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Oh my goodness, you need to make these Asian-inspired Whole30 and Paleo Orange Chicken Meatballs! There’s so much flavor in the Orange Hoisin sauce that this easy Paleo and Whole 30 meatballs recipe will quickly become your new favorite weeknight dinner! I like to serve them with steamed broccoli for a complete meal that’s Gluten Free, Paleo, and Whole30.
Orange Sesame Chicken (Meatballs) and Broccoli
You might already know that my Whole30 Orange Sesame Chicken and Broccoli recipe is one of my most popular recipes. Fun Fact: The first time I shared that recipe was back in 2015 on the Whole30 Instagram page! Since then, I’ve heard from a ton of people who’ve made it, and it always gets great reviews!
I think people really love all the rich flavors from the ginger, garlic, coconut aminos, almond butter, and orange juice. Honestly, it’s just a lovely finished dish.
So tonight, I wanted to recreate those flavors, but this time (with my daughter in mind), I made it into an easy, Whole 30 meatballs recipe!
So why did I make these Paleo orange chicken meatballs for my daughter?
Well, she’s just at the 18 month old mark, and has just come into that super fun phase where she refuses to eat pretty much everything. When I tell you that she doesn’t eat anything, I mean it. She mostly eats air, I think.
It’d make me unbelievably frustrated, if I let it, but I’ve been through this before. Breathe, Laura. Like all phases, it will pass.
So what I’m working on is justing finding one or two healthy things she’ll tolerate, and we go with that. For now, she’ll only eat a few things without putting up a fight and meatballs is one of them. Needless to say, we’re eating a lot of meatballs.
And really, I just love it when my kids eat and actually enjoy healthy, whole foods. So if she likes meatballs right now, I’ll cook meatballs!
Making the Meatballs
What I really love about this recipe is that it’s super, super easy to make! There’s really not even much chopping or prep work required!
- First, you have to mince the ginger and garlic, slice the green onion, and juice the orange.
- Then add all the meatballs ingredients to a bowl, and mix them well.
The Orange Sauce
Trust me, the sauce is totally the star in this dish. And isn’t it just extra awesome when something you love is made even a little easier?
For this recipe, I recreated my Whole30 Orange Hoisin sauce from the Orange Sesame Chicken recipe, but I made it just a little faster this time. And I decided to save myself a tiny bit of work and simmer the sauce at the same time as the meatballs. Here are a few other tips:
- The sauce should reduce by about half as it cooks with the meatballs, until it gets to be sticky and thickened slightly.
- If you find it’s reducing a little too quickly:
Squeeze some more orange juice into the pan and stir gently. You can also cover the skillet to keep it from reducing too quickly.
- This Orange Sauce freezes beautifully!
You can make it in advance and keep it in the freezer, or you can make in a double batch and freeze half for later.
Cooking the Dish:
- Form the meatballs in your hands into 2 tbsp balls
- Brown them in a skillet (It’s quicker than you’d think!)
- Blend the sauce ingredients, then pour the mixture onto the meatballs
- Finish cooking the meatballs and reduce the sauce at the same time.
- Steam the broccoli in a separate skillet
- Serve the meatballs with the broccoli, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, a little orange zest, and sliced green onions.
I guess you could call me the Queen of Paleo Meatballs.
Okay, I’m not sure that’s a title I really want, but I just took a quick inventory, and this is my FIFTH Whole30 and Paleo Meatballs recipe. That’s kind of a lot being that I’ve only been blogging less than a year. Too much, maybe?
I mean, I’m really not all that surprised, because there are endless ways to eat meatballs. Plus I think healthy, Whole30 meatballs are such a great, family-friendly dinner! So go ahead, I guess, and call me Queen Meatball. I’m starting to think it’s pretty fitting, actually.
If you’d like to check out my other Whole30 meatball recipes, just click on my Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs, Mediterranean Lamb Meatballs, Turkey Meatball Soup, and my Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash Marinara.
If you like these Meatballs, check out some of my other Whole30 and Paleo friendly recipes:
- Butter Chicken (Whole30, Low Carb)
- Asian Steak & Asparagus Kebabs (Whole30, Low Carb)
- Chicken Pad Thai (Whole30)
- Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry (Whole30)
I’d love to connect with you more!
Come find me on Instagram @cookathomemom, and if you like this dish, drop a star rating below!
Asian Orange Paleo Chicken Meatballs
Whole30 and Paleo Orange Chicken Meatballs served with perfectly steamed broccoli. It's an easy and delicious gluten free dinner!
Orange Chicken Meatballs and Broccoli
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 4 tbsp almond flour
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 cups broccoli florets about 2 heads
Easy Orange Hoisin Sauce
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 3 dates
- 2 medium oranges, juice only
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice seasoning
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 green onion sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp orange zest
Prep the Orange Sauce
Zest and juice the oranges. Set the zest aside for later, and add all the sauce ingredients to a blender. Blend on medium-high until well combined. Set the sauce aside until you're ready to cook! *You can do this in advance, if you'd like!
Make the Chicken Meatballs
Lightly beat the egg. Mince the garlic and ginger and zest the orange.
Mix all ingredients except the sesame oil together in a bowl. Cover and set the mixture aside for at least 10 minutes to allow the almond flour to absorb the liquid a bit.
Using your hands, form the mixture into balls, about 2 tbsp each. It should make around 12 meatballs.
Add the sesame oil to a large pan and heat it over medium heat. Add the meatballs in and brown them, about 1-2 minutes per side.
Pour in the Orange Sauce and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow the meatballs to finish cooking in the simmering sauce for about 5 minutes. Stir and turn the meatballs occasionally (see note below).
Steam the Broccoli
Add the broccoli to a large skillet with 1/4 cup of water. Cover and set the heat to medium-low. Steam for about 5 minutes or until bright green, then drain and season lightly with salt.
Assemble the Dish
Serve the broccoli in a large dish with the meatballs on top. Spoon any extra sauce from the pan onto the meatballs, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, sliced green onion, and orange zest.
*The sauce should reduce by about half as it cooks with the meatballs, until it gets to be sticky and thickened slightly, but if you find it’s reducing a little too quickly, squeeze some more orange juice into the pan and stir gently. You can also cover the skillet to keep it from reducing too quickly.
*The sauce freezes beautifully, so you can make it in advance or make a double batch and freeze half for later!