These delicious kale basil pesto meatballs are “company worthy.” I made them dairy and nut free so they are also Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) friendly. To really up the flavor, I used half ground chicken, half ground pork and fried them in coconut oil. Wow! You’ve gotta try it.
This recipe was inspired by the book “The Thyroid Connection” by Dr. Amy Myers. I adapted and altered the recipe quite a bit to suit my liking but all the inspiration came from her. She advocates for an autoimmune paleo protocol for anyone with a thyroid or autoimmune condition. If you think you might be one of those people, I highly recommend her books. She’s a wonderful resource.
If you are looking for other AIP friendly recipes, go here.
If you are not trying to follow a grain, nut and dairy free protocol, feel free to use whatever pesto recipe you enjoy. This one is fun because it has extra veggies hidden in it, but I also enjoy traditional pesto, arugula basil pesto and walnut pesto.
Hint: These kale pesto meatballs are so good they don’t even need the sauce! I’m not kidding, I ate them as leftovers plain and they were amazing. The key is taking the time to fry them in coconut oil. Messy. Time consuming. 100% worth it. I promise.
I put mine over spaghetti squash pasta because it’s nourishing, healthy, easy to make and tasty. But they would also be delicious over zucchini noodle or carrot pasta. Throw them in a crusty loaf of gluten free bread for a lunchtime treat or top them over a baked sweet potato. The possibilities are endless!
To store them, I put mine in the fridge. They only lasted 2 days. But you could also freeze them for later just do so with the sauce separate. Then warm them up together before serving.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
Kale Basil Pesto Meatballs over Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"
- 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt / sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
Kale Basil Pesto
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups baby kale
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 large bunch basil
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt / sea salt
- 1/2 cup cooked butternut squash / acorn squash optional
- First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cut squash cut side down into a dish filled with a bit of water. Cook 30-45 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and turn over to cool.
Kale Basil Pesto
- Heat 1tbs olive oil in a small pan. Add kale and spinach and cook until just wilted. Add to a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients and blend. Then taste and adjust salt as needed. The addition of squash makes the pesto smoother and a tiny bit sweeter but if you don't have any, it's not necessary. You will have extra, so store it in the fridge for 5 days or freeze it into individual servings.
- Meanwhile, make meatballs. In a bowl, mix all meatball ingredients. Scoop out into 2tbs amounts and roll into balls with your hands. Set on a baking sheet. I made mine small so they would cook relatively fast.
- Heat a large skillet with 2tbs coconut oil over medium high heat. Add meatballs in a single layer, not too crowded, to the pan (I used half of mine.) Cook until browned, then using tongs turn until all sides are browned, a few minutes each side. When nice and brown test to see that they are cooked through (I used a meat thermometer and made sure they were at least 165 degrees internally.) If not, turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook.
- After the first batch is done, move to a clean plate. Add more coconut oil (if needed) and fry up the remaining meatballs.
- Scoop out your squash with a spoon (will naturally shred into "pasta noodles") Add it to the pan where you cooked the meatballs, and warm it up stirring frequently over medium heat (this gives the squash some serious flavor.)
- Toss the meatballs into a bit of the pesto and place over warmed spaghetti squash.
- Serve warm.