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Chicken Meatballs (gluten/nut/dairy/corn free)

One day I wanted to make meatballs but didn't know what to eat them with. I didn't feel like pasta, or a sub, or Ikea sauce, so what else do you do with meatballs? The Barefoot Contessa made her chicken meatballs into Italian wedding soup (yum!). Instead, I thought I'd do a GF gnocchi in a pesto sauce. I had made her chicken meatballs before but adapted them to be gluten, dairy, and egg-free and they were amazing - you don't need the cheese in them at all. The secret ingredient is the sausage meat. So much flavour with so little effort is just how I like it.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: barefoot contessa, cheese, chicken, corn-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nuts, pasta, rice & grains, pesto, potato, poultry, sauces & dips, yeast-free
Servings: 2
Author: ness


  • 3/4 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 lb chicken sausage meat (I used sweet Italian basil)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (I thew a couple of pieces of day old bread in a food processor)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 cup parsley (finely chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 egg replacer (I use Ener-G brand)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)

Basil, Arugula, Walnut Pesto

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup baby arugula
  • 4 -5 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely grated hard cheese (I use Drunken Goat as mentioned above.)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Nuvo brand gluten-free gnocchi from Whole Foods
  • A handful of fresh arugula
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Crushed red peppers (optional)


Chicken Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together gently until just combined - do not handle too much or over mix. Gently roll about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into 1" balls (doesn't have to be perfectly round) and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Basil, Arugula, Walnut Pesto

  • Put the first five ingredients into a food processor and chop until finely minced. Add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time and blend until combined.


  • I used Nuvo brand gluten-free gnocchi from Whole Foods. It's very tasty, fresh and quick cooking. Cook the gnocchi in 4 litres of boiling salted water for 2 - 3 minutes. Drain and return gnocchi to pot on low heat. Stir through 2 tablespoons of pesto and a handful of fresh arugula. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and crushed red peppers (optional).
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Italian Wedding Soup recipe on FoodNetwork.com