My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP]

Made with a mix of beef and pork, fresh basil, aged parmesan, and plenty of seasonings, My Favorite Meatballs are a delicious, make-ahead dinner that is just as good to serve to company as they are for the weeknight family meal. Best of all, this easy recipe is both Low FODMAP and Gluten Free!

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My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

I absolutely love Italian-style meatballs. Whether they top a pile of spaghetti or are tucked into a toasted roll, I’m interested. After years of experimentation with the “very best” recipes I could find in order to make a meatball that fits into my food sensitivities, I can tell you –  calling these meatballs my favorite isn’t an exaggeration. They are so good that I’d be just as comfortable serving them to company as I am grabbing a handful out of the freezer for a quick weeknight dinner.


Making My Favorite Meatballs

My Favorite Meatballs start with a base mixture of ground beef and pork. If you don’t eat pork, try substituting dark meat turkey. The fat content will change, but overall the seasonings are going to be what makes the flavor. My Favorite Meatballs are full of fresh basil, dried Italian herbs, plenty of salt and black pepper, and plain gluten-free bread crumbs (I prefer the brand 4C). Even if you don’t follow a gluten-free diet, I still recommend using the gluten-free bread crumbs. After trying a variety of options, I’ve found they keep the meatballs moist and succulent. Other options tend to dry out the texture.

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

Some beaten eggs are added to bind it all together, and of course, we add the truly best part: a heaping portion of freshly grated aged parmesan cheese.

Mix all the ingredients, form them into little balls, and cook them up in the oven. The recipe is large, allowing you to make more than you (likely) need on a given night so that you can freeze them, giving future-you a wonderful gift of a delicious dinner when you need it most. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce over pasta or in a bun as a sandwich; or just eat them plain like little appetizers.

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

Personally, I have trouble not just pulling the scalding hot morsels straight from the baking sheet and eating them by the handful as I finish preparing the rest of the meal.

Maybe that’s just me? Let me know.

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme


A Simple Marinara Sauce

These will pair wonderfully with any traditional marinara sauce you might have under your belt (or in your pantry). I’d never really call it a recipe, but I can certainly share what I do on a regular basis:

My simple marinara sauce uses only a handful of pantry ingredients: Start with one can of tomato sauce and one can of roasted chopped tomatoes (my go-to brand is Muir Glen Organic, as it doesn’t contain any onion and garlic as some other brands do); Stir in a heaping pinch of salt, black pepper, some Italian seasonings, and optionally a pinch of crushed red pepper to taste; Let cook and reduce for a good 10-15 minutes on the stove. Right before I’m ready to take it off the burner, I add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream and a big handful of chopped fresh basil if I have it on hand. This method makes about 6-8 servings, so I use half with the meal and freeze half for later. And that’s it. Done.

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme


Garlic-Infused Oil

I’ve talked about my experiences with the Low FODMAP Diet in the past, but it seems worthwhile to touch on one aspect of it here: Garlic-Infused Oil.

Anyone familiar with the Low FODMAP Diet knows that garlic and onion are considered the most taboo ingredients, as they seem to universally trigger the gastrointestinal issues the diet is designed to help manage. Because of this, I personally avoid them in all of my home cooking. Speaking as a foodie and a cook, it’s not an easy endeavor. I’ve had to figure out a lot of work-arounds to replace or substitute flavor that would normally be added easily through the otherwise simple inclusion of these two common ingredients.

One huge help in that area is the ability to use garlic-infused oil.

When my doctor first recommended trying a Low FODMAP diet, I was at a loss and overwhelmed. One of the cookbooks that has really helped me figure out how to navigate this new eating lifestyle is The Low FODMAP Diet Cookbook by Dr. Sue Shepherd. Here I learned I could use garlic-infused oils without triggering symptoms. It’s the perfect way to add a little extra flavor, especially to Italian-style dishes.

