Romano Chicken Meatballs with Lemon Sauce

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Delicious Romano chicken meatballs in lemon wine sauce are made with Italian herbs and grated cheese and sautéed with fresh asparagus for an easy skillet dinner you can serve over pasta or enjoy on it's own.

A skillet filled with meatballs, lemon slices, and asparagus spears.

These easy chicken meatballs with sauce feature some of my favorite flavors: Italian herbs, garlic, lemon, and white wine.

I tossed some fresh asparagus into the skillet just before finishing everything off in the oven and we had the perfect one skillet meal for an easy weeknight dinner.

The whole family went crazy for these meatballs because they are simply filled with flavor but I loved that they used an inexpensive cut of meat that is healthier for us than traditional beef meatballs.

Get all the tips you need to make them for your family here.

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Why This is the Best

My youngest daughter went absolutely crazy for these chicken meatballs with lemon sauce, she is my little lemon buddy.

We loved this recipe so much because:

  1. Easy to Prep: I assembled and rolled the meatballs during my lunch break in just 15 minutes and kept them in the fridge till dinnertime.
  2. Freezer Friendly: You could even prep the meatballs ahead and freeze them uncooked for a future dinner.
  3. Budget Friendly: Ground chicken is easy on the family budget but you could also substitute ground turkey or even pork which are also inexpensive.
  4. Light and Healthy: With just a drizzle of olive oil, lighter chicken, and just a bit of bread crumbs and grated cheese, these meatballs are a much lighter option than traditional beef meatballs.
  5. Flavor Packed: Italian herbs, garlic, lemon, grated cheese, and white wine make a deliciously zesty dinner that is simply filled with flavor.

Ingredients

The ingredients to make chicken romano meatballs are on the counter.

With only 4 fresh ingredients and a handful of pantry items, this recipe is so easy on the family grocery budget!

All you need to make it is:

  • Ground Chicken: Or you could substitute ground turkey or ground pork
  • Fresh Asparagus: You could omit it but this is an easy way to add a green veggie to the dish. If you have leftover asparagus, you can use it in my creamy orzo with chicken skillet recipe, too.
  • Lemon
  • Shallot
  • Egg
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Minced Garlic
  • Italian Herb Blend: See the recipe card for a substitute with individual herbs
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Grated Romano Cheese: You could substitute grated parmesan if that is what you have on hand
  • Olive Oil

How to Form the Meatballs

If you've never made homemade meatballs before, you're going to be pleasantly surprised to discover just how easy it is.

First, add the ground chicken to a large mixing bowl. Be sure to use a big one because combining the ingredients can be messy if the bowl isn't big enough.

Add the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg, garlic, and seasonings to the bowl and combine everything GENTLY with a fork.

Don't overwork the meat or the chicken will get tough. Just continue to mix it until everything is just combined.

Step by step photos show how to make the meatballs.

Then, pat the chicken into a rectangular shape. It is easier to divide the meat into equal portions if you start with a square-ish sort of shape.

I use a fork or knife to score the meat into 3 rows of 5.

Then I pinch off one portion at a time and roll it into a meatball.

Line the meatballs up in a clean dish and keep them covered in the fridge until you're ready to cook.

How to Cook the Meatballs

The meatballs get browned on the stovetop and then finished in the oven, all in the same pan. So be sure to start with an ovenproof skillet.

Place the skillet with olive oil over medium heat on the stovetop and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brown the meatballs for 2 minutes or so per side before turning.

You only need to cook them for 6 minutes or so total, they'll finish baking in the oven.

The chicken meatballs have been added to a hot skillet.

Transfer the browned chicken meatballs to a clean plate or dish while you prepare the sauce.

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Prep the Lemon Wine Sauce

Now your skillet likely is covered in brown bits of chicken meatball meat. Some of the best flavor is trapped on the skillet itself.

First, add the chopped shallot and stir it in the drippings for 4 - 5 minutes or until softened.

Then, drizzle in the white wine and use a spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the pan as the wine simmers.

The meatballs have been removed and the pan is being deglazed.

Add the chicken stock and stir to combine.

Add the chopped asparagus and let it simmer in the sauce for 3 - 4 minutes before finishing the dish.

Bake the Skillet

Return the browned meatballs to the skillet.

Add the sliced lemon to the pan and nestle them into the sauce as best you can.

The skillet has the browned meatballs, fresh lemon slices, and asparagus.

Bake the chicken meatball skillet for 15 minutes or until the asparagus is tender and the meatballs register 165°F on a thermometer.

Serving Suggestions

The chicken meatballs are served over rigatoni noodles.

I love to serve these delicious Romano chicken meatballs with the lemon sauce drizzled over the top of rigatoni pasta but there are several ways you could use this recipe.

You could add additional roasted veggies like this roasted broccolini pasta toss, serve them with my favorite lemon butter pasta with fresh chives.

Skip the pasta altogether and just enjoy the meatballs in sauce with a side of homemade garlic bread, or add the cooked meatballs to this light and healthy gnocchi soup for extra protein.

Make Ahead Freezer Tips

I absolutely love prepping the meatballs earlier in the day so I can just quickly brown and bake them at dinnertime.

You can prep them up to 1 - 2 days in advance and keep them covered in the fridge.

If you want to freeze them for later, place the raw but formed meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Freeze them for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then transfer them to a plastic ziptop bag for storage.

To use the frozen meatballs, transfer them to a single-layer dish and let them thaw in the fridge overnight. Then cook them as directed.

Variations

While we love the lemon wine sauce with the light and zesty chicken meatballs, you could use the base meatball recipe in several other recipes our family loves.

Toss the chicken meatballs with tomato sauce for easy baked meatball subs.

Brown them up in a skillet and then let them finish cooking in our favorite Instant Pot turkey soup instead of the ground turkey.

You could also add them to this tomato-based Tuscan chicken soup instead of the rotisserie chicken.

📖 Recipe

A skillet filled with meatballs, lemon slices, and asparagus spears.

Chicken Romano Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
This light and delicious romano meatballs are made from ground chicken, Italian seasonings, and grated cheese and are browned in a delicious lemon garlic sauce with fresh asparagus. Serve them over a dish of buttered noodles or enjoy them for a simple dinner on their own.
TOTAL TIME 35 minutes
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 20 minutes
YIELD 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 egg lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend See Note for Substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine I prefer sauvignon blanc but chardonnay or pinot grigio would also work
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of asparagus chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon sliced

Instructions

Prepare the Meatballs:

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, dried herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Use a fork to gently combine them but be careful to not overwork the meat or it will get tough.
  • Pat the chicken into a rectangular shape, score it to make 15 meatballs (3 rows of 5). Pinch off each portion and roll it into a firm ball shape. Line the meatballs up on a clean baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and keep refrigerated until ready to prepare dinner.

Cook the Meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Set an ovenproof skillet over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the olive oil and let it preheat for 1 - 2 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs to the pan and cook for 5 - 6 minutes total, browning all sides. Let the meatballs sit for 1 - 2 minutes before trying to turn them or they will break.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a plate, they'll finish cooking in the oven but first we make the sauce.
  • In the empty skillet with browned bits, add the chopped shallot. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the white wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned meat still clinging to the skillet. Add the chicken stock and bring it to a simmer.
  • Add the chopped asparagus and let it saute in the sauce for 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Return the meatballs to the skillet. Add the lemon slices and tuck them in between the meatballs.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs reach 165°F when tested with a food thermometer.

Video

Recipe Notes

Freezer Tips

The raw, rolled meatballs can be frozen for future cooking. Place them in a single layer on a parchment covered baking sheet, making sure they do not touch. Freeze them for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then transfer them to a ziptop bag for storage.
To cook frozen meatballs, transfer them to a single-layer baking sheet or dish and let them thaw in the fridge overnight. Then cook as directed.
Raw meatballs will keep in the fridge for 1 - 2 days and then should be used.

Italian Herb Substitute

If you prefer to use individual herbs instead of a blend, use 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried rosemary.
COURSEDinner
CUISINEItalian-American

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A photo collage shows the meatball skillet on top and the meatballs browning on bottom.

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