As a person of Italian heritage, I may be biased when I say that meatballs are one of the most delicious and versatile foods. And these healthy turkey meatballs are no exception, being a great healthy spin on an Italian classic.
You can eat them over pasta, skewer them with toothpicks for an appetizer, or eat them on a sandwich with some Italian bread. These meatballs are loaded with flavor and very easy to make. Baking them cuts down on any unnecessary added fat or oil.
As an added bonus, this particular recipe can be adapted to work with dairy-free, gluten-free, keto, paleo, and Whole30 diets.
Why Turkey Meatballs?
Substituting ground turkey for ground beef is a great way to start eating healthy. Ground turkey is low in calories and high in protein to support healthy body function.
Turkey is full of B-vitamins that help with healthy blood circulation and nerve function, and they protect against heart disease. Turkey also contains selenium to boost your immune system. It is a powerhouse of additional vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and niacin.
By choosing ground turkey, you can reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol in your dishes. Select a fat-free option to reduce the fat in these healthy turkey meatballs even further.
The Ultimate Healthy Turkey Meatballs
You can assemble these healthy turkey meatballs with just a few ingredients. Customize this recipe to your dietary needs and restrictions.
- 2 pounds ground turkey, 99 percent fat-free
- 1/4 cup whole wheat seasoned bread crumbs, or gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (1 tablespoon if using dried herb)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (1 tablespoon if using dried herb)
- 1 teaspoon of finely chopped chives
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Reggiano parmigiana cheese, grated (optional, avoid if eating paleo or Whole30)
1. Begin by preheating oven to 375 degrees.
2. Then, cover a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper. You can also spray a cooking sheet with a little olive oil, about 2 tablespoons.
3. Add ground turkey, bread crumbs, milk, onion, egg, garlic, herbs, and parmesan (if using) in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or knead together with your hands until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
4. Using wet hands, so the meat mixture doesn’t stick, form small meatballs. They should be about the size of a ping pong ball, about 1 1/2 inch balls.
5. Place meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. A cut meatball should show no pink inside. They should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
If you are gluten-free, you can also use a combination of equal parts of coconut flour and almond meal instead of breadcrumbs.
If you are nut-free, substitute skim milk or two percent milk for almond milk. You can also add additional vegetables to these healthy turkey meatballs. Chopped spinach or kale make a great addition.
Tips to make them even better
Use an ice cream scoop to make quick work of portioning the turkey for the meatballs. The process can be time-consuming, but this will definitely speed it up!
This recipe calls for fresh herbs because they add so much additional flavor to the meatballs. Adding some crushed red pepper flakes is also an excellent addition to add a little kick.
Another great way to cook these meatballs is directly in a delicious batch of marinara sauce. You can make a super simple sauce with 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of oregano, a 1/4 cup of chopped basil, and a diced onion.
After sautéing the garlic and onion, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low. Then, you can cook the meatballs directly in the sauce for 15 to 20 minutes. This method adds great additional flavor and makes a great simple sauce.
In addition, these healthy turkey meatballs freeze really well! Make a double batch and freeze any you have leftover. It will be a lifesaver on a busy weeknight evening when you are short on time but still want a healthy option.
Simply portion out the meatballs onto a parchment-lined baking pan and freeze. Then, transfer them to a resealable freezer bag. You can also freeze these meatballs uncooked and thaw and prepare them for up to three months after freezing.
What to Serve with your Healthy Turkey Meatballs
There are so many great ways to serve these healthy turkey meatballs.
You can eat them over zucchini noodles, or “zoodles” as they are called. Many grocery stores sell them ready to go, or you can easily make your own using a spiralizer. Additionally, roasted spaghetti squash is another delicious veggie option to pair with these meatballs.
Of course, you can always eat healthy turkey meatballs in the traditional way, over pasta. If you are eating gluten free, Modern Table sells an excellent lentil pasta.
These meatballs would also make an excellent meatball sandwich. Just add a little marinara sauce and a slice of low-fat mozzarella to Italian bread. Another great option, you can use a few slices of BFree bread for a gluten-free option.
You can enjoy these meatballs all on their own as well. Just pair them with a delicious salad full of fresh vegetables for a complete meal.
For a non-traditional approach, make these meatballs with white or brown rice. There are also some great low-carb rice alternatives that are delicious.
These are just a few suggestions on how to eat these turkey meatballs. Try a variety of other options for a delicious meal.
Healthy Turkey Meatballs: A Delicious Dinner Solution
These healthy turkey meatballs make a simple, healthy, and filling meal for any situation. Make them for a busy weeknight after work, for a casual weekend dinner with friends, or as the perfect party appetizer.
Try this delicious recipe today and let us know how they taste by leaving a message in the comments below!