These dairy-free chicken pecan meatballs have an irresistible crunchy coating that’s naturally cheeseless, flourless, and breadless. The pecans help to seal in the juices while providing richness from healthy “fats.” And you can enjoy these meatballs as an appetizer or entree, because they go with a wide range of foods. Serve them with a dipping sauce and roasted vegetables or crudite. Use them in rice bowls with steamed or stir-fried vegetables. Or serve them atop pasta with marinara or a dairy-free white sauce.
Chicken Pecan Meatballs are Naturally Gluten-Fee, Dairy-Free, and Paleo
Pecans take the place of both breadcrumbs and cheese in these nutritious meatballs, but I know some of you will ask about additional substitutions. Here are a few options:
You can definitely substitute ground turkey for the chicken. Other meats, like beef or pork might overpower the pecans a bit.
Consider mixing up the spices. For more flavor depth, use smoked paprika in place of the paprika, or add lemon pepper instead, and possibly some oregano, to enhance the Mediterranean vibe.
Use another green in place of the spinach. If you don’t have spinach on hand, you can substitute a mild herb, like parsley, or another green, like kale. In a pinch, you can simply omit the greens.
This dairy-free Baked Chicken Pecan Meatballs recipe with photo was shared with us by AmericanPecan.com.
Special Diet Notes: Chicken Pecan Meatballs
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and paleo-friendly.
- For egg-free chicken pecan meatballs, see our Egg Substitute Guide. My top pick for this recipe would be 3 tablespoons of aquafaba.
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 egg (see post above for egg-free options)
- ¼ cup chopped spinach
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large bowl, stir together the ground chicken, egg, spinach, lemon juice, garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne (if using), and ½ cup pecans until well combined.
- Roll the chicken mixture into tablespoon-sized meatballs.
- Pour the remaining ½ cup pecans into a bowl. Roll the meatballs in the pecans to coat, and place them on your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through.