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Pesto Chicken Meatballs (gluten free and paleo)

  • Author: Katja Heino
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 small meatballs 1x




  • bunch of basil (leaves only)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, macadamia nuts, hemp seeds, or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional) (like this)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more if needed (my fav organic brand)


  • one pound ground chicken (thigh not breast)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or cassava flour (like THIS or THIS)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. To make pesto: blend basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, and optional nutritional yeast in food processor until you get a thick green paste.  While processor is still running, slowly pour in olive oil.  Scrape sides and add more olive oil until desire consistency is reached. 
  2. Preheat oven to 400′ F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper OR place a cooling rack on top of baking sheet.
  3. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl until well incorporated.
  4. Roll into 24 small meatballs ( I use a small cookie scoop to get uniform balls) and place onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until baked through and slightly golden. Be sure not to overcook. 
  6. Serve immediately with extra pesto drizzled on top.  Meatballs freeze well for later use. 


The nutritional yeast in my pesto recipe is to add a bit of a “cheesy” flavor.  It is totally optional.  If dairy is your thing, feel free to add a bit of parmesan cheese. 

I usually use almond flour or cassava flour in my meatballs.  You can sub 2-3 tbsp of coconut flour if that’s what you have.