These low carb turkey meatballs are so easy and satisfying. They are compliant to a low carb lifestyle with all the comfort food feeling you need.
I love a good meatball 🙂
Nothing beats the traditional greek meatball recipe, my keftedes are sublime, that is true. I wanted to create a version that would keep the flavors I love without the carbs. I decided to use ground turkey this time. I find that ground turkey has little difference in taste from ground beef if you cook it right and season well. In order to add more depth and richness, I added small diced uncured pancetta in the meatball mix.
No need for breadcrumbs
It is hard to make turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs. Ground turkey has a lot of liquid, and the meatball can easily fall apart or be too sticky to form into a ball. The use of fine almond flour, grated parmesan, and one egg create the bond that keeps the meatball together.
If the room temperature is too warm and the meatballs are too loose to handle, a great trick is to refrigerate them for 15-30 min. That will make them more solid and ready for frying.
The meatball gravy
Normally I would make a creamy mustard sauce for these meatballs using a lot of heavy cream, which risked being too rich. I chose to pair these meatballs with a gravy-like sauce.
To make this gravy you need:
- Chicken stock.
- Heavy cream (only ¼ cup).
- Grated parmesan cheese.
- Coconut aminos or Worcestershire sauce
1. In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, almond flour, onion, mint, egg, cumin, mustard, garlic powder, pancetta, parmesan cheese, a generous pinch of salt, and a generous grind of fresh pepper. Mix with your hands (I usually wear plastic gloves when mixing poultry) or a spoon until all are well incorporated. Don't overwork it.
2. Scoop some meatball mixture and form it into a ball. (I like to use a medium ice cream scooper, it creates the perfect size meatball). Place meatballs on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 min if the room temperature is hot and they are too loose to handle.
3. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet at medium-high heat. Lightly fry the meatballs in batches and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes. Don't worry about being fully cooked, they will finish cooking in the sauce. Place browned meatballs on paper towels to absorb any oil.
Prepare the sauce.
4. In a deep sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp butter. Add the onion, season with a pinch of salt and sauté for 1-2 min until translucent.
5. Add the chicken stock, and season with salt, cayenne, ground mustard, nutmeg, and coconut aminos. Stir well. Add the grated parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Stir and simmer in low heat for 5 min.
6. Place meatballs in the sauce and simmer for 10 in. Make sure meatballs are cooked through. Remove from heat and serve.
What to eat with these turkey meatballs
I love pairing these meatballs with a cheesy cauliflower mash. It keeps the whole meal low carb.
If you are more relaxed about carbs, they pair very well with buttery mashed potatoes or crispy roasted potatoes.
The gravy is ideal for bread dipping if you want to go that route 🙂
To mix it up, instead of the gravy, you can try the meatballs with this delicious creamy mushroom sauce and low-carb fettuccine.
Tips & Tricks
- Ground chicken can substitute for ground turkey.
- Try adding Greek kefalotyri or pecorino instead of parmesan. You need a hard cheese for these meatballs, so cheddar, gouda, etc., are not ideal.
- You can use chopped basil for mint anytime.
- You can instantly have keto meatballs if you omit the almond flour and use keto-friendly chicken bone stock like Kettle & Fire. Chill the meatballs for 15-30 min to help hold their shape before frying.
- You can freeze them for up to 1 month. After cooking, allow them to cool. Transfer to a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for 1 hour. Place them in an airtight container and store them in the freezer.
You may also like
- This Greek herb chicken is also low carb and delicious.
- Briam the Greek ratatouille is excellent as a side or main course.
- The red kabocha soup with porcini mushrooms is light and has great depth of flavor.
- Soutzoukakia are delicious cumin meatballs in red sauce that can be enjoyed with a salad for a low carb meal.
Check out my Greek pantry staples
Cooked this? Rate this recipe! You can also leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!
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Low Carb Turkey Meatballs & Gravy
- Large deep skillet
- Medium ice cream scooper (optional)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- ½ onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 egg
- ½ cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- 2 oz pancetta uncured, diced small
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves minced
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1½ teaspoon coconut aminos
- 1½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ⅓ teaspoon cayene pepper optional
- olive oil
- finely chopped fresh mint optional
Make the meatballs
- In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, almond flour, onion, mint, egg, cumin, mustard, garlic powder, pancetta, parmesan cheese, a generous pinch of salt, and a generous grind of fresh pepper. Mix with your hands (I usually wear plastic gloves when mixing poultry) or a spoon until all are well incorporated. Don't overwork it. With the help of a medium ice cream scooper, form the mixture into meatballs. Place meatballs on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 min if the room temperature is hot and they are too loose to handle.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet at medium-high heat. Lightly fry the meatballs in batches and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes. Don't worry about being fully cooked; they will finish cooking in the sauce. Place browned meatballs on paper towels to absorb any oil.
Make the sauce
- In a deep sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp butter. Add the onion, season with a pinch of salt and sauté for 1-2 min until translucent.
- Add the three cups of chicken stock, and season with salt, cayenne, ground mustard, nutmeg, and coconut aminos. Stir well. Add the parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Stir and simmer in low heat for 5 min.
- Place meatballs in the sauce and simmer for 10 in. Make sure meatballs are cooked through.
- The recipe makes about 28 meatballs, about 1 inch each.
- If the temperature is pretty warm and you notice that rolling your turkey meatballs is getting messy, you can place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes or in the freezer for about 5 minutes to help firm them up. This will help the meatballs keep their shape better while frying.
- Serve meatballs over cauliflower mash, cauliflower rice, buttery mashed potatoes, or pasta if not low carb.
I lovea good meatballs and I can't wait to try your recipe. Living in Sweden, meatballs are a standard, and they are so easy to find at the supermarket (and such good quality!) that I seldom make them myself. I drastically lowered my beef consumption this year, so I've started eating less meatballs and your recipe here made with ground turkey is convincing me that maybe I should really start making my own turkey meatballs. Great sauce, too! Cream sauce is another Swedish classic and it's not something you can have every day.
Aditi Bahl says
Who can resist this one? I love meatballs, and your idea of meatballs in a gravy sounds great. The aroma of mustard and spicy is so inviting that I can't wait to try this.
A flavorful dish and definitely a perfect meal option. Looks delicious too.
Jacqueline Debono says
I love meatballs but have never made them from turkey or chicken. But I think they would definitely pair better with a creamy sauce than beef ones. This dish looks and sounds delicious. On my to make list for sure!
Yes, please! My Greek soul demands this dish on my table RIGHT NOW. Delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing. Let's connect 🙂 and make virtual dinners together!
Sylia from 30 days of Greek food
Jenny Skrapaliori-Graves says
Hi Sylia! Thank you! I would love to connect. I will dm you on FB x
Paula Montenegro says
These are stunning, and I love that you use almond flour to bind them together! I can't wait to try them. Great recipe!
GUNJAN C Dudani says
Just wow is what i want to say about this recipe. Anyone visiting this page must try it. Loved it.
I love this low carb meatball recipe. It's great for when you want comfort food that won't weigh you down.
Loreto and Nicoletta Nardelli says
These turkey meatballs look so juicy, tender, and so full of flavors! That gravy is great, too! Thanks for the tip on refrigerating the meatballs before frying!
Cory Varga says
A great recipe for those who are looking to cut down on carbs. Looks delicious and very easy to make!
The other commenters didn’t actually make this recipe or the stars would be less. First, the almond flour listed in the meatball ingredients was never explained when/ how to incorporate. I guessed based on other meatballs I’ve made with gf breadcrumbs. Second, the ingredient list states shredded Parmesan in the gravy. I used this and ended up with an unmelted glob of goo. I spooned it all out and added grated Parmesan and got better results. The flavor was delicious. I served it over rice. The process to getting there was not smooth and included too much guesswork.
Jenny Skrapaliori-Graves says
Hi Melissa, You are right about the almond flour. We updated the recipe recently and it was left out by error. We should have double-checked. The parmesan though is stated as grated. Based on your experience I should add a note to not use shredded if that is available.
Very glad you liked the flavor!
Thank you so much,