What is going on here? I’ve made TWO recipes that involve handling raw meat all in the same week. This is weird! I usually avoid any dish that requires such dirty work. But I gotta say, lean ground turkey is a lot less repulsive than chicken or pork.
So I wanted to make dinner for my dad and I while my mom was away on a business trip. Of course I wanted to pick something healthy but it had to be hearty too – my dad is hardly the type of guy who considers a spinach mango salad to be a meal. The compromise: Turkey Meatballs in a Veggie Marinara Sauce over brown rice. (Steamed cauliflower not pictured.)
Turkey is a way better alternative to ground hamburger meatballs because it is 99% lean. Lean protein means it comes without unnecessary fat and calories. There is literally no grease in the pan when you cook these! They also aren’t gristly or stringy like regular beef kind. It cooks up nice and white, and you can see the green basil.
I browned the small, golf-ball sized turkey meatballs in a large saucepan. Not to get too elaborate, I forewent a sauce from scratch and used one jar of Prego garlic marinara sauce. Pasta dishes are so heavy, I wanted to fill the sauce with vegetables to make it more filling and nutritious. That way, you don’t need as much rice or pasta. So I added red and yellow bell peppers, onion, and baby carrots. You could also use zucchini, tomatoes and spinach.
It was a perfectly balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. Not to mention, it was Dad-approved! I will now replace any ground beef with ground turkey, starting with a turkey burger in the near future when some more swelling goes down and I can open my jaw all the way.
Italian Turkey Meatballs:
(Makes 24 small meatballs, 6 servings)
20 oz. ground lean turkey (99% lean)
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 gloves of garlic, crushed
Dash of salt & pepper
2 Tbs Basil, finely chopped
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with your hands. Shape into meatballs, about the size of a golf ball. Drizzle a large sauce pan with ½ tbs of olive oil, and place meatballs in it. Cook over medium-high heat until brown.
Add pasta sauce to the pan of meatballs and lower the heat to a simmer. Add in chopped vegetables and cook for about 20 minutes. Top brown rice or whole wheat pasta with sauce and meatballs.