Super Healthy Turkey Meatballs


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On my way to work this morning, I was going through my blog posts on my iPhone and realized how much I missed blogging. I know, I am not the most active blogger out there, but boy, how could I abandon my baby? Feeling totally guilty and inspired, I decided I should write a new post tonight.

This is just a riff on another meatball recipe on this blog. As it happens often now, I’ve tried to make it a healthier, lighter option. I used turkey meat instead of traditional pork/beef/veal combo, and rolled oats instead of white bread or breadcrumbs. I skipped the messy frying part and just simmered the metballs in sauce for 25 minutes.

I was concerned that my meatballs might turn out a bit bland so I made sure my sauce had a big, bold flavor to it. I have to admit at this point that I love garlic and never ever remove it from anything that requires first infusing the oil and then discarding the garlic. I also added a few frozen chopped basil cubes to the sauce. I think it is best to use the frozen stuff here as usually when I cook with fresh basil I add a sprig into the sauce once I remove it from the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes before I take the basil out. I then threw in a few dashes of dried oregano – and my sauce was ready for the meatballs to go in.

The meatballs came out wonderfully. Tender, juicy, flavorful – you would never think they were a healthy version since healthy very often (in many people’s minds) equates to tasteless and uninspired. I served them over zucchini “pasta” ribbons – my latest discovery and something I have to share with you soon.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 1.5 lb ground turkey meat
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • a few dashes of ground nutmeg
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:

  • 1 (28 oz) can tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 cubes of frozen chopped basil
  • a few dashes of dried oregano
  • salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey and the eggs. Put the rolled oats into a bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. The goal is to grind them lightly but still have some texture rather than a fine powder. Add the oats to the meat mixture, then add some salt, freshly ground black pepper, a couple of dashes of ground nutmeg, and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Mix the ingredients well and put the bowl in the fridge while you make your sauce.

In a large heavy pot, heat some olive oil and add the chopped onion. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes but don’t let it brown. Add the garlic, cook for about two minutes, then add the tomatoes. I usually buy a can of whole tomatoes and run them in the food processor until I get a somewhat chunky mixture. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to a simmer, add the frozen chopped basil cubes, dried oregano, and some salt to taste. Cover and cook for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Make 1-inch balls and gently plop them into the simmering sauce. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Fight that desire to stir the pot but go ahead and shake it a bit (just be careful not to splash the sauce all over the stove).

Serve hot over pasta or in a meatball sandwich.

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