Fennel Chicken Meatballs

Tinkering about in my kitchen one day with some ground chicken I found at the local grocery store, I thought I would give meatballs a try. Without binders like eggs and breadcrumbs (wheat and eggs are a no-go in my house) the meatballs may break apart; well then I can just crumble them up into meat sauce. Lo and behold, these fennel chicken meatballs worked like a charm.

Often, when one thinks of meatballs, images of bulky, brown clumps of beef swimming in red sauce come to mind; always within stereotypical proximity of spaghetti… Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pasta con polpetti as much as anyone. However, mixing it up for the spice of life is loads of fun.

As my family and I have been striving to eat healthy on a regular basis (even despite food sensitivities and allergy challenges). We are constantly on the lookout for healthier versions of things we love, for example: meatballs. A simple switch from beef to chicken makes a healthier version that is amenable to a vast range of flavour combinations.

You may see me talking on occasion about “using the force”; playing by intuition and proving more times than not that it’s better to be lucky than smart. This was one of those instances; and in the spirit of working with a net, I knew if the texture went south, the flavour could still work out as something else. These turned out perfectly firm and the flavour was such that we’ve paired them with a couple other dishes I’ve also posted here.

This simple fennel chicken meatballs recipe sets the stage for any number of dishes; pasta, appetizers for a pot luck affair, sandwiches. And all with just some lean ground chicken and some spices…. It’s refreshingly light, simple and quick; no need to mess about with fillers or binders.

marinara sauce and meatballs

Fennel Chicken Meatballs

Quick and simply delicious meatballs that make any dish just sing out.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Appetizer, Prepped ingredient, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 16 pieces

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl, baking sheet, oven

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
  • Lay out mixture onto a cutting board and form into a uniformly thick log
  • Cut the log into equal sized sections
  • Roll each section into a ball and place on a parchment papered sheet pan
  • Bake at 375F (on convection setting if your oven has it) for 25-30 minutes until a minimum internal temperature of 165F is reached.
  • Serve with your favorite sauce and/or pasta or by themselves as an appetizer

Video

Notes

As an afterthought, toasting the fennel seeds ahead of time would ramp up the flavour of the fennel here…
The lightness of these meatballs makes them compatible with either red or white sauce.
I typically use lean ground chicken and as a result, the meatballs turn out way less greasy.
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, meatball

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