This week’s recipe is from contributor Michelle, who shares her recipes created for the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol.
It’s finally fall! Or so the calendar tells me. Truthfully, I don’t know the difference in Dallas, TX at this point. Our summer tends to extend into mid to late October, and it’s still in the 90’s as we speak. However, like many of us, I still get giddy over the seasons changing and have been eager to dive into fall ingredients like butternut squash, pumpkin, and apple!
The problem with fall cooking is that we tend to lean towards sweet treats before savory, nutrient dense meals. We reach for candies, sugary lattes, and decadent baked goods and find ourselves feeling like we need a hard reset by the end of the season, only to jump into more treats in the Winter. Here’s the thing… fall recipes like those with apples don’t always have to be sweet! That’s why I’m so excited to share these delicious apple chicken meatballs that feature healthy fat, protein, and vegetables all while still being a perfect fall dish. You can serve them as a main dish with something like a butternut squash mash, or as an appetizer with the optional fig bacon jam!
About the ingredients in the Apple Chicken Meatballs
Ground chicken– You can find ground chicken at most farmers markets, or request it at the butchers counter. You can also sub ground turkey, or use a food processor to grind the chicken yourself.
Apple– Apple gives these meatballs the autumn flare! I recommend using pink lady or honey crisp apples for these, but you can easily mix it up with other varieties.
Leeks– Leeks really compliment the flavor in these meatballs. You can also sub onion if you’d like, but I still recommend leeks as the first choice.
Coconut oil- Chicken can get a bit dry, so the coconut oil helps keep these meatballs moist, and bind them together. You can also use another solid cooking fat.
Parsley, sage and rosemary- These herbs really help make this dish even more savory. You can try to swap herbs for what you have on hand, but these produce the best flavor.
Optional Bacon Jam Ingredients
The bacon jam is completely optional for these meatballs, but it really add a fun flare if you’re serving them as an appetizer! Seriously, you’ll be the host or party guest ever if you bring bacon jam.
Yellow onion brings out more flavor in the jam. Dried figs give it sticky, jam consistency. You can also try to sub dates, but I would recommend soaking them beforehand. Apple cider vinegar & balsamic vinegar provides some acid, but the vinegar flavor is mostly cooked down. Maple syrup helps create the jam consistency. You can leave this out if you’d like, but your jam will be less sticky.
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 medium apple, peeled and finely diced
- 1 large leek, finely chopped (only the white part)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp ground sage
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
- 1 tsp sea salt
- FOR THE OPTIONAL BACON JAM
- 6-8 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 cup dried figs, chopped
- 1 medium yellow, finely diced
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Combine the chicken leeks, coconut oil, apple, and spices in a mixing bowl and thoroughly stir.
- Roll the mixture into meatballs (you'll have about 20) and place them evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
- Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes (rotating halfway) or until cooked through.
- Serve and enjoy!
- FOR THE OPTIONAL BACON JAM
- Place the bacon in a pot and cook on medium heat until slightly done, but not crispy. Transfer the bacon out of the pot, and reserve the fat.
- Using the fat from the bacon, cook the onion until translucent for about 8-10 minutes.
- While the pot is still on medium heat, add in the figs and mash them into the onion mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the cooked bacon, maple syrup, balsamic, apple cider vinegar and water and stir well to combine.
- Reduce the mixture on low heat for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is evaporated and the jam is sticky.
- Serve as a side with meatballs or store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
About Michelle Hoover
Michelle Hoover is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Blogger, and Podcaster at Unbound Wellness. After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in her teens and living with gut issues and food intolerances her entire life, she started her blog to share her holistic lifestyle tips and paleo/AIP recipes that helped her heal and thrive. Michelle believes that real food doesn’t have to be boring and loves sharing recipes that are both nourishing and fun. You can follow along on her Instagram and Facebook.