Low-carb, gluten-free and 100% delicious.
This low-carb cheesy meatball casserole isn’t your childhood spaghetti and meatball casserole: it’s a healthy take on a classic. Our healthier version captures all of the flavors you love about the original dish. To make this casserole low-carb (and gluten-free) we left out the breadcrumbs and pasta. We promise you won’t miss it, especially once you get a taste of the deliciously cheesy ricotta and mozzarella cheese topping.
Each serving of our low-carb cheesy meatball casserole has roughly 250 calories, just 4 grams of carbohydrates, and a whopping 50 grams of protein from eggs and ground turkey. Low in carbohydrates, high in protein and 100 percent delicious. What is not to love
Ground turkey makes a healthier meatball
Most meatball recipes use fat-filled ground beef, as well as breadcrumbs, crackers, or oatmeal to hold the meatballs together. The first thing we did to change things up with this low-carb, cheesy meatball casserole recipe was to trade in lean ground turkey. We bet you can’t tell the difference in the taste and texture of the meatballs, but this substitute saves a ton of fat and calories. Take a look at the comparison between the two:
For each 3-ounce serving of 80/20 beef (as per the USDA):
- 209 calories
- 13.5 grams of fat
5.9 Grams of saturated fat
- 20.4 grams of protein
- 71.4 grams of cholesterol
For each 3-ounce serving (according to the USDA):
- 120 calories
- 6 grams of fat
- 1.8 grams of saturated fat
- 16.5 grams of protein
- 59 grams of cholesterol
This low-carb cheesy meatball casserole is gluten-free!
The next thing we did to make our meatball casserole healthier was to skip the filler. When you have eggs and cheese, you really don’t need bread crumbs as a binder! The eggs will add moisture and a little fat to the lean turkey, which will make it stickier. Then the cheese fills in the gaps and holds the meatballs together with a cheesy network while baking.
Then we took a tough pass on the noodles traditionally served with meatballs. They can be a complex carbohydrate when using whole wheat pasta, but all pasta is high in carbohydrates. This low-carb cheesy meatball casserole fills itself perfectly so you can serve it yourself. Of course, it’s traditional to spoon the cheesy, cheeky meatballs over pasta so you can absolutely use them Zucchini Zoodles or Spaghetti squash instead. We also served it Cauliflower rice, and it was just as delicious, or you can keep things ultra-simple and serve the casserole with one Side salad.
The cheesy tomato sauce brings the dish together
The meatballs in this low-carb cheesy meatball casserole are the star, but the sauce really makes the dish glow. To keep this recipe low-carb, get your favorite low-carb tomato sauce. You can make your ownor get a low-sugar or sugar-free marinara sauce at the supermarket.
Look for tomato sauce or marinara sauce that contains less than five grams of sugar. If you look at the ingredients list, it shouldn’t contain sugar (or at the very end). It’s really best when ingredients are minimal, including only whole foods like tomatoes, onions, herbs, and spices.
Some of our favorite brands are Rao’s homemade natural marainara sauce (6 grams of carbohydrates) and Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (6 grams of carbohydrates).
- 2 lb Lean turkey or ground chicken
- 1 Cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 Cup onion rubbed
- 3 Garlic cloves chopped
- 2 tablespoon parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoon Italian spice
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt taste
- 24 Ounces Marinara sauce Low in carbohydrates, shaken
- 1/2 Cup Ricotta cheese
- 1/2 Cup Mozzarella shredded
- 3 tablespoon basil fresh, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make the meatballs by combining the ground turkey, parmesan cheese, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt.
Use your hands or a cookie scoop to shape the meatballs into 18 balls. Put them in a 13×9 baking dish.
Bake the meatballs until cooked for 15 to 20 minutes.
Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs and evenly spoon the ricotta cheese over the mixture. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella cheese and bake for about 10 minutes, until the sauce bubbles and the cheese has melted.
Take out of the oven and serve with fresh basil.
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 9
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