Turkey Meatballs

close up of meatballs in red sauce garnished with chopped parsley and parmesan

Dinner | January 3, 2020 | By

Turkey Meatballs in marinara sauce ~ ground turkey meatballs loaded with flavor, cooked in marinara. Serve over pasta for a delicious, healthy meal.

If you think beef is the only way to go with meatballs, think again. These Turkey Meatballs are pan-seared then braised in rich homemade marinara for an easy weeknight dinner that’s gourmet enough to entertain with.

My husband calls them “fowl balls“. I can’t make this stuff up. Call them what you like – they’ll win over your pickiest eater.

 

This recipe starts with a healthy protein, ramped up with some finely chopped fresh spinach. It doesn’t alter the taste, but does add nutritional value.

Tips for the BEST meatballs:

There’s no magic involved: 1) sear the meat for another layer of flavor.

2) Turkey can be dry but by braising them in marinara, they’ll not only retain moisture, but have the added taste of the marinara. Win-win.

3) Don’t overmix the meat. This stands whether you’re using ground turkey or beef.

What’s in Turkey Meatballs:  

  • fresh spinach
  • parsley
  • onion
  • ground turkey
  • garlic cloves
  • egg
  • breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Making the Turkey Meatballs:

Finely chop the spinach, parsley and onion. 

Combine the turkey, grated garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, finely chopped spinach and parsley, onion, Worcestershire, tomato paste, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl.

Gently blend using your hands without overmixing then roll into about golf ball size meatballs.

Drizzle about one tablespoon of olive oil to a deep skillet or pot. When the oil is warm, add the meatballs searing on two sides. 

NOTE: the meatballs will NOT be cooked through at this point. As they brown, remove them from the skillet and set them aside. Don’t wash the pot ~ you’ll be using it for the marinara.

What’s in the easy homemade Marinara Sauce?

  • olive oil
  • garlic cloves
  • onion
  • crushed red pepper (optional)
  • tomato paste
  • dry red wine (chianti, cabernet, merlot)
  • crushed tomatoes
  • fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil

How to make easy homemade Marinara:

In the same pot you cooked the meatballs, add another tablespoon of olive oil then grate in the garlic, a small pinch of crushed red pepper and chopped onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. When the onions are soft, fold in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.

meatballs simmering in marinara sauce in black skillet

Pour in the wine, reduce the heat and simmer 3-4 minutes letting the wine reduce then stir in crushed tomatoes, parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Once the sauce is combined, transfer the meatballs to the pot then cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Stir in the basil and serve with your favorite pasta.

Can I use jar marinara instead?

By all means if you have a favorite go-to marinara in the jar you can definitely use it with these turkey meatballs instead of the homemade marinara. The meatballs are the star of this show!

Enjoy!

Looking for other Italian favorites? Check out:

Chicken Parmesan  – step by step instructions for this Italian classic.

Lasagna Soup – slow cooker and 30 minute stove to table options.

Pasta Alla Vodka – pasta in a delicious tomato-cream sauce.

If you made this recipe then I’d love to hear from you with a comment or star rating in the recipe box!

Do we share a love of easy, tasty recipes? LIKE ME on FACEBOOK, FOLLOW along on TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST and SUBSCRIBE ⇓ for all the latest. 

meatballs in marinara piled high on a white plate

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara

Ground turkey meatballs braised in flavor-rich marinara. 
PIN for later!
Print Recipe
CourseMain Course
CuisineAmerican, Italian
Keywordturkey meatballs, italian turkey meatballs, healthy turkey meatballs
Servings4

Ingredients

MEATBALLS

  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 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 dry red wine chianti, cabernet or merlot
  • 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

  • Finely chop the spinach, parsley and onion. 
  • Combine the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, spinach, parsley, onion, Worcestershire, tomato paste, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl.
  • Blend without overmixing then using your hands roll into about golf ball size meatballs.
  • 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.
  • 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 3-4 minutes stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. When the onions are soft, fold in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.
  • Pour in the wine, reduce the heat and simmer 3-4 minutes letting the wine reduce, then stir in crushed tomatoes, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Once the sauce is combined, transfer the meatballs to the pot.
  • Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until cooked through then stir in the basil and serve over your favorite pasta.
Nutrition Facts
Turkey Meatballs and Marinara
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 0mg0%
Carbohydrates 0g0%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 0g0%
Vitamin A 0IU0%
Vitamin C 0mg0%
Calcium 0mg0%
Iron 0mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Comments

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