Italian Meatballs with Ricotta (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

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ricotta meatballs

There’s nothing like the smell of homemade meatballs cooking in the kitchen, and these tender beef meatballs enhanced with ricotta, pecorino and other classic ingredients are no exception.

Yes, there are many different ways to make classic and traditional Italian meatballs, every family has their own cherished recipes. In my family I make them a few different ways, traditionally with soaked bread and breadcrumbs, a mix of pork and beef, fried, baked, I could go on and on but recently this has become my current favorite and neither bread nor breadcrumbs are added into the mix.


ricotta meatballs

Ricotta laced meatballs are so tender and flavorful, the taste is incredible and I promise you you’re not going to miss the addition of bread, so because of that ricotta meatballs are perfect for those on a low carb and gluten free diet.

pan fried meatballs

I like using organic ground beef which is 85% lean and 15% fat. I also prefer to pan fry them in a little olive oil after they’re formed. Pan frying allows them to become caramelized all over and form a crust which is a very important step that adds to the intense flavor, and there’s no need to cook them all the way through.

ricotta meatballs

The meatballs will be finished off in the oven along with a good quality marinara for them to bathe in, preferably homemade.

ricotta meatballs

You’re always going to treasure your own tried and true family recipes that have been handed down through the generations but it’s also fun to discover new favorites along the way, I hope you give these a try, they’re truly amazing!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Italian Meatballs with Ricotta (Low Carb, GF)
  • 1.5 lbs. organic ground beef, 85% lean 15% fat
  • 1 egg
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 very generous heaping tablespoons ricotta, look for a good quality supermarket ricotta, not the over the counter deli type which holds a lot of moisture.
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed or grated on a microplane
  • 1 large handful of grated pecorino romano and 1 large handful of Italian parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 good quality jar of marinara, preferably homemade
  • basil for garnish
  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together well. Before you form mixture into balls, fry off a little bit of the meatball mix, this way you can really check for the right seasoning. Sometimes you need more grated cheese, pepper, salt, parsley and this way you'll be able to adjust to your liking.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in a nonstick skillet and when oil is hot drop your formed meatballs into the pan and caramelize on all sides, no need to worry about cooking it all through, just make sure to get a nice crust all around.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  4. Spoon some marinara into the bottom of a casserole dish, add the meatballs, then spoon some sauce on top of each one as well.
  5. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
  7. Enjoy!




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  1. Hello Marie, I was watching an Italian Meatball video you made which was on your site with the 12 zucchini recipes. I didn’t find this basic meatball recipe posted on your site so I just made some quick notes based on the video, your meat vs qty of add ins is so important as your recipes are always so well balanced. I want to ask re: salt, do you have a go to salt (table or kosher) this recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt in the 1 1/2 lb meat. Please let me know, thank you.

  2. Marie these look delicious! If I prepare ahead of time can I freeze these meatballs? I am not sure because of the ricotta? Thank you

  3. Michelle Allen says

    Absolutely DELICIOUS! I’ve been looking for a way to eliminate bread in meatballs and this is it. Thanks, Marie. Your food is the best.

  4. Can you make some suggestions for the brand of ricotta?

    • Lori, any whole milk ricotta that is not behind a deli, like Belgioioso, even Trader Joe’s has a good one. I like to use that kind because it’s dyer and doesn’t hold on to liquid.

  5. thinking of making meat balls from a long time..and you have given me the idea of how to make this dish perfectly
    definitely going to try this..thanks alot 🙂

  6. Marie – I have my own family favorite recipe for meatballs that my mom always made. But I want to try your gluten free meatballs with ricotta. They sound and look delicious.

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