Easy. Fast. Delicious. Who says you can’t have it all? Chicken Shawarma Meatballs go above and beyond, flexibly fitting into most meal plans and easily double as a main course or an appetizer. These tender (never dry) bites of perfectly-seasoned ground chicken get a big boost of healthy fats from my tangy, creamy tahini sauce.
Dieting is hard, y’all. You know me. I am not a weight-loss zealot – there is no “goal weight,” there is only happy and healthy. I believe in better living through better ingredients. (Plus the occasional pan of slightly undercooked brownies when you are having trouble being cooped up on snow days.) I want to feel better, so I’m trying to stay mindful and not become scale-obsessed but I swear, I don’t know how some of you do it.
I’ve kept up my water intake, increased my fiber, and yet the needle isn’t moving the way I thought it might. And it’s all snacks fault. I’m a big believer in family dinners, and weekend breakfasts, but otherwise, all bets are off. I graze. A lot. And it wasn’t until I stopped and counted my macros one day that I realized how quickly carbs can add up in foods I passively took for granted as a compliant snack.
I’m not advocating counting or tracking – you do you. But I’m just reminding us all that mindful eating isn’t the same as diligence.
So this one’s for all you out there trying to stick with it but dammit you just need a friggin’ quick and easy bite that won’t send you into a tailspin! I got you. Loaded with protein and healthy fats (well, the tahini dressing is, so do. not. skip. it.) and ridiculously tasty, these keto chicken meatballs are perfect as a snack, appetizer, or meal. But heads up – you’ll probably want to make a double (or hell, triple) batch, cause I suppose other people in your house need to eat too…
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- For the easiest prep ever, use a food processor.
- Feel free to use ground turkey, lamb, or even pork.
- Use fresh herbs for the best flavor. This recipe calls for a robust serving of both parsley and mint. If you hate the thought of fresh herbs withering away in the fridge, consider making a batch of cauliflower tabbouleh, which pairs perfectly with this dish.
- Similarly, ensure your dried spices are fresh. We don’t talk about this enough, so here we go – spices lose their potency over time, so replenish with a fresh stock as often as is prudent. I’m not a stickler, and oregano from 2018 isn’t going to kill you, but boy does it taste like nothing. Rub a bit of spice between your fingers and give it a good sniff – if the aroma is strong, your spices are still fresh. If it’s dull, time to restock.
What makes this recipe keto?
The majority of the clean, healthy fats come from the tahini dipping sauce – so don’t skip it! Extra virgin olive oil and tahini (sesame paste) help balance macros and are essential to making these chicken meatballs keto.
How to serve chicken shawarma meatballs
- As an appetizer, with tahini dipping sauce.
- As a main dish, over cauliflower tabbouleh.
- Stuffed into pita bread with tomato cucumber salad.
- Swap for chicken breast in chicken shawarma salad or bowls.
More meatballs with a twist
- Lebanese Kofta Spiced Beef Meatballs
- Ginger Scallion Pork Poppers
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Italian Meatballs (Whole30, Keto)
- Ranch Chicken Poppers
Did you make these chicken shawarma meatballs? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- Food Processor
- Cast Iron Skillet
- ½ c. tahini
- ¼ - ½ c. water
- ¼ c. olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Add the onion, mint, and parsley to the well of a food processor. Pulse 8-10 times until the herbs and onions are minced. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric, and red pepper flakes to the onion and herb mixture and pulse a few times to incorporate the spices.
- Break up the ground chicken into chunks and add to the spiced onion and herb mixture, then add the egg yolk. Pulse the mixture until the ingredients are completely incorporated into the ground chicken.
- Form the mixture into 18 1.5” (1 heaping tablespoon) meatballs.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add half the meatballs to the pan and brown on all sides, turning with tongs and gently shaking the pan to preserve their round shape. Remove the meatballs once evenly browned, then repeat with the remaining batch.
- Once all the meatballs have been browned, return them all to the cast iron skillet in a single layer, leaving a bit of room between each. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F using an instant read thermometer.
- While the meatballs are baking, prepare the tahini sauce. Place the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a blender along with ¼ cup of water to start. Blend on high until emulsified. Add additional water, 1 tbsp at a time, to reach desired consistency.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and serve immediately with tahini sauce on the size.
- FRIDGE: store meatballs and tahini dressing separately in sealed containers in the fridge. Reheat meatballs in the microwave for 40-45 seconds, or until warmed through.
- FREEZER: flash freeze the meatballs for best results. To do so, arrange the meatballs in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving a bit of room between each. Transfer to the freezer until firm, about 1 hour. Place the individually frozen meatballs into a freezer-safe storage container and store for up to 3 months. To reheat, place meatballs into a microwave safe bowl and with a plate on top. Microwave 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through.