The Best (and Healthiest!) Turkey Meatballs

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Meet Maggie, my new foster dog!


Doesn’t she have the sweetest face? She is crazy snuggly (which is my FAVORITE).

Because she is so darn cute, Maggie has already been adopted, but we are taking care of her for another week until she is off her medication and all clear to play with other dogs.

Like all of our foster dogs, Maggie is very curious about all of the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.

I have been using this turkey meatballs recipe for months now, and it seems like every foster dog goes wild for these. I love watching their little noses perk up as they sniff the air and then begin to scour the floor for a dropped bite.

Turkey Meatballs Recipe

Our first foster dog used to lick the air continuously when he smelled food in the kitchen — I think he was hoping something would eventually appear in his mouth? It never really got him anywhere, but you can’t fault him for trying!

Turkey Meatballs Recipe

I know I have said I love trying new recipes whenever I can, but I gotta tell you, I think I make these meatballs once a week now. My coworkers have definitely started to catch on considering how often they make an appearance in the conference room at lunch (they reheat really well). Some have asked for the recipe and now they’re hooked, too!

Turkey Meatballs Recipe

The weird thing is, I’m not sick of them yet.

Turkey Meatballs Recipe

I can’t really tell you how many people this recipe feeds. My boyfriend could easily sit there and eat the whole batch (yes, they are that good). But for me, depending on how big I make them, I usually eat 3-4. I’ll leave it up to you.

Turkey Meatballs Recipe

I like to double the batch so I have extras for lunch the next day. And dinner. And lunch again. Delicious, I tell you!

I serve mine with whole wheat pasta, extra parmesan for sprinkling and sometimes red pepper flakes and fresh basil. These meatballs are also very filling without the pasta, so a side of veggies would be just fine.

They’re addicting!


Turkey Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1lb lean ground turkey (I like Empire)
  • slightly less than ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
  • ¼ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Canola Oil
  • Any jar of tomato sauce (I love Rao's and Whole Foods 365 Sundried Tomato and Basil)
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  1. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients turkey through black pepper. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 2T of canola oil to the pan. Form the meatballs to desired size (mine were slightly larger than a golf ball). When the oil begins to smoke, add about 5 meatballs to the pan, ensuring not to overcrowd. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Remove to a plate layered with paper towels to cool (the paper towels soak up extra oil). Continue this process until all of the meatballs are browned. Remove pan from the heat.
  2. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel if there is remaining oil in the pan. Return all of the meatballs to the pan. Add about ¾ of the jar of sauce so that it covers the meatballs. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low (or whatever heat gets the pan to a good low simmer). Simmer the meatballs in the sauce until they are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway.
  3. Remove from heat and serve immediately on top of whole wheat pasta. Garnish with extra parmesan, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil if desired.


  • Katie @ Oh Shine On
    August 29, 2013 - 1:01 am | Permalink

    love the photographs here

    • littlechefbigappetite
      August 29, 2013 - 1:06 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Katie!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      October 7, 2013 - 8:11 am | Permalink

      Thanks Katie!

  • Dave
    August 29, 2013 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I’ll give you a break this weekend and let you off from having to make them for us. Wifey can whip some up for me next week instead!

    • littlechefbigappetite
      August 29, 2013 - 3:47 pm | Permalink

      We have to take you to Bay Cities instead for the best (and biggest) sandwiches ever!

  • August 31, 2013 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    ADORABLE dog. So cute.
    Yummy looking meatballs. Keeping this in my back pocket.

  • Chloe
    October 10, 2013 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Made these last night and they were AWESOME. About to go reheat some for lunch. Thanks for the recipe, Rachel!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      October 10, 2013 - 9:09 am | Permalink

      I am so glad you loved them, Chloe!

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