As an additional note, many Low FODMAP recipes are also appropriate for people on low lactose diets, and hard ripened cheeses like parmesan are low in lactose. Please consult your doctor or specialist for a professional opinion, however, if you have any concerns about the ingredients in this recipe.

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme


Be good to your future self and include a big batch of My Favorite Meatballs in your meal planning for a quick and delicious dinner! You’ll thank yourself later when you need a filling meal for family or friends on the fly. With any luck, My Favorite Meatballs will become your’s as well.


Need some great accompaniments for your meal of meatballs? You could go the extra mile and make some homemade semolina pasta (if you aren’t gluten-free) or maybe even make some delicious gluten-free rolls. Or, if you are gluten-free and vegan, I definitely suggest you check out this recipe for vegan meatballs from one of my food blogger friends, Annie over at Kitchen Window Clovers!

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan

My Favorite Meatballs are a delicious and easy make-ahead dinner that are just as good to serve to company as they are for the weeknight family meal [Low FODMAP & Gluten Free].

Inspired by recipes from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking & The Low FODMAP Diet Cookbook.

4 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 10 Servings


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups gluten-free bread crumbs, plain (I like 4C Crumbs brand)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup aged parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tsp garlic-infused oil


  • Heat oven to 400°F and prepare a baking sheet with a large piece of foil.
  • Combine all ingredients except for the garlic-infused oil in a large bowl. Gently fold the ingredients into each other with your hands, but be careful not to over-mix. Stop once things are mostly incorporated. If you’d like, fry off a small piece in your skillet and check that everything is seasoned to your liking. Form the meat mixture into balls one-inch to one-and-a-half inch in diameter.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic-infused olive oil and allow it to heat up. Brown the meatballs in the skillet in batches, about 2 minutes on each side. You aren’t cooking them through, just getting a nice sear on the outside. You can skip this step if you’d like, and in that case just add another 5-8 minutes to your oven time.
  • Transfer the meatballs to the foil-lined baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, then flip all the meatballs and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Test for doneness with a meat thermometer (they should be at 160°F when cooked) or cut one open to check.
  • Serve My Favorite Meatballs plain, covered with marinara sauce, over spaghetti, in buns as a sandwich, or however else you desire!


Make Ahead and Freeze: For best results, freeze the meatballs individually. Allow the meatballs to cool slightly, and then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between. Freeze for 2 hours, and then transfer to a freezer-safe container (I use a gallon-size Ziploc bag). Next time you need a quick, delicious meal, pull out as many as you need, place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and reheat in the oven for 15 minutes at 375°F. Frozen meatballs should be enjoyed within 2-3 months.
Keyword fodmap, glutenfree, meatball
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme
My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP] | Feast In Thyme

17 thoughts on “My Favorite Meatballs with Fresh Basil & Parmesan [Gluten Free & Low FODMAP]

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely wonderful flavor. Honestly the best low fodmap meal I’ve had sense going on the diet. I will defiantly be making them again.

  2. 4 stars
    These were excellent!!! Even my daughter liked them. I’m not a fan of rosemary so I omitted it and they were still very good!

  3. 4 stars
    Delicious meatballs. I adjusted the recipe to my liking. I used 1 cup of plain 4C panko breadcrumbs (I’m low fodmap but good to go for gluten) and I put half of the spices and half the salt and pepper but I kept the 2 tbs of fresh basil. I added another egg because the mixture seemed a bit dry with just 3. I taste tested by frying up a small piece of the mixture in a pan. Wonderful. I rolled them up (rubbed canola oil in the palms of my hands to facilitate rolling) into smallish medium sized meatballs. I put them in the oven at 350F on middle rack for 15 minutes turned them once and then back in for another 15. They came out fully cooked, plump, moist, tender and so delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m so glad you liked the meatballs Julia! Thank you for your comments on adjusting the recipe – it’s wonderful to hear input back. I could totally understand needing an extra egg with panko breadcrumbs – I find those to stay a little more “dry” than the GF bread crumbs, which actually get a tad soggy as you mix things up.

      I’m also selectively Low FODMAP in my own cooking, so it’s always an adventure adjusting a recipe to taste and preferences (as I’m sure you know).

      Thanks again for the feedback!

  4. 5 stars
    These were so good! It’s such a relief to have these in the freezer for days I don’t want to cook. We eat low fodmap and I made these and the sauce. We usually use Rao’s sensitive sauce for convenience, but this was easy and much more cost-effective. Thanks so much!

    1. Wendy, you have no idea how happy hearing this makes me! I’m so glad they’ve made your life a little easier (and tastier). I’d also never heard of Rao’s sensitive sauce – I definitely need to check that out! Thanks for being here. <3

  5. Hi Kristen, I’m just a little bit confused as you have 2 links for 2 products you have used in your favorite meatball recipe (marinara sauce). First product being the can of tomato sauce, if I click your link it takes me to amazon where I can purchase this product, but when I read the ingredients its showing it has organic onion powder and organic garlic powder. Then you mention your second product being one can of roasted chopped tomatoes (my go-to brand is Muir Glen Organic, as it doesn’t contain any onion and garlic as some other brands do). Can you see my confusion?
    I was soooo excited when I saw your recipe it looks beautiful and what made me more excited was thinking there is no onion or garlic. My daughter has severe intolarence to Fructose and I agree with you it was very hard trying to change the way she ate and what she could eat and what she had to avoid, basically it was a very slow experiment as when we first found out there was hardly any information about Fructose intolerence and what information I could find over the internet there were alot of contradiction’s. We have narrowed it down now and I have to religously read every label to see what food items are included. My daughter cannot even look at onion or garlic, she cannot have garlic infused oil either. I have all of Dr Sue Sheppards books and they have come in very handy, but sometimes it is still hit and miss. So getting back to your meatball recipe, I will be using the one can of roasted chopped tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic roasted tomatoes) but probably replace your tomato sauce for Passata sauce, I can’t wait for her to try them as she absolutely loves meatballs. I will be back to comment once I have tried your recipe. Thank you Kristen for sharing your recipe and information.

    1. Hi Debbie! I hope this recipe works out for you and your daughter loves it!

      For sauce, use whatever your daughter can tolerate. Muir Glen used to be garlic and onion free, but at some point they changed their recipe. I can still tolerate the small amount, but definitely trust your gut and go with what works for your family.

  6. Thanks Kristen, it is a shame they changed the recipe. I will try and tweak a bit and I will let you know what I used, it may even help others who cannot tolerate the onion or garlic. I just purchased some Asafoetida (hing) powder as I am told this indian spice can safely replace the taste of garlic and onion in a meal. If you are highly sensative to gluten there is also gluten free/wheat free asafoetida powder. With fingers crossed I hope this works, I will let you know.
    Thanks again Kristen

  7. 1 star
    What did I do wrong?
    These were so incredibly overcooked that I ended up using them as ammo! Fried 2 minutes per side then baked on high for a total of 20 minutes? They turned into dry little musket balls. The meat alone cost me over $15 so this was a definite loss for me. In addition, sorry, but it takes way longer than 10 minutes to prep 2 pounds of meat with filler into 1″ balls.
    I’ll make them again because I liked the aroma of the ingredients, but no way am I going to cook them for that long.

    1. I’m so sorry the recipe didn’t work out for you Linda! There are a few things I’d recommend for a second try. First thing, when you say baked on high, I assume you mean at the recommended 400 degrees F. Not all ovens are calibrated exactly – do you know if yours runs hot or cool? When you checked the meatballs at the 10 minute mark, did they already seem done? I’ll often check the internal temp at this time as well, just to make sure the cooking is on track.

      Secondly, there is a chance the meat mixture was over mixed, which can cause the meatballs to come out firmer and less juicy. Mix the meat and other ingredients just enough to combine, and then roll into very loose balls – just enough that they stay together.

      Again, so sorry it didn’t work out for you this time. If you have any questions for your second try, let me know!

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