Turkey Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Turkey Meatball Bowls

I know. I know. Leili just put up a tomato sauce recipe and I’m doing something similar. As wacky as it sounds, sometimes we don’t always have time to smartly plan out our next recipes because we’re both busy gals. Also, not to point fingers, but Leili is a terrible texter. Seriously.

Turkey Meatballs Final

Maybe this public shaming will help her curb her response time. Shame.

Meatballs Ingredients

Meatball Mix

Ok, back to eating. Leili made a delicious vegan and healthy bolognese. Trust me, I tried it and it was amazing. While Leili’s focused on vegetables and health, I am crashing through the supermarket and grabbing whatever seems to inspire me in the moment. It happens when I’m uninspired sitting at home but find all these ideas once I see the ingredients. Another term would be disorganized.

Turkey Meatball Shape

Turkey Meatballs

The main goal for a sauce dish was really to not cook as often – it’s a task I try to avoid when a heat wave is approaching. Smart, right? During a heat wave, I either eat loads of ice cream or eat yummy leftovers. Since I’m also trying to be healthy, it seems the latter would be the right thing to do.

Tomato Sauce

This recipe was the perfect setup for dinner, leftovers, lunch, etc. It made my life incredibly easy for a week. I didn’t have to worry about cooking – all I needed to do was add pasta. I copied the recipe from The Kitchn because they made it seem so easy and delicious. And it was!

Meatballs and Sauce

I switched up a few things: I used panko crumbs instead traditional breadcrumbs because that’s what I had. It worked perfectly. I also added a little bit of fresh sage to the meatballs because I want them to be wise. Bad one? Ok sorry.

Turkey Meatballs Cheese

This recipe is really a two in one: there are the meatballs and there is the simple tomato sauce, too. If you start the tomato sauce first, by the time you’re done with the meatballs, the sauce should finish as well.

This savory one is for sharing or all for your bad self for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Turkey Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
adapted from The Kitchn
By W.
Serves about 4-6

Tomato Sauce
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and pepper
Cayenne powder (optional)
Pinch of dried thyme
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
28 ounces San Marzano tomato puree
1 cup cold water
1/2 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Turkey Meatballs (makes about 20)
1 pound ground turkey (I used 94% lean)
1/4 cup minced onion
1 egg
1/3 cup panko crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon sage, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Tomato Sauce

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Throw in chopped onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Reduce heat to low and add garlic. Add pinch of cayenne and cook for about a minute –  don’t let the garlic brown. Crush dried thyme between fingers and add to the pan. Add balsamic vinegar and white wine and turn heat to high to reduce the wine.

Gently pour in the tomato puree and cold water and stir. Bring to a boil and then back down to a gentle simmer. Let the sauce simmer for an hour or more if you’d like. Add more cold water if necessary and occasionally stir the tomato sauce so it doesn’t burn. Add the chopped parsley 15 minutes before finishing.

Turkey Meatballs

Combine all the ingredients – remember to season generously with salt and pepper because the lean meat doesn’t provide too much flavor. Mix either with hand or spatula until everything is thoroughly combined. Cover the meatballs and chill them for 15 minutes or so. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment paper.

Have a bowl of cold water close by before shaping the meatballs. Start by wetting your hands with cold water and begin rolling the meatball between your palms. Roll them into 1 1/4″ size; I made mine a little bigger, around 1 1/2″. Gently lay them on the sheet pan as you go and don’t let them touch or they’ll stick. Once you’re done shaping them, place them in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. This will just help them keep their shape before browning them.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add olive oil. Use a spoon to lift the raw meatball and gently place into the hot skillet. Again, don’t let the meatballs touch while cooking. Brown each side for about 2 minutes before flipping. You may need to do this in batches if your skillet isn’t large enough. Simply transfer back to the sheet pan before doing the next batch.

Once they’re all cooked, add them to the tomato sauce and let them simmer for 10 minutes. While they’re cooking, you can get started on the pasta.

To serve, simply ladle the turkey meatballs and tomato sauce onto some warm pasta. Garnish with extra fresh parsley and Parmesan.

Turkey Meatball Pasta

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