Turkey Meatballs and Marinara

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

Dinner | February 27, 2017 | By

If you think beef is the only way to go with meatballs, think again. Turkey Meatballs and Marinara are pan-seared then braised in rich, robust marinara for a dish that not only your family will love but it’s classy enough (if you’re the type that has classy friends) for company too.

While I could be perfectly content with old-school marinara my husband is a card-carrying carnivore that needs meat and actually believes it improves his life. Who am I to argue?

These turkey meatballs won over the carnivore who calls them “fowl balls“. I can’t make this stuff up. They’ll win over your pickiest eater, too.

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

I also added some chopped fresh spinach to the meatballs and while it doesn’t change the flavor, it adds nutritional value.

There’s no magic involved to get to this delicious taste. Followers know I love to sear meat ~ you can’t substitute the flavor you get when the meat hits that hot pan. That’s Part I.

Part II for this Turkey Meatballs and Marinara recipe is braising the meatballs in a quick homemade marinara so they absorb all that robust tomato-garlic flavor. 

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • Olive oil 
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Progresso Italian Style breadcrumbs (or your favorite brand)
  • 1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

Add the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, spinach, parsley, onion, Worcestershire, tomato paste, salt and pepper to a medium size bowl.

Gently blend everything together using your hands without over mixing then roll into about golf ball size balls.

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

Next add a drizzle of olive oil to a deep skillet or pot. When the oil is warm, add the meatballs getting a nice sear on two sides. 

NOTE: the meatballs will NOT be cooked through at this point. As they brown, remove them from the skillet or pot and reserve.

Marinara:

  • 2 – cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • small pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of red wine (whatever kind you’ll be drinking with the meal)
  • 1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped

In the same pot add another drizzle of olive oil and the garlic, crushed red pepper and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. When the onions are soft, fold in the tomato paste, cooking 3-4 minutes.

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

Pour in the wine, reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes then stir in crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and parsley.

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

Once the sauce is combined, transfer the meatballs to the pot. Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes. Stir in the basil and cook another 2-3 minute then serve the Turkey Meatballs and Marinara with your favorite pasta.

Want Italian Night more than once a week? Try Chicken Parmesan another favorite of mine!

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara: Tender, juicy meatballs seared then simmered in robust marinara sauce. Healthy twist on a classic without sacrificing taste.

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara
Ingredients
MEATBALLS
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Progresso Italian Style breadcrumbs or your favorite brand
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach stems removed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
MARINARA
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • small pinch crushed red pepper optional
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine whatever kind you’ll be drinking with the meal
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
Instructions
  1. Add the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, spinach, parsley, onion, Worcestershire, tomato paste, salt and pepper to a medium size bowl.

  2. Blend together using your hands then roll into about golf ball size balls.

  3. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a deep skillet or pot. When the oil is warm, add the meatballs searing on 2 sides. NOTE: the meatballs will NOT be cooked through at this point. As they brown, remove them from the skillet or pot and reserve.

  4. In the same pot add another drizzle of olive oil and the garlic, crushed red pepper and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. When the onions are soft, fold in the tomato paste, cooking 3-4 minutes.

  5. Pour in the wine, reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes then stir in crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and parsley. Once the sauce is combined, transfer the meatballs to the pot.

  6. Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes then stir in the basil and cook another 2-3 minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta.