Go Back
+ servings

Whole30 Orange Chicken Meatballs

Whole30 Orange Chicken Meatballs are all that you love about a take-out favorite in a delicious bite. The sauce is so flavorful and will become a family favorite for dinner and even lunch. These delicious Paleo meatballs are grain-free, gluten-free, low-carb. Wonderful for meal prep!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: gluten-free, ground chicken, low-carb, meatballs, paleo, Whole30
Servings: 4
Author: Lora

Ingredients

  • MEATBALLS
  • 2 lb ground chicken
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut amino acid
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • SAUCE
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • ¾ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice from about 4 medium oranges, more to thin out sauce
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or agave nectar (omit for Whole30 cycle, fine for Paleo)
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil or any mild flavored oil you like
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest from the oranges before juicing
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger grated
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 chili peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • ½ cup scallions sliced, for garnish
  • cooked rice and sautéed snow peas for serving

Instructions

  • PREP
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with cooking spray; set aside. While oven is heating up, prep the ingredients.
  • Egg: Lightly beat the egg; set aside.
  • Oranges: Zest enough orange to have 1 tablespoon for the meatballs, 2 tablespoons for the sauce and 1 tablespoon for garnish (if desired). Squeeze enough orange to have 3/4-1 cup juice for the sauce.
  • Garlic and ginger: Mince enough fresh garlic to have ½ tablespoon for the sauce. Grate enough fresh ginger to have a teaspoon for the meatballs and ½ tablespoon for the sauce. A little trick is I have a container in my freezer with grated ginger. In a pinch, you could use ground ginger (but it’s not the same flavor complexity as freshly ground ginger).
  • Scallions: 1/4 cup for garnish (if desired).
  • MEATBALLS
  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, almond flour, ginger, garlic, egg, sesame oil, coconut aminos, and salt until evenly incorporated.
  • Roll meatballs into the size you prefer. Mine are approximately 2 inches in diameter (about 2 tablespoons each). This produces 20 – 22 meatballs. You can of course make them smaller if you like.
  • Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes, flipping halfway. When they’re golden brown and cooked through, remove pan from oven and set aside.
  • While the meatballs are in the oven, prep the sauce.
  • SAUCE
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, coconut aminos, coconut sugar (fine for paleo, not for Whole30), rice wine vinegar and orange zest.
  • In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add the oil. When it is heated, add the ginger and garlic (and chiles, if using). Cook for just a minute (the garlic and ginger should begin to soften slightly, you do not want the garlic to brown). Raise the heat to medium-high. Add in the orange juice mixture. Stir it all together and cook for 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot starch with 1/2 cup water until smooth. Next, whisk the starch mixture into the saucepan with the orange sauce. Lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer together, while continuing to stir so it doesn't clump, until it starts to thicken (should take 6-8 minutes).
  • If sauce is too thick, add a little bit of water (or a bit more of orange juice) while it’s simmering. Check the sauce, and add more coconut aminos or rice wine vinegar, if needed.
  • At this point, if you’re serving with snow peas, add a bit of oil (about 1 tablespoon any mild flavored oil)to a medium pan. When it heats up, add in the snow peas and sauté. Season with salt. In a few minutes (5 minutes max)they will be tender and a bright green color. If instead you are serving with broccoli, this is when you could steam the broccoli. Set aside when ready and finish the sauce and meatballs.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook together on medium heat so the sauce completely coats the meatballs and they heat up (should take a few minutes).
  • Garnish with scallions (if desired). Serve with snow peas or steamed broccoli or a side of cauliflower rice.

Notes

*I used ground chicken, but you could use ground turkey (or grass fed beef).
*I liked to bake these meatballs instead of frying in a pan. Line the pan with foil paper and you have one less thing to worry about cleaning up.
*The sauce will reduce to about half as it simmers. If you find that it gets too thick, you could thin it out with a bit of water or some more freshly squeezed orange juice.
*Orange juice-use freshly squeezed. The store-bought will have added sugar. So to stay low-sugar, stick with fresh.
*Double the sauce and freeze what you don’t use. You’ll have a delicious sauce ready to make with a stir-fry or to make this meatball recipe again.
*Spicy-you could totally spice up with sauce with some Thai chiles (or whatever spicy pepper you have on hand (I kept this mild for the kids).