Chicken Florentine Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

Yesterday marked Day 1 of my 21-Day Sugar Detox! I gotta say, I feel like I must have done something wrong. It was a breeze! The day started with a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, half an avocado and some fresh salsa. A cup of hot coffee with a little full-fat organic cream was on the side. Lunch was a smoothie made of under-ripe banana, the other half of avocado, a small spoonful of almond butter, a teaspoon or so of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and some almond milk. It was a little toooo good.  I double-checked the “yes” food list over and over again to make sure I wasn’t cheating on accident.

I was craving a hearty meatball dinner and a florentine style popped into my mind… served over spaghetti squash, of course.  I’m still on that kick.

Chicken Florentine Meatballs with SpagSquash


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 pound chicken Italian sausage (I like Isernio’s brand in lieu of homemade)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Celtic sea salt (1/2 tsp for kosher)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Extra virgin olive oil

If you are making the spaghetti squash to go with it, get it in the oven first. Then start to prep the meatballs.  Directions for the squash are in the section below.

Combine all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a large bowl. Use your hand to mix thoroughly. As gooey as it is, there’s nothing better to make sure everything comes together.

Heat a large pan to medium-high, add in a fair amount of olive oil.  There’s not much fat in these meatballs, so you’ll have to compensate for it in the pan. Because we are going to finish these in the oven, we only need to brown the outside of each meatball.  On that note, if you aren’t making the spaghetti squash, be sure to have your oven preheated to 400 degrees.

Once the meatballs are browned on at least two sides, transfer them to a baking dish, cover and finish in the 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. If the squash isn’t done yet, I just make it share oven space with the meatballs. I had enough time to cool and prep by squash by the time they were done.

Chicken Florentine Meatballs |

With the squash, dinner took just under an hour to prepare. In the future, I’d like to see how these cook up in a Crock Pot as a time-saver.

If you’d like to make this with spaghetti squash in the style I made tonight, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Open and clean the squash. Lay cut-side down in a non-stick roasting pan. When the oven is preheated, roast for 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool cut-side up for a few minutes before harvesting the strands with a fork.

In the same pan that was used to brown the meatballs, toss in the thinly sliced onions and minced garlic at medium heat. You most likely will need to add a bit more oil to the pan too. When the onions and garlic have softened a bit and are taking on some color, add the stock. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. We want the stock to concentrate a bit.

Chicken Florentine Meatballs |

By this time the squash should be cool enough to handle.  Add the “noodles” directly to the pan sauce and toss to coat… just like saucing linguini with a light clam sauce. A couple turns in the pan, evenly distributing the sauce and it’s ready. Plate with the meatballs, top with fresh basil.

Chicken Florentine Meatballs |

Most importantly, these meatballs are toddler approved! Look at my little guy go!
Chicken Florentine Meatballs |

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  1. says

    These look delicious as is, but because of dietary restrictions (and no ground turkey) I had to make some modifications.
    I couldn’t have onion or Italian sausage so I used 2 lbs ground beef and up’d the Italian seasoning to 1-2 tbsp (just dumped so not sure). I didn’t have fresh spinach so I thawed and drained frozen stuff and chopped it up smaller. Followed the recipe as much as I could and it was delicious!
    Thanks for the inspiration for a delicious meatball that I could eat! :) My whole family (both littles included) enjoyed this recipe!

    • says

      I can’t tell you how many times that exact thing happens in my kitchen. So glad you were able to work with it and come up with something tasty for yourself and your kiddos!

  2. Emily Indigo says

    Just a tip to make this more user friendly: you do not need to brown the meatballs on the stovetop first. Arrange the meatballs on a nonstick baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 30 min., turning them over about half way through. They will brown beautifully on their own without the hassle of the additional stovetop step. Also, I just learned that over kneading the meat will create a drier and less tender meatball. I tried just minimal mixing by hand, just this evening, and the difference was pretty amazing

  3. Sue E says

    I substituted hamburger for ground chicken and almond flour for flax seed meal because I didn’t have those ingredients. Also put in a little extra spinach, cause you can’t have too much spinach.

    The results were awesome. The whole family loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Christine says

    I just made this for dinner last night. It came out excellent; I wouldn’t modify a thing! I will be putting this meal in the regular rotation. Thank you very much! I do recommend the squash, it was a wonderful compliment!

    • says

      Awesome!!!! I really liked this one too! I love putting spinach in meatballs–great way to sneak my kids their veggies :-) Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed it! Makes me smile :-)

  5. says

    This recipe looks amazing! I already have my 21 DSD meals planned for this week but I am adding this to next week’s meal plan! Thanks for sharing!


  1. […] 30. Chicken Florentine Meatballs We’re suckers for Paleo recipes that are made Florentine because that means there will be hefty amounts of spinach in them, which means we’re getting topped up on our vegetables at the same time we’ve got a mouthful of meatiness. They have these sitting on top a pile of spaghetti squash, so it’s doing a great job of bringing a popular dish of spaghetti and meatballs, but making it so no wheat gets harmed in the process. You flat out can’t beat the ingredients used on this as far as flavor and Paleo-readiness goes. […]

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