Turkey Meatballs


I have never been a strict recipe follower. I always think I can do it a little better my own way.

Or maybe the more appropriate way of phrasing that is that I think I can make a recipe more designed to my tastes.

So, when cultivating a recipe for this column, know that these recipes are designed to my tastes. While hopefully most others like the dishes much the same way I do, you can always adapt it to suit your flavor palate. I tend to add a lot of spice and garlic to everything I make. You can easily take the same idea and make it less spicy (or more spicy), depending on your tastes.

I came up with this recipe recently on a rare weekend home alone. By alone, I mean no husband dictating special food requests. I got to make exactly what I was in the mood for, exactly the way I wanted to make it, with no commentary.

For whatever reason, I was in the mood for meatballs. Not being much of a meat eater, this meant turkey meatballs for me.

I have tried, rather unsuccessfully in the past, to make turkey meatballs before. Turkey meat, being drier by nature with less fat, always seemed to fall apart as soon as I started cooking the meatballs.

I have no idea exactly why, but these meatballs came together just right. They formed easy-to-make balls, which cooked perfectly without any loose pieces falling apart. And not only did they hold together when cooked, they also had great flavor. For the first time ever, this white-meat-only eater successfully created meatballs, so I wanted to share the recipe.

I happened to be in the mood for spaghetti and meatballs, so that is what I did with the finished product. I simmered them in homemade tomato sauce while I cooked the pasta and topped the completed dish with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

I do think these would be good multipurpose meatballs, though. You could make them Swedish-style. Serve them on a hoagie as a meatball sandwich. You name it. An added bonus: They are healthier than most meatballs because of the low-fat meat.

My advice: Grab a bottle of crisp white wine, rent a movie, take a bath and make these. The meal provided me a perfect night in alone, but made enough for leftovers for my husband to enjoy when he returned home from fishing.

He didn’t even mention the fact that I snuck turkey into one of his favorite dishes.


Turkey Meatballs


  • 2 pounds of lean turkey meat (99-percent fat free)
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup of basil, julienned
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, minced
  • 2 cups of crumbled, dry bread
  • ¼ cup of sundried tomatoes in olive oil, finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Saute the onion, garlic and celery in a pan with a little bit of oil until they have wilted. Let cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, blend the turkey with the cooled vegetable mixture and the remaining ingredients. Season to taste.
  • Roll small balls of the meat mixture (about 1.5 inches in diameter). Place the balls on a cookie sheet, and let them rest in the refrigerator for an hour or so, covered with plastic wrap.
  • When you are ready to cook, heat a heavy bottom skillet on medium to medium high. Add a small amount of cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs one at a time, and don’t move them for a minute or two. When they are slightly browned on one side, turn them over. Cover the pan with a top and let cook for another couple of minutes or until they are cooked through.
  • Remove from pan and serve as desired.



About Author

Writer. Cook. Hockey player. Skier. Snowboarder. Mountain biker. Mother of two great danes. Wife. Marketing expert. And, most fulfilling, Co-editor of Dishing!

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