Three things are true of these particular meatballs:
1. My entire family really enjoyed them. The finnicky 3-year-old took one bite, announced “MMM!”, and proceeded to eat quite a few. The lovable, yet opinionated husband said, “This should be in the regular rotation of meals for sure.”
2. These little orbs actually include all four food groups and are quite healthy. They include several veggies, whole wheat bread crumbs, low fat ground turkey, some Parm cheese and are cooked in a tomato sauce. Makes for a pretty well-rounded meal when served on top of whole wheat spaghetti.
3. I won’t lie…they were time-consuming to make.* But, I did have plenty leftover for lunch tomorrow and to freeze for meatball subs later.
Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs
Inspired by: this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis
Makes: about 40 mini meatballs
1 medium carrot, minced in food processor
1/2 small onion, minced in food processor
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c fresh loosely packed parsley, finely chopped in food processor
1/2 c fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 c whole wheat bread crumbs (Here is how to make your own!)
3 T organic ketchup
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb lean ground turkey
olive oil, as needed for sauteing (about 3 T)
4 1/2-6 cups organic marinara sauce (about 2 regular-sized jars)
1) Add the carrot, onion, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey (get ready to use your hands and get gross!).
2) Shape the turkey mixture into about 1 inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.
4) Place all the meatballs and marinara sauce in a stockpot. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, about 20 minutes. (Make sure to put the lid on. It splatters!)
5) Serving suggestion: Serve over whole wheat spaghetti and top with more freshly grated Parm cheese.
6) Freeze for meatball subs or spaghetti another day. Just thaw and reheat later.
* Here are a few ideas to speed up the prep/cooking process:
– Use store-bought Panko bread crumbs (they contain no MSG), store-bought pre-shredded Parmesan cheese, and store-bought minced garlic.
– Skip the browning step (which took me a long time because I had to do three batches) and instead bake meatballs in sauce at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes; this will mean cleaning up fewer dishes, too.
– Or, use this simpler recipe: http://www.littlestomaks.com/2010/04/simple-recipes-turkey-meatballs/