Whole30 Meatballs with Zoodles and Roasted Garlic Marinara

August 26, 2019

Is there a rainy, snowy, or heck even average Sunday meal prep activity more soothing than rolling meatballs? Massaging the seasonings and eggs into the ground meat, hearing the squelching sounds of the ingredients combining into one, inhaling the Primal aroma of iron from raw meat, and then rolling the meaty mix into golf-ball sized circles one by one becomes a meditative task once you get into a rhythm. Spiralizing mounds of veggie noodles can take on a similar zone-out-and-churn-the-wheel type of calm (unless of course you decide to use already-spiralized veggie noodles. And we’re not mad at you if you do; we did, too, for this recipe.) 

While there’s comfort in repetitive kitchen tasks, making a marinara sauce that’s the perfect robust, acidic, bright counterpoint to the rich, aromatic meatballs can take up the good part of an afternoon—that is if you have the patience and palate of an Italian nonna. Slowly simmering a sauce made from sun-ripened peeled tomatoes, sweet onion and warmly spiced garlic, Mediterranean herbs, secret spices nonna sneaks into the pot when nobody’s looking, plus plenty of TLC, is a task we’re probably not up for most (or any?) weeks. Trust us: There’s no shame in taking help from a jar. Several brands make Sunday “gravy” that’s close to nonna’s (shhh… just don’t tell her). We think our Roasted Garlic Marinara fits that bill. Whole30 and Primal/paleo approved, this thick ruby sauce is studded with sweet bits of slowly caramelized garlic, and it cloaks our Whole30 meatballs with that slow-simmered homestyle Italian flavor you crave. 

Whole30 Meatballs with Zoodles and Roasted Garlic Marinara

Whole30 Meatballs with Zoodles and Roasted Garlic Marinara

Time: 53 minutes

Servings: 5*

*Recipe makes 20 large or 30 medium meatballs. One adult serving includes 4 large meatballs, or 5 medium meatballs. 


Whole30 Meatballs with Zoodles and Roasted Garlic Marinara

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed beef 85/15
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 long sprig fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup tigernut flour (or almond flour)
  • 2 eggs, whisked (can do an egg substitute, if desired. It will work.)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk 
  • 1/4 cup Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil
  • 1 jar Primal Kitchen Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil
  • 2 packages Cece's Zoodles


  • Preheat oven to 400ºF. 
  • Remove the Italian sausage from its casing and crumble meat into a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix all of the ingredients on the list, from the Italian sausage until the avocado oil, together until well combined.
  • With lightly oiled hands, roll the meatballs into the desired size.

Whole30 Meatballs with Zoodles and Roasted Garlic Marinara

  • To cook, heat avocado oil in an oven-safe saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the meatballs. Fry 5-7 minutes, until bottom is browned.
  • Turn meatballs to opposite side and fry until that side is nicely browned, another 5-7 minutes. 

Whole30 Meatballs with Zoodles and Roasted Garlic Marinara

  • When all meatballs are finished browning on both sides, remove from heat and turn off the stove.
  • Pour 1 jar of Primal Kitchen Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce on top of the meatballs. Bake meatballs and sauce in the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the zoodles until tender, about 6–8 minutes. Drain the zoodles well in a fine-mesh sieve or colander with small holes. Pat drained zoodles dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  • When the meatballs and sauce have finished baking for 15 minutes, remove from oven. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve the meatballs and sauce with the zoodles. Mangia

Whole30 Meatballs with Zoodles and Roasted Garlic Marinara

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories: 533

Carbs: 24.4 grams

Fat: 36.4 grams

Protein: 27.6 grams

Nutritional information calculated using Cronometer. 

You might also like these other easy-to-make Italian-style recipes:

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