Want to make the best tasting meatballs? I’ve got you covered. Just-ground turkey with loads of veggies – and a technique that adds ton of flavor, and yields a tender meatball!
The Technique: brown meatballs in a skillet, then cover with sauce and bake.
- 2 pounds freshly ground turkey* (thigh)
- 3/4 cup onion, peeled, small dice
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated garlic
- 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
- 1/2 cup finely grated zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, cleaned and dried (packed)
- 1/ 4 cup fresh parsley, cleaned, dried and chopped
- 1 slice white bread; gluten-free, Italian or Sourdough
- 1 large egg, beaten (I used pasture raised)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, ground fine with your fingertips
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (can use red pepper flakes)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes in juice ( I use Pomi brand)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I use Mutti brand (has no “natural flavoring”)
- 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I use Rao’s brand)
- 1/4 cup shaved reggiano parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
In a large bowl add first 12 ingredients.
For spinach – I add to my 4 cup food processor and pulse until fine.
Add a slice of bread after to the food processor, and pulse until fine crumbs.
Mix the ground turkey, vegetables and seasoning together until well distributed.
Have a rimmed baking tray ready lined with parchment paper.
Using a 2″ scoop – scoop out the mixture with rounded tops.
Use watered hands and roll the balls gently until nice and round.
Add them to the lined pan.
Freeze for 15 minutes until firm, yet not hard on the bottoms.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet – I use my seasoned cast iron one.
Heat to medium – when very hot add half of the meatballs and cook, shaking the pan, or gently rolling them with a wooden spoon – until good and browned all around.
Remove them to a 9″ x 13″ baking pan (I used ceramic.)
Repeat with remaining meatballs; add a teaspoon more oil if needed, add to baking pan.
In the skillet add the chopped tomatoes in juice and cook over moderate heat until reduced slightly, 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and marinara sauce and bring just to a boil.
Spoon the sauce over the meatballs.
Cover with parchment paper to fit (I recycle the parchment from the baking pan!)
Cover with heavy foil, seal tightly and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, until bubbly and cooked through.
Top meatballs and sauce over individual bowls of warm pasta.
Add roasted vegetables (if using) – shaved parmesan cheese and basil leaves and enjoy.
Roast Veggies for a Healthier Dinner:
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut Japanese eggplant (very tender) in half lengthwise.
Cut small sized zucchini in half lengthwise.
Add to a baking pan – drizzle a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt & pepper. Mix in. Roast, cut side down until golden underneath and cooked through, 15 – 20 minutes. Cut on an angle into 1″ pieces and add to the meatballs.
See BLOG for many more photos and information.
Also in blog: Investigation on packaged ground turkey; what is “rosemary extract”?
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer
Makes about: 28 meatballs (depending on size.)
Stays fresh almost 1 week when covered well in sauce and in an airtight container.
Serves 8 – 10
These meatballs freeze well!