These Vietnamese Meatballs are Paleo and Keto friendly!Paleo Vietnamese Meatballs

My latest recipe, Paleo Vietnamese Meatballs, is the result of a big, beautiful box of grass-fed, grass-finished beef I received a few days ago from ButcherBox. If you have similar high quality ground beef and want a recipe worthy of it, look no further. Of course you can use any ground beef for this recipe, but I wanted something special in this case and this recipe really delivered.

Maybe it looks like I am on an asian food kick given my previous post, Asian Style Boneless Beef Short Ribs. Truth is, these are some of my favorite flavors. Recipes with garlic, chile and ginger have my full attention. Throw in some cilantro and it’s over, I’m hooked.

Paleo Vietnamese Meatballs

The nice thing about this recipe is you can use a food processor for most of the prep then simply add the vegetables to the meat, along with a few other ingredients, like coconut aminos and fish sauce and you are good to go. I like to put it all in a bowl and mix with my own clean hands. I try not to over mix to keep the texture of the meat somewhat in tact.

Paleo Vietnamese Meatballs

One of my most used and favorite kitchen tools is a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop. I use it for both cookies and meatballs. It makes getting 24 meatballs fairly easy. Putting them on a covered sheet pan keeps everything organized before placing in a hot pan with some oil to fry up.

Vietnamese Meatballs on pan

The Vietnamese Meatballs are fairly small and therefore cook up quickly. Just about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on how hot your pan is). You can cook them in two batches to ensure the pan doesn’t get too crowded.

Paleo Vietnamese Meatballs

The kitchen started to smell amazing after the first couple of minutes of cooking and everyone was chomping at the bit for dinner. While the Vietnamese meatballs were cooking I threw together a little glaze of honey, coconut aminos and a dash of fish sauce. If you are following a ketogenic diet you may wish to eliminate the honey unless it fits into your overall carb count for the day. All-in-all, it’s not a lot of sugar per serving even if you use the honey.

Paleo Vietnamese Meatballs in bowl

My kids eat white rice so it was nice to have a little extra sauce for them. If you are truly following a paleo or keto diet, serving these vietnamese meatballs with cauliflower rice is a great option. We love to buy frozen bags of cauliflower rice at Costco just for convenience sake, but you can make your own. Check out how to make cauliflower rice for details.

If you want to purchase a big box of beautiful grass-fed, grass-finished beef, I highly recommend ButcherBox. Right now (through August 5th) you can get free ribeyes and bacon with the purchase of a box delivered to your front door. Click the pic below for more info:

Inspired by and adapted from Pickled Plum’s Beef Vietnamese Meatballs recipe


Vietnamese Meatballs

Vietnamese-Style Meatballs that are grain-free, gluten-free, egg-free, paleo and keto-friendly

  • Author: Lea Valle
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 16
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 24 meatballs 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Asian


  • 1 pound ground beef (ideally, beef that is grass fed & grass finished)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin (reserve 1/3 for garnish)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1/2 hot chile, seeded and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if you use Tamari you likely do not need the extra salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons fat for frying (coconut oil, ghee, lard, tallow, avocado oil or similar)

Optional Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

For a dipping sauce – add a tablespoon of water


  1. Combine all the ingredients (except oil and reserved scallions) in a medium size bowl and mix well with a spoon or your own clean hands.
  2. Divide into 24 meatballs, approximately 1.5 tablespoons each (1.5 tablespoon “cookie scoop” is recommended)
  3. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat for a couple of minutes, add the 2 tablespoons of oil/fat and allow it to heat for another minute.  Add half the meatballs and cook 3-4 minutes before flipping over and cooking another 3-4 minutes, turning down the heat as necessary to ensure they do not burn. Remove to a dish and cover. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.
  4. While the meatballs are cooking, combine the ingredients for the glaze (if using) and toss with the hot meatballs.
  5. Top with sliced scallions for garnish and serve warm.


You can double the glaze recipe if you prefer more of a sauce. If you are following a low carb or keto diet you may wish to eliminate the glaze. The meatballs are quite flavorful without it.

Serve over cauliflower rice for a low carb meal

Paleo Vietnamese Meatballs

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