Kung Pao Meatballs – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Juicy low carb meatballs with all the great flavors of your favorite take out dish, Kung Pao. Plus it’s just fun to say Kung Pao! A delicious guest post by Mellissa of I Breathe, I’m Hungry.

Low Carb Kung Pao Meatballs

For a second guest post while I am away, I enlisted the help of the beautiful and talented Mellissa Sevigny of I Breathe, I’m Hungry. Chances are you already know her blog well, but if you don’t…you should. She’s got fantastic recipes and I think I will dub her the Queen of Meatballs because she comes up with the most fantastic low carb meatball recipes. And she’s a sweetheart to boot. I am looking forward to meeting her at Blog Her Food in May! 

When Carolyn emailed me about guest posting for her over here on All Day I Dream About Food, I was equal parts nervous and excited.  Carolyn is the real deal, (you know this already or you wouldn’t be here)  and I wanted to make sure that I could live up to her high standards!

What terrified me the most is that she would ask me to post a dessert recipe.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, can hold a candle to Carolyn when it comes to creating crazy good low carb desserts!  In fact, if we were on Iron Chef America and it was a low carb dessert challenge, I would happily be the soux chef to Carolyn’s superior dessert genius.  And she would definitely win the whole shebang!

Low Carb Gluten-Free Kung Pao Meatballs

Now I’m not saying that I can’t bust out a decent cake when called for, but I tend to lean more toward the savory side of low carb over at I Breathe I’m Hungry.

That’s why Carolyn and I make a great team – I’m like the peanut butter to her jelly.  The bacon to her chocolate.  The cheese to her low carb cracker.  The….well, you get the idea.

So when I sent her the email asking her what she had in mind, I was nervous to be sure.  Imagine my relief her response suggested that I come up with a meatball recipe for you guys!  Carolyn obviously took pity on me and gave me an easy assignment, because when it comes to making meatballs – I got this.

I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything (sure I do), but I know my way around a meatball!  I love meatballs so much that I dedicated an entire day per week to them with my Meatball Monday series!   I have over 30 meatball recipes posted so far, with plenty more on the way!

Now that I had my assignment, and a long list of meatball concepts to choose from, I agonized over which direction to go in!   I finally decided to go Asian, because who doesn’t love Chinese takeout? I’ve already done the General Tso’s Meatball, the Pork Shumai Meatball, and the Chicken and Broccoli Meatball, so what to make over next?

After much deliberation, I decided to tackle the Kung Pao Meatball!  Kung Pao is a spicy stir fry dish of Chinese origin, that is traditionally made with chicken, and contains peanuts or cashews.

Low Carb Kung Pao Meatball Recipe

I chose to make these meatballs with pork, because ground chicken can sometimes be dry in meatball format.   I also used peanuts in my version, but you can easily substitute cashews if you have an allergy or a preference.

Finally, I would categorize these as mildly spicy as the recipe is written – if you want to turn up the heat you can increase the dried pepper flakes, or even use fresh hot chilis to really blow your socks off.

The final verdict?  Easy to make, yet loaded with exciting flavors and texture, this is one of my best meatball creations to date – definitely my top favorite in the Asian category at least.  I hope you’ll try them and let me know what you think!

A huge thanks to Carolyn for inviting me to guest post (and not asking me to make a dessert!) – it’s been an honor hanging out with you guys over here at All Day I Dream About Food!  Feel free to join us over at I Breathe I’m Hungry anytime – where hopefully I’ll convince Carolyn to return the favor and guest post with an epic dessert recipe soon!

Low Carb Gluten-Free Kung Pao Meatballs

Kung Pao Meatballs – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: Serves 4.

Kung Pao Meatballs – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Juicy low carb meatballs with all the great flavors of your favorite take out dish, Kung Pao. Plus it's just fun to say Kung Pao!


    For the meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground pork (or chicken or turkey)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce (tamari)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped scallions
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped peanuts (or cashews)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp light olive or coconut oil for frying
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp light olive or coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp thinly sliced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce (tamari)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar substitute (Swerve works well)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 Tbsp roughly chopped peanuts (or cashews)
  • 1 scallion, sliced


    For the Meatballs:
  1. Combine the ground pork, almond flour, egg, garlic powder, ginger, gf soy sauce, red pepper flakes, scallions, peanuts, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly and form into 16 meatballs. Heat the 2 Tbsp oil in a nonstick pan and fry the meatballs about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove the meatballs and set aside.
  2. For the Sauce:
  3. Wipe out the nonstick pan you cooked the meatballs in and heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about one minute or until fragrant. Reduce heat and add the water, gf soy sauce, vinegar, sweetener, xanthan gum, and red pepper flakes and whisk until xanthan gum is dissolved. Taste and adjust to your preference with salt, sweetener, or more red pepper flakes as desired. Add the peanuts, scallions, and meatballs back to the pan. Toss to coat and cook for about 2 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, you can add another tablespoon of water. Serve hot.


Approximate nutrition info per serving: 356 calories, 26g fat, 3.5g net carbs, 27g protein


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  1. Gretchen RS says

    This looks like a great dish to serve to my family along with a veggie stir-fry. I am trying to avoid soy. Would substituting coconut aminos for the soy sauce work?

  2. Robin says

    I love Kung Pao and I’ve made some of your meatball recipes and was wanting just such a recipe. This will be dinner tonight!

  3. says

    These look so good! Can you suggest a sub for the eggs and almond flour? Very difficult to be allergic to these two ingredients.
    Thank you, Donna

  4. Lisa says

    Made these, but sadly, I made a mistake. Should have made a double batch! These were so good, I had to stop and save some for my husband as well. Usually I change recipes to suit my taste buds, but in this case, I won’t change a thing.

  5. says

    My neighbor gave me a bunch of Turkey Burger patties, he said they weren’t very good. I knew it was because he tried just cooking them plain like a beef burger. So I got four of the 1/4lb patties, defrosted them, mixed in the ingredients and whipped-up the meatballs which were excellent! The Turkey Kung Pao mixture was kind of ‘wet’ so they couldn’t be formed into meatballs but I discovered a heaping 1/8th cup measure was about right for each ‘meatball’ to drop onto the oiled pan. Made some Mock Fried Rice (made with cauliflower) to go with it. 10 out of 10 would cook and eat again.

  6. AKATALCUL1 says

    I made these last weekend with a home-ground blend of 80/20 chuck and spam! Ha! My kids (3 teenagers) were completely blown away.

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