turkey meatballs
  • 6 cups basic tomato sauce (see recipe here) or you can use your favorite homemade or store bought brand
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat
  • 2 large eggs, beaten - Make sure to use large not extra large eggs here
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed
  • Optional - 1 pound spaghetti or linguine if you're going to make traditional spaghetti and meatballs
  1. In a large pot, gently heat the 6 cups tomato sauce over low heat (only do this step if you're not making the sauce fresh). Remove from the sauce from the heat and cover to keep warm. You want to warm up the sauce so you're not throwing hot meatballs into a cold sauce, as you're going to add the meatballs to this sauce to finish their cooking. I used my basic tomato sauce, as it makes 6 cups and really pairs perfectly with the meatballs. I usually make the sauce a day or so ahead so I'm not making 2 recipes at once.
  2. Pour the 1 cup panko breadcrumbs into a large bowl. Add the ⅓ cup of milk and let them soak until the breadcrumbs have absorbed the milk completely, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the 2 pounds of turkey, 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup of parmesan, 2 tablespoons oregano, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Using your hands, fork or a rubber spatula, mix gently just until well combined. Do not overmix or the meatballs will be tough.
  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with some parchment paper. Roll the turkey mixture into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls between your palms. As the balls are formed, put them on the baking sheet. Once all of the meatballs are formed, put them in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.
  6. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat (I used my 12-inch cast iron skillet). Depending on the size of your pan, add about 7-10 meatballs, making sure not to crowd them too much.
  7. Cook them