Paleo Meatballs Recipe

Natalie Perry | Perry's Plate

The key to this Cilantro Pesto Meatballs recipe? Its use of enchilada sauce.

Cilantro Pesto Meatballs Picture

Enchilada sauce, to me, is the real star of a big, steamy, drippy pan of enchiladas. Without it, you'd just have a bunch of dry burritos squished into a pan. And a lot of chafing.

But a pan of enchiladas is a big, giant carb commitment that you might not be willing to make on a regular day. And let's face it, they're a lot of work as well. Because I would pretty much eat anything covered in enchilada sauce, and I like short cuts, I figured meatballs would work.

Cilantro Pesto Meatballs Photo

They really do. Especially since these particular meatballs are stuffed with cilantro pesto. (Hence, the greenish hue. You weren't scared, were you? I promise I have good beef.)

Depending on how strict you are about your paleo meals, you could sprinkle a little cheese on them. Or serve them with Cilantro-Lime Quinoa (like I did). Spaghetti squash would work, too.

I used the leftover sauce from my Taqueria-Style Shredded Beef, which is pretty spectacular. If you don't have leftovers from other projects in your fridge, try making your own enchilada sauce!

Are you tired of the dinner routine?

Stuck in a rut or looking for fun new recipes to try?

Our Facebook Group is growing every day! If you haven’t joined yet, we invite you to come check it out and join the fun.


You can ask for recipe ideas, talk about cooking techniques, or get help figuring out the right new pan set for you. If you’ve already joined, invite a friend along!


Paleo Meatballs Recipe

    18 Servings


For the Pesto:
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 large Green Onions, chopped into 2-3 pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce
For the Meatballs:
  • 1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 10-ounce can Enchilada Sauce


  1. Remove a few pinches of the cilantro leaves and set aside.
  2. Put the rest of the bunch into the work bowl of a food processor along with the vinegar, garlic, onions, cumin, and salt. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped.
  3. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Add hot sauce, to taste.
  4. Place the ground beef in a medium bowl.
  5. Pour the pesto over the top with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix gently. Don’t squish the meat in your fists, but mix it gently with your fingers. Form meat into about 18-20 2-inch balls and place on a large plate. At this point you can cover and chill the meatballs until you’re ready to cook them.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour half of the enchilada sauce into a 9x13 baking dish. Put the coconut oil into a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. When the oil is hot, brown the meatballs on two sides (no need to cook through), and place them in the prepared baking dish. Work in batches, browning 4-5 at a time.
  8. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are done in the center.


  • 1 bunch of cilantro is a bouquet of leaves and stems that you can hold comfortably in your hands.

Cooking Method:
, , , ,
Related Recipes:
Paleo Recipes, Meatball Recipes, Dinner Recipes, Sauteed Recipes, Gluten Free Recipes
Recipe Yields:
18 meatballs
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Natalie Perry
Recipe Yields: 18 meatballs
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 meatball
Servings Per Recipe 18

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 79
Calories 123

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g
  Saturated Fat 3g
Sodium 75mg
Total Carbohydrate 0g
  Dietary Fiber 0g
  Sugars 0g
Protein 8g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Natalie Perry

About Natalie

Natalie embraced the Paleo way of eating slowly, over time, and you can read about it on Perry's Plate. These days she's downright in love with it. Check out her Paleo fanatic recipes, and you'll see why.

Show Comments