My local grocery store carries Italian spiced ground turkey, and in an effort to cook more healthy meals I decided one time to use it to make spaghetti and meatballs. However, I couldn’t find a good meatball recipe that worked with this turkey. So I decided to experiment. My first attempt was awful. It was too salty, and the parmesan cheese and garlic were too strong. The second attempt was okay, but nothing to write home (or in a blog) about.
Last Tuesday was my third attempt. I must have finally gotten it right because my husband remarked three times during dinner, “This dinner is delicious!” My son said it was a meal worthy of the last day of summer vacation before school started, and then he went back for seconds. So I thought I would share this version, in part to preserve the recipe for the next time I make this dish, but also because there might be someone else out there who wants to make turkey meatballs and can’t find a good recipe.
1.25 lb package Italian spiced ground turkey
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
6 – 8 small cherry tomatoes or 1 – 2 small Roma tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut tomatoes in half (for cherry tomatoes) or quarters (for Roma) and place in a small food processor. Add 2 – 3 leaves basil, torn into small pieces and 1 tbsp olive oil. Blend together. Place all ingredients and tomato mixture into a mixing bowl and mix together by hand. Once it is all thoroughly mixed, roll into 1 inch balls and place on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350° for 35 – 45 minutes.
Serve with pasta and your favorite sauce. We like it with Alfredo, but a nice tomato sauce is good, too. Sorry I don’t have a recipe for the sauce. I cheat and use sauce from a jar. For dinner last Tuesday, I served it with a side dish of fresh green beans and toasted sesame garlic bread.
Note: I use a silpat on the jelly roll pan, but if you don’t have one you can cover the pan with aluminum foil to keep the meatballs from sticking. Then go out and get a silpat for the next time! If you don’t know what a silpat is, Google it. They are really handy. My husband bought me one for Christmas several years ago, and it just sat in my cupboard for over a year because I didn’t know what to do with it. Now I wouldn’t bake cookies, meatballs, or anything else that tends to stick without it.
Note on the basil: You could substitute a 1/2 tsp of dried basil. I just happen to have a basil plant in my kitchen window so I used the fresh leaves.