Lightened-Up Turkey Veggie Meatballs!
I’m not sure what started it, but lately I’ve been craving meatballs. Spaghetti and meatballs, Swedish meatballs, you name it…
No, I’m not pregnant.
I don’t remember ever making meatballs before, however my family tells me I did once. (That’s always a little scary to me.)
Regardless, I set out to use ground turkey, and anything else remotely healthy to LIGHTEN UP SOME MEATBALLS.
Because: WHY NOT.
It took a few tries. The first batch I tried serving with noodles and a light turkey gravy. (That was the Swedish meatball craving.) The family liked it. But it didn’t receive rave reviews. I need to get in touch with our Swedish relatives for a Swanson-family-recipe! (Stay tuned for that.)
The next time I went for the Italian style, with a simple (store-bought,) sauce and whole wheat noodles.
RAVE REVIEWS this time.
I had a bunch of the meatballs out in a bowl for kids to “sample” before I added them to the sauce. The kids literally emptied the bowl when I turned my back. Actually one kid alone emptied the bowl. (I won’t name names, but that Josiah is really in the midst of a growth spurt.)
They had no idea that they were eating VEGETABLES, QUINOA, OATS, and ground turkey.
The flavors came together pretty perfectly.
These are extra-fabulous because I blended in finely chopped (minced) vegetables. The first batch I used only spinach. The next time, I combined carrots, and bell peppers–VERY finely chopped. (I was out of spinach or you bet I would have snuck that in too.) You can play around with the veggies.
Also note: When I make meatloaf, I always add uncooked oats. For these meatballs I decided to combine cooked quinoa (I had some in my fridge,) AND oats. I am pretty sure you could use all of one OR the other as well. Or neither if you are so inclined. As always–I recommend you play around with food, and don’t be afraid to switch things up! My momma taught me that. 😉
Here’s the printable recipe:
Lightened-Up Turkey Meatballs
1 1/3 lbs. lean ground turkey
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (w/ Italian seasoning.)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese. (+ extra for topping.)
1/2 cup 2% milk. (or your choice of milk.)
2 large eggs
1 cup finely chopped (minced.) vegetable (choose from carrots, spinach, bell peppers–
Or your choice of veggie. Mix them all if you like.)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup uncooked oats.
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper.
35 ounces spaghetti sauce of choice.
16 ounces uncooked spaghetti.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine ground turkey, milk, parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs well.
Gently beat eggs, then add to mixture.
Finely chop your veggies–(*I recommend using a food processor so they are so tiny,
small children will not recognize. :))
Add veggies to the rest.
Add the rest of the ingredients: Cooked quinoa, oats, salt and pepper.
Use hands to combine well.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray>
Roll meatballs into bite-sized balls, and place on baking sheet.
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes
While baking, cook the spaghetti noodles according to package directions.
Heat spaghetti sauce in a pan over medium heat.
When meatballs are done, add them to the sauce and cover well. (you can leave a few out for snacking.)
Combine noodles with the sauce/meatball mixture, OR serve noodles topped with the meatballs and sauce.
Top with parmesan cheese.
Much Aloha! See you this weekend!
Hmm, I have never added cheese or milk into my meatballs. However, oatmeal or breadcrumbs yes. Sometimes panko or even matzo meal.
Growing up mom would always use meatballs in a stroganoff (instead of ground meat). However, now I just love munching on meatballs plain. Or with hoisin sauce, or with BBQ sauce. Okay, I just love meatballs.
what’s there not to love about meatballs!? My family just LOVED these, and even said they wished we could have them every single night.
It’s a little labor-intensive, but very worthwhile. And an absolute key: Dousing them w/ plenty of S&P before baking. yum–I’m w/ you–pop ’em straight into your mouth. 🙂
Make up double batches every time and keep them in the fridge. Plus it is a great all-hands on deck, anyone can roll balls.
haha–And you can imagine how much fun they had every time I referred to rolling the balls…(;))