tasty turkey meatballs

Turkey is not a meat that is often thought about outside of a special holiday or on the occasional sandwich.  Maybe because turkey is associated with hours of cooking and when not cooked well it can be dry and a bit tasteless.  

Yet ground turkey is a healthier, lighter substitute for beef in meatballs.  I have made hundreds of turkey meatballs in a quest to find the perfect balance between flavor and moistness.  Many versions came out moist with no flavor or dry with lots of flavor...because I added so many spices.  After numerous iterations, I finally balanced flavor and texture.  

These little lumps of turkey can be served alone with a salad,  disguised for beef meatballs in a tomato sauce, or layered on top of pasta pesto for a new classic.

The meatballs also may be cooked and then frozen.  Preparing them in a smaller size, like a marble, creates an ideal appetizer making it easy for your guests to easily pop into their mouths.


2 pounds ground turkey meat

½ onion

3 cloves garlic

1 cup frozen chopped spinach or fresh spinach chopped finely

1 cup ricotta cheese

¼ cup plain breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon salt


time.  45 minutes to make meatballs.  25-30 minutes baking.

level.  easy

serves.  20 large meatballs, 6 people.                

1.      Preheat oven to 350-degrees

2.     Mince the onion and garlic, separately and set aside.

3.     Add a little olive oil to small sauté pan over low heat.

4.     Mix in the onions and cook for 3 minutes.


5.     Put in the spinach to pan and cook another 2 minutes.

6.     Add the garlic, mix everything together cooking for about 3 minutes.  Set aside.

7.     Place ground turkey meat into a large mixing bowl.

8.     Using a spoon or your hands, blend in all the rest of ingredients.

9.     With an ice cream scoop or large soup spoon, form meatball and place on a large baking tray.  They do not spread so can be put close together.

10.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  If you want extra crispy, for the last 5 minutes put oven on broil and brown the tops.

In the Italian language meatballs are called polpette.  The most traditional meatball is made with ground beef, egg for binding and rolled in a little bread crumbs and sautéed with vegetable oil in a pan.  It is believed the meatball was created in Italy around the turn of the 20th century when ground meat in Italy was popularized.  Many countries have a version of the meatball must be because they are such a great comfort food.

To finish

Serve over whole wheat pasta with pesto sauce.

Add to a tomato sauce with side salad.

Eat as is with a salad.