Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my favorite, go-to meals that I regularly make. It’s super fast and I know it’s always going to taste good.

Back when I was younger, before I started learning about nutrition and the food that works best for my body, I regularly ate pasta. I actually preferred spaghetti or any pasta dish without meat. Just give me a plate full of carbs please.

After I discovered zucchini noodles or “zoodles”, I was so happy to have pasta back in my life. Even though it’s not exactly like the real deal spaghetti and meatballs, it really does hit the spot for me. There’s something about a pasta dish that is just so comforting. But this version doesn’t end up giving me a stomach ache afterwards. Plus, you’re sneaking your veggies in!

These meatballs can be made with ground beef, like a more traditional spaghetti and meatballs or you could substitute ground lamb, chicken or turkey. There are no breadcrumbs in my version so this recipe is not only gluten free, but grain free as well.


zucchini noodles and meatballs

Zoodles have become so popular that I’ve been seeing them on restaurant menus more and more. Not only can you turn zucchini into a noodle, but butternut squash, sweet potato, beet and yellow squash are also great pasta alternatives. It’s so cool what you can do with food!

If you haven’t hopped on the zoodle wagon yet and want to try serving these to your family, I would suggest starting with half and half. So, half pasta and half zoodles. Then, each time you make pasta, swap out for more of the zoodles.

Italian Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

Gluten free, grain free, paleo, keto version of spaghetti and meatballs using zucchini noodles. 

Author Kendra Fredrickson


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 small yellow onion diced
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 jar no sugar added pasta sauce
  • 1-2 large zucchinis, spiralized into noodles


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Dice 1/2 of a yellow onion, mince the garlic, and chop the fresh parsley and add to a bowl with the ground beef.

  3. Add the dried basil, salt and pepper.

  4. Stir (I use my hands) all of the ingredients together until well combined and then form into meatballs. I usually get about 11-12 meatballs. 

  5. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a cast iron skillet on medium heat.

  6. Cook the meatballs in the cat iron pan for 1-2 minutes and then flip to the other side for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown on the outside. 

  7. Pop into the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

  8. Pour the jar of pasta sauce on top of the meatballs and simmer on the stop until warm. 

  9. Plate your meatballs on top of a pile of zoodles and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe Notes

*I like to use plain marinara from Trader Joes or Rao's. Both do not have any sugar added and very minimal ingredients.