Smart Chicken Meatballs & Italian Dipping Sauce

For your parties and family get-togethers, why not serve a healthy but absolutely delicious version of the meatball appetizer? Everyone will thank you and so will your body!


1 1/2 pounds ground Smart Chicken

1 Tablespoon Montreal Steak seasoning grill seasoning

1 large egg

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Handful of chopped parsley leaves

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Add egg, half of the grated cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and a serious splash of extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl. Mix the meat, and with a small cookie scoop form into large meatballs. Place Smart Chicken meatballs on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake the meatballs 15 minutes until golden and firm.

Dipping Sauce:

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated cheese

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, or more

1/4 cup chicken stock, optional

Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded

1 loaf French or Italian baguettes, sliced, optional

Garlic olive oil, optional

  • While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and minced garlic and sauté until translucent in color, about 3-5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, crushed tomatoes, cheese and stir in the chicken stock, if using. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and simmer 10 minutes, adjust seasonings and add the torn basil.
  • Remove the meat from oven and loosen with a thin spatula. Add Smart Chicken meatballs to the sauce. Place meatballs and sauce in a crockpot or a chafing dish. Serve with thinly-sliced garlic French or Italian baguettes that have been drizzled with garlic olive oil and toasted in the oven on a cookie sheet until golden.

Note: You can make both the sauce and the meatballs ahead of time and freeze and then de-frost when ready to serve. Allow several hours for everything to defrost.

Note: If your budget does not allow, use grated Parmesan cheese instead of Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese.

Note: If you are in a hurry, use your favorite jar of Marinara sauce; add some cheese and fresh basil. I'm sure very few would ever know the difference. If they do, as the Italian say, "Just forget about 'em."