From A to almost Z (actually Afghanistan to Vietnam), all cultures around the world have recipes for meatballs. Meatballs are classic comfort food no matter where you hail from. Here, I offer you my take, made turkey meatballs made with herbs, onions and gluten-free breadcrumbs. Meatballs, done healthy, for fall and winter, in your local kitchen.
Meatballs: Classic and Economical
I have been making a lot of turkey burgers for lunch lately, so I decided to use some of the extra meat for turkey meatballs. They came out so good, I couldn’t wait to share the recipe.
Meatballs make a really nice dinner going into cooler weather, and they are economical too. This recipe uses just one pound of ground turkey and serves 4-5 people. Add onions, garlic, herbs and gluten-free breadcrumbs. You can use regular breadcrumbs if you are not gluten-free.
Tool Tip: The Easy Way to Portion Meatballs
One the my favorite kitchen tools is called a disher. They look like ice cream scoops with a squeeze handle. I have them in sizes #16, #30,# 40, #60 and #100 to portion everything from muffins to salads and desserts to appetizers.
Scoop a level portion of turkey mixture with the disher. Plop onto a plastic lined rimmed baking sheet. When you have all of the turkey portioned out, go back and gently roll them into balls with your hands.
To cook, brown the meatballs in a little olive oil, turning them as they cook. Use a non-stick saute or fry pan. When brown all over, pour the sauce over the top and simmer, covered, until turkey is no longer pink. It will take just a few minutes.
For the bottom layer, use either a brown rice pasta or soft, creamy polenta. If you are using brown rice pasta, the best brand I have found is Jovial. Try their spaghetti and other shapes as well. No one would ever know it was not regular pasta! The taste and texture are terrific.
Never made polenta? It’s easy, and another good gluten-free option. I use Bob’s Red Mill polenta. They have two types: gluten-free and organic. Both are non-GMO corn, so chose what is best for you. I cook my polenta in chicken broth for a little more flavor than water, and add garlic, onion, Parmesan and chives. Oh yes, polenta is also known as grits!
I’ll have that recipe out soon. If you want it before I get it posted, ask in a comment and I will email to you.
Classic comfort food, all cultures have their take on meatballs. Here is my recipe, made with ground turkey and gluten-free breadcrumbs. I use roasted tomato marinara for sauce and serve over creamy polenta. You could also use brown rice pasta. Garnish with extra sprinkles of grated Parmesan and fresh chopped herbs if desired.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 6 tablespoons gluten-free breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
- 1/8 teaspoon red chile pepper
- 1 generous tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
- 1 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (plus extra for pan)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3-3 1/2 cups roasted tomato marinara, pasta sauce or your favorite jar sauce
- Polenta or pasta to serve, Parmesan and herbs to garnish (or serve of zucchini “noodles”)
- In a medium bowl with your hands, mix ground turkey, breadcrumbs, red pepper, herbs, onion, Parmesan, garlic, oil, egg, plus salt and pepper.
- Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and portion out approximately 26 meatballs. Use a #40 disher or a tablespoon. Gently roll them into round balls. Meatballs should be about 1 1/2″ in diameter.
- Drizzle a little extra olive oil (about 1-2 teaspoons) into a large non-stick pan. Over medium heat, cook meatballs on all sides until lightly browned, turning as needed. Pour marinara over the top and bring to a strong simmer, until bubbling hot, turn heat down to low, cover and cook until turkey is barely pink when you cut open a meatball, about 8-10 minutes.
- Serve over polenta or pasta with the sauce and a garnish of grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs if desired.