Making low carb keto meatballs without a starchy binder can be a challenge. Making keto meatballs with turkey instead of beef is even harder because of its lower fat content. But I find I like the less dense, less gamy flavor of turkey over beef. To each their own. The binder I use will work, whether you want to use beef, turkey, pork of any combination of those three. And Rao’s Marinara for dipping takes this over the top. It is a keto standard for being a very low-carb red sauce. Be sure to read labels! Rao’s Marinara is 4 net carbs for 1/2 cup while other sauces can be as high as 12-14 net carbs.
Keto Meatball Ingredients & Instructions
Ground turkey (or beef or pork or a combo), egg, crushed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), Kerrygold butter (if you’re using turkey), salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, chopped onions, freshly grated parmesan cheese, avocado oil for frying, Rao’s Marinara.
Use a food processor or blender to crush nuts. 1/4 cup is plenty. I used half almonds and half pecans.
In a mixing bowl, combine one (1) pound of ground meat, one (1) egg, the crushed nuts, 1 ounce of melted Kerrygold butter if you’re using a very lean meat, 1/2 t Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste, 1 t minced garlic, 1 T parmesan, and 2 T chopped onions (optional)
Shape your meatballs smaller than a ping-pong ball if you’d like to cook on stove. That is my preferred method during the hot summer months because it’s faster than the oven.
Cook on medium high heat in avocado oil. Cover for 5 minutes and then flip meatballs over, cooking until they are nicely browned.
Serving Suggestions for Keto Meatballs
Making any meal pleasing to the eye is part of the fun, and it adds flavor. So chop scallions to top your meatballs. Or saute peppers and spinach serve them on a bed of vitamin-rich vegetables. Extra parmesan is never a bad idea. Heat up low-carb Rao’s marinara for dipping. And make sure you leave yourself room for dessert. How about a Keto shake. If you already have a great blender, then you can whip up some Keto ice cream in barely a minute! This is the blender I have had for over four years…the single serving cups allow you to blend directly in them so you’re not having to wash the larger container.
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Questions that dominate ketogenic forums for beginners: Do you have a sample keto menu? What do meals look like? What do you eat? Newbies are rifling through contradictory info, dire warnings, food police who holler that keto is not 21 carbs/day, it’s only 20 (grrr!), fear, desperation, doctors who are unfamiliar with it, family members who’ve heard erroneous horror stories, and through it all, they are possibly experiencing the whole reason they ended up looking into the ketogenic way of eating in the first place … HOPE. Hope after years of failed attempts to keep weight off after successfully losing it. Read here why long-term calorie restriction does not work.
The first picture is chicken fajitas with full-fat sour cream and low sugar salsa. What makes it qualify as a keto meal? No gluten and therefore no tortilla. Low Sugar. The proper fats. Nothing highly processed, meaning not loaded with preservatives or concocted in a factory.
The second picture is a box of fat bombs and electrolyte replacements, because you must regularly replace them or you will get the dreaded Keto Flu, a nauseating, dizzying, headachy, fatigued state as your body goes through the switch of changing its energy source. When you eat lots of carbs, your energy source comes from those carbs in the form of glycogen. Eat more carbs than your body can burn, and even if those carbs come from healthy sources, the excess is stored as body fat. When you eat keto, your ingest very few carbs (but note all the veggies in the picture above). Your body is designed to find an alternate source of energy, and that is stored fat! Yay…that is why you hear incredible weight loss stories.
The third picture is ground beef, veggies, and marinara. What makes it a good addition to any sample keto menu? The beef is grass-fed which means cows are eating the proper food, not corn, and the result is meat that has the proper ratio of omega 3s and 6s. If your budget is tight, then buy the leanest cuts of meat you can afford, and add healthy fats back in when you cook it. Preservatives and hormones are stored in an animal’s fat, so you can improve your health by avoiding those. You will hear the term Clean Keto, which means you consider more than the macro ratios of fats to proteins to carbs; you consider the source and quality of those macronutrients as well. This meal also has very low sugar, gluten, and was coked with healthy fats that are not inflammatory.
For more beginner info on how to get going with Keto, please poke around the blog. I keep things simple. You can learn as you go! You may notice links to products I like… If you click and buy, I earn a small commission, but you do not pay one penny extra. Thank You!
Fear not! If you are new to keto, you can start in the simplest of ways. Look at the meal above. Fancy, eh? Not really. It’s chicken and sauce from a jar. Seriously. You need just a tad bit of knowledge about the macro goals, which means that about 70% of your calories should come from fat, about 25% from protein, and about 5% from carbs in the form of mostly green veggies and a few berries. In other words, Keto is a high HEALTHY fat, moderate protein, low carb way of eating…designed to switch your body’s fuel source from glycogen that comes from carbs we eat…to STORED FAT that comes from our butts and hips (what I affectionately refer to as my fanny pack). It is a metabolic state known as nutritional ketosis, NOT to be confused with ketoacidosis.
But you don’t HAVE to eat all the fat…so don’t go overboard. The fat ratio is a top limit of what you should eat. But so many people new to keto FEAR fat, as we have been misinformed for decades that eating fat makes us fat. SO wrong!
Terms you will hear as you learn… STRICT KETO: Sticking pretty tightly to the macro ratios. Eating clean food, meaning avoiding the processed stuff, avoiding the factory produced chemical sweeteners that are worse than sugar and STILL cause an insulin response. Using the healthy oils that do NOT have free radicals and are not sourced from corn. Good oils = avocado, coconut, olive, ghee, grass-fed butter, nitrate-free bacon fat.
LAZY KETO: it’s basically all of the above, but people do not track every single thing. I would think this is what you do AFTER you have tracked your macros for awhile and KNOW the value of what is going down the gullet.
DIRTY KETO: Adhering only to macros, not worried about source of food. Because keto has been so amazing for me in improving my overall health, energy levels, and reducing severity of depression, I am not a fan of dirty keto (beyond the fact that we all slide and err sometimes), because keto is for life. For health. It is sustainable. And for me, the goal is more than losing weight. Keto is for disease prevention. And there is no such thing as a beef and butter fast by the way, grrr. When you are ready for more detailed info on the keto way of eating, click here.
For the meal above , a few simple additions take a dish from plain jane to swanky, in this case olives and cilantro and fresh asiago. So do this:
Saute’ chicken, celery and onion in avocado oil with salt, pepper, garlic and a soy substitute like coconut aminos.
When chicken is nearly done, add marinara or arrabbiata sauce for some spice, fresh shredded asiago or parmesan, black olive and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
What is important in regards to Keto here? The oil and the sauce. Not all oils are created equal. Choose these for cooking: avocado, coconut, olive (not too high of heat), nitrite-free bacon greas, ghee, grass-fed butter (Kerrygold). Avoid: corn, canola, vegetable. And for the sauce: read the label! Rao’s is considered Keto because of its low sugar count. 4 net carbs per 1/2 cup compared to some sauces that are as high as 12-14 carbs.
Other super easy meals when you are new to keto and overwhelmed with dinner ideas: EGGS! They’re not just for breakfast anymore. Furthermore, while we’re touching on the subject of breakfast, you don’t HAVE to eat typical breakfast food. Think about what that means anyway: high carb cereal, donuts, pancakes, cream of wheat. Eat chicken of fish or cheese or whatever keto meal you want! These eggs are topped with low-sugar salsa and full-fat sour cream. Just a few berries, nitrite-free bacon, and avocados, which are high in fiber. Or add low-carb veggies cooked in bacon fat or butter! When you’re ready to take it up a tiny notch, try making a crustless quiche.
Dress up a burger by ditching the bun and adding sauteed mushrooms. I used tarragon on these for an amazing flavor. But parsley would do, or simply salt, pepper and garlic. The smell will have you salivating. These could top eggs as well. Add spinach for greens. And the Rao’s marinara again.
Simple Keto Sample Meal Burger on Spinach Bed with Marinara
And don’t forget dessert. Watch this video for a step-by step guide to making keto ice cream in minutes. You won’t believe it’s not…sugar! And subscribe to the youtube channel or this blog for more keto goodness!
You can also find yourself some dark chocolate. I use 85% Moser Roth bars from Aldi, melt a bit in a pan with Kerrygold, and sweeten with a bit of stevia. You can add sugar-free peanut butter, which would be a fat bomb, or dip strawberries into them, chill and eat.
If you’re new to keto, please poke around the blog. I am pretty much a newbie, so I cook simply and explain the basics so as not to overwhelm. I am THRILLED with how much better I feel on keto: so much energy, reduced depression, drastically reduced body aches and pains, and a slightly smaller butt.
You might notice a lack of ads and banners here, which I do so you can read uninterrupted, but you will see links to products I like, and if you click through and make a purchase, you will not pay one penny extra, but I will earn a wee commission. I appreciate it very much!
What do I do when I am not ketoing? I am an author. Harper Collins bought my first novel in 2010, and I have since put out an electronic version of Escaping The Tiger. Check out these reviews. Would love for you to read it. Cheers, Keto Warriors!