Fried Chicken Meatballs with Collard Greens [from Well Fed Weeknights]

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If you know anything about Paleo and Whole30, you know that Mel Joulwan is Paleo recipe royalty!  So when she emailed me and the opening line was, "I'm the author of the Well Fed series of paleo cookbooks," my first thought was.... "Ummmm YEAH I KNOW!  Bow downnnnn."  

And when she went on to ask if I would be interested in getting an advanced copy of her latest cookbook masterpiece, Well Fed Weeknights, to share a recipe with my followers and host a giveaway, well, it was just a no-brainer.

Well Fed Weeknights is full of 128 delicious paleo meals that can all be prepared in 45 minutes or less. The recipes are inspired by takeout classics, food trucks, and cuisines from around the world—all totally free of grains, dairy, legumes, and soy. 

Flipping through the book, it was nearly impossible to pick a recipe to share, so I left it up to my #1 taste tester, my husband, the one and only ZB.  His rationale was "I love fried chicken, and I've never had collard greens."  So there we go, that was easy!

You know me, I love any recipe that you can make in bulk and freeze, so meatballs are right up my alley and I of course doubled the recipe.  These balls have a unique twist that I've never considered--they are are tossed in a coating of tapioca flour and an awesome fried-chicken-esque spice blend, then pan fried before baking!

Since ground turkey was on sale at the store, I used that instead of chicken, but I've posted the original recipe below.  Try this recipe, then immediately order a copy of this book... AND... be sure to enter the giveaway (deets on my instagram @mariamakesstuff)!

Fried Chicken Meatballs with Collard Greens
by Mel Joulwan - Well Fed Weeknights

[Whole30 - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Dairy Free]




1 1/2 lbs ground chicken (I used ground turkey)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (I used coconut oil)


3 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch dried marjoram
pinch ground cayenne pepper
pinch ground cloves


1 bunch collard greens (~1lb)
1/2 cup water
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic (I used 2!)
1/4 tsp salt
pinch ground black pepper



  1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Season the chicken.  Place the ground chicken, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl; mix well.
  3. Make the coating.  In a shallow bowl, use a fork to combine the tapioca starch, salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, sage, onion powder, garlic powder, marjoram, cayenne pepper, and cloves.
  4. Make the balls.  Moisten your hands with cold water, then measure rounded tablespoons of ground chicken and roll the chicken into balls.  A cookie scooper makes this super easy!  Roll each ball in the seasoned tapioca starch.  Set the chicken balls aside on the baking sheet until you're ready to fry them.
  5. Fry the balls.  Place 1 tablespoon oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat, 2-3 minutes.  Place half of the meatballs in a single layer in the pan, leaving some wiggle room around them.  Cook until they're browned on all sides, 4-5 minutes total.  Transfer the balls to the baking sheet.  Add 1-2 teaspoons oil to the pan and brown the remaining meatballs and transfer them to the baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
  6. Prep the greens.  Wash the leaves and remove the tough ribs.  Stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips.  Reheat the skillet over medium-high heat.  Toss the still-wet greens into the pan, add the water, cover with a lid, and steam for 5 minutes or so, until almost all the water is evaporated.  Remove the lid and toss the greens with two wooden spoons until they are very dark green and dry.  This takes about 2-3 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and crush the garlic.
  7. Season the greens.  Push the greens to the side of the pan, add the oil, and drop the minced garlic into the oil.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Toss everything together and allow the greens to cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the salt and pepper, taste, and adjust the seasonings.  Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm until the meatballs are finished.
  8. To serve, divide the greens among dinner plates and top with meatballs.

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