• Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs

    by Rachel on July 26, 2010

    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 egg
    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.

    3) Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. (I had to do this in several batches, cleaning the pan out each time.)  Set meatballs on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

    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/

    You may also enjoy these recipes:
    Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs
    Super Sloppy Joes
    Stretch a Buck Turkey and Bean Burrito Burgers

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    { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    Maeve Bolin July 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I just made these, and they turned out great! I used two time savers that I usually use with meatballs. First, I mixed everything in my standing mixer – super quick and non-messy. Then, I baked the meatballs instead of sautéing – 350 for 20 minutes did the trick. I am looking forward to trying them out tonight.


    Rachel July 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Maeve, I hope your family likes them! My kids and hubs never has known all the vegetables I sneak in there. Thanks for leaving a comment with your changes. Great ideas! I am all for easier!


    melissa January 27, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Made these tonight. They were so good! my husband who is super picky RAVED about them the whole meal!!


    Rachel January 28, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Awesome, Melissa! I’m in your boat. A meal that my husband raves about counts as a big “win” in my mind.


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