Italian Chicken Meatballs


Gina's simple stove-top tomato sauce simmers while the meatballs bake so the entire meal can come together in under 40 minutes.

Italian Chicken Meatballs
Photo: Carson Downing
Total Time:
35 mins
6 cups


  • Olive oil spray

  • 1 pound 95% lean ground chicken

  • cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • ½ cup packed frozen riced cauliflower (3 1/2 ounces)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed with the side of a knife

  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil (such as Tuttorosso)

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • Hot cooked spiralized zucchini and/or pasta

  • Fresh basil (optional)

  • Grated Pecorino Romano (optional)


  1. For the meatballs: Adjust an oven rack to the second highest position and preheat the broiler to high. Line a large baking pan with foil and coat with olive oil cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl combine ground chicken, Pecorino Romano, cauliflower, parsley, egg, tomato paste, minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix with wet hands. Gently form into 12 meatballs using a scant 1/4 cup each. Transfer to the baking pan. Broil until tops are golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

  3. For the sauce: In a large pot heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium. Add the crushed garlic and cook until golden. Carefully add crushed tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, the bay leaf, and, if using, crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.

  4. Gently add meatballs to the pot of sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until meatballs are tender and cooked through (165°F), about 10 minutes more. Discard bay leaf. Serve meatballs and sauce over spiralized zucchini and/or pasta. If desired, garnish with basil and additional Pecorino Romano. Serves 4.


Gina recommends ground chicken with a bit of fat (5 percent). Using all breast meat can result in dry meatballs. Also, you can make a double batch and freeze the rest!


Spiralize the zucchini and place in a medium bowl. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

349 Calories
16g Fat
23g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 349
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 156mg 52%
Sodium 1165mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 54.3mg 272%
Calcium 157mg 12%
Iron 3.1mg 17%
Potassium 935mg 20%
Folate, total 39.6mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.9mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.8mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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