Loaded Nacho Meatballs (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

loaded nacho meatballs low carb and gluten freeBefore I went low carb, nachos were always my favorite “go-to” snack. Perfect with beer (or without), they are great to share (or not) at a casual restaurant with friends, to nosh on while watching a movie on the couch, or just because. There is no end to what you can add to your nachos (black olives, tomatoes, red onions, scallions, green chilis, guacamole, etc.), but for me, it’s usually about the classics – cheddar cheese, salsa, jalapenos, and lots of sour cream.

So in my quest to turn some of my favorite foods into low carb meatballs, a loaded nachos version was high on the list. Especially since I needed a low carb vehicle to replace the tortilla chips that would normally carry all of that cheesy deliciousness into my face.

I’m thrilled to report that these meatballs worked like a charm, and satisfied all of my loaded nacho requirements!

loaded nachos meatballs low carb and gluten free

[pinterest text=”Loaded Nacho Meatballs (low carb and gluten free) – ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/nachoballs3small-670×950.jpg”]
Notes: I used ground beef since that is a typical nacho topping, but you could easily substitute 80% lean ground turkey in this recipe. To manage the heat, choose a salsa with a spice level that you enjoy – you can omit the jalapenos to tone them down as well. If you like it hot, add a couple of drops of your favorite low carb hot sauce to the meatball mixture.

loaded nacho meatballs low carb and gluten free 4

[pinterest text=”Loaded Nacho Meatballs (low carb and gluten free) – ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/nachoballs4small-672×950.jpg”]

These are quite nice on their own, but of course SO MUCH BETTER covered in more salsa, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos.  I’m giving you the nutrition info both “naked” and with toppings, just in case!

Loaded Nacho Meatballs

Yield: 16 meatballs

Serving Size: 4 meatballs

Loaded Nacho Meatballs

A low carb and gluten free meatball recipe inspired by my favorite snack, loaded nachos!


    For the Meatballs:
  • 1lb. ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp prepared salsa (sugar free)
  • 1 Tbsp pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa (sugar free)
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 16 pickled jalapeno slices
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream


    To make the meatballs:
  • Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly, Form into 16 meatballs. Saute in a large nonstick pan until golden brown and cooked through - about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  • To Serve:
  • Arrange the meatballs on an ovenproof dish. Top with about 1 tsp salsa, and 1 tsp shredded cheddar each. Place under the broiler for about one minute or until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, top each meatball with a dab of sour cream and a slice of pickled jalapeno.


Approximate nutrition information: per meatball naked: 81 calories, 6g fat, .5g net carbs, 7g protein per meatball with toppings: 93 calories, 7g fat, .8g net carbs, 7g protein 4 meatballs naked: 324 calories, 24g fat, 2g net carbs, 28g protein 4 meatballs with toppings: 372 calories, 28g fat, 3.2g net carbs, 28g protein

loaded nachos meatballs low carb and gluten free 2

[pinterest text=”Loaded Nacho Meatballs (low carb and gluten free) – ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/nachoballs2small-663×950.jpg”]

New to low carb Meatball Mondays?  Don’t miss these recent favorites, the General Tso’s Meatball, the Caprese Meatball, the Carolina BBQ Meatball, and the Green Chicken Enchilada Meatball, just to name a few!  Be sure to subscribe to IBIH so you can get new low carb meatball recipes delivered to your inbox every Monday!

New to the low carb lifestyle and need some help? Try my free 3 day kickstart plan to get into ketosis fast! Then follow it up with any of my 12 free weekly menu plans – complete with shopping and prep lists!
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  1. jennypenny says

    Yum! I love nachos! Can’t wait to make these. I just made your sun dried tomato meatballs for my lunches this week. Can’t wait for lunch today!

  2. says

    Love the idea of the nachos without the nachos sort of.. ;) This looks fantastic and I bet you don’t miss the carb one bit! (and having said that, I am very fond of my carbs so that is saying something!)

  3. Amanda says

    I made these tonight. They were yummy. We left off sour cream because it was not our cup of tea. The only problem was mine looked like a train wreck instead of the nice picture of yours.

    • says

      Trust me Amanda, if I didn’t have to style them for the blog photos, mine would have looked like a hot mess! :) Glad you liked them – thanks for taking the time to comment!

  4. Amber M. says

    I love these! I made them the other day and they were absolutely delicious. I saved the leftovers, took them to work, and nuked them in the microwave and they tasted good as new. I bought my almond flour in bulk at WinCo.

  5. Lacey says

    How did you all get these done in the middle? I cooked them at least 10 mins on each side then baked them at 350 for 15 mins… Still pink! We had to crumble them and fry it up. It was good, but I’m so confused on the cooking times. I made 16 small/medium ones, so I don’t think they were too big.

    • says

      Sorry Lacey, not sure why they didn’t cook through in that amount of time – it seems like it would be more than enough! Maybe your cooking temperature was a lot lower than mine – glad they tasted good at least!

  6. Agnieszka Schwarz says

    I made these last week and they were SO good!! I used 98% lean beef cuz it was a good price at Sprouts and I figured it would be more healthier than the 80/20. I compensated for the less fat by adding some extra salsa. My boyfriend absolutely loved them!! I will definitely be making these on a regular basis.

  7. Erec says

    I love this recipe. I actually like to use ground chicken instead. It is delicious. Today, I coated the meatballs with ground pork rinds to make them a little crispy. Delicious.

  8. Amy S says

    SERIOUSLY delish!!! The were a huge hit at my house with the littles and the bigs. I baked mine for 20 min at 350 and they were perfect. Skipped the pan frying cause meatballs always fall apart on me. Another fun thing I did was to make a cheese sauce by mixing and nuking cheese, heavy cream and salsa. Wow!!

  9. Brittani says

    Didn’t have all the ingredients (Salsa, almond flour, and I used ground pork due to that being the only thawed meat in my fridge) but when I stumbled apon this while looking through Pinterest I HAD to try it right away. They were PERFECT. An amazing Sunday lunch! I did have to pan fry them a little longer but I think I made them a little bit bigger in size, either way they were cooked all the way through before I put them in the broiler.
    Will have to make this again, and soon! Also, hopefully with salsa because it would be great with that as well!

  10. Maggie says

    So I got to the point in this recipe where I had to cook the meatballs 3-4 min. per side and, chagrined, I realized I couldn’t determine with any certainty how many sides a meatball has. I had a real philosophical moment there, over meatballs, and never did figured it out to my satisfaction. The meatballs came out great, but I’m curious… how many sides?

    • says

      It depends on how brown you want them Maggie and how chilled your mix is! I’ve found that when my mix is warmer they tend to flatten out with definitely only two sides. A chilled mix produces a prettier more uniform meatball, but unless you have enough oil in the pan to go almost halfway up the sides, I end up rolling them around on the sides to brown them for the photos making it more like almost 6 sides. But you don’t have to do that – usually when I refer to both sides with a cooking time in the recipe it just means two sides. Sorry for the confusion! Great question though! ;)

      • Maggie says

        Ok, philosophical quandry solved! (Incidentally, the perfect cooking time is ALSO roughly equivalent to the amount of time one might stare into space considering how many sides a sphere has.)


  1. […] 15. Loaded Nacho Meatballs These loaded nachos looked too good not to include on our list. Paleo guidelines say to nix anything dairy, and that would include the cheese and sour cream on these nachos. One workaround that we like is to head to the vegan section of the grocery store or health food store. There you’ll find suitable cheese and sour cream substitutes that won’t use any animal byproducts, so you’ll be in the clear. That way you can enjoy amazing meatballs like these without subjecting yourself to dairy. Or you can allow yourself to have meal or two a week that is not strictly Paleo. […]

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