomatoes and fresh basil. Let the mixture come to a low boil. Add the coconut sugar, stir, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add butter and let it simmer for another 7-10 minutes so all the flavors meld together. Taste for additional salt and pepper.
- Remove meatballs from the oven, gently stir into the sauce, and let simmer on the stovetop for an additional 15 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and serve with your choice of pasta or low carb pasta.
- Sauce: Feel free to use your own favorite red sauce of choice or grab one of your favorite jars from the store, i.e. arrabiata, tomato basil, marinara, etc.
- Ground meat: I like to use a mixture of ground chicken or turkey and ground beef (80/20 or 85/15 ground beef.)
- Mozzarella: I like to purchase a fresh mozzarella cheese block. It usually comes in a tightly wrapped plastic package.
- Crushed tomatoes: You can alternatively use diced tomatoes. If doing so, I like to run the sauce through a blender / immersion blender for a few seconds to make it less chunky.
Hi! I’m Monica – recipe developer, matcha addict and lover of all things chocolate, kombucha and any & all puns. I am also the blogger, real food lover, & bonafide hustler behind the blog ‘The Movement Menu.’ I’m so excited to welcome you to my happy space, where my appreciation of creative recipes and healthy & mindful eats come together to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced life.
The sauce was excellent!
Monica Stevens Le says
It's one of my favorites!