Meatballs are classic comfort food no matter where you hail from. Here I offer you my take on turkey meatballs made with herbs, onions and gluten-free breadcrumbs (but you can use wheat). Meatballs, done healthy, for fall and winter. Serve meatballs for dinner or a hearty game-day snack with toothpicks.
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 are a 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.
The perfect size for meatballs is the #40. You can buy them on Amazon. If you don’t want to use a disher, use a tablespoon for a rounded, approximately 1 ½″ meatball.
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. Disposable kitchen gloves help.
To cook, brown the meatballs in a little olive oil, turning them as they cook in 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.
Sauce for Meatballs
Meatball Serving Ideas
Serve meatballs as a main dish or as an appetizer (with toothpicks) for watching your weekend games. I love leftovers for lunch, and they freeze well.
To Serve as a Main Dish
For the base, use either a brown rice pasta, soft, creamy polenta or for lower-carb, use zucchini noodles or baked spaghetti squash. 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. 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.
For a grain-free meatballs recipe try these easy grain-free meatballs with your favorite sauce.
- 1 pound ground turkey 93%
- 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs (GF or wheat) preferably homemade
- ⅛ teaspoon red chile pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 3 cloves garlic minced fine
- 2 teaspoons olive oil plus extra for pan
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3-3 ½ cups Your favorite pasta sauce
- Polenta, pasta, zucchini noodles or baked spaghetti squash
Blend Meatball Mix
- 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 ½″ 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.
Add Sauce and Serve
- Serve over polenta, pasta of choice, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash noodles or alone with the sauce and a garnish of grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs if desired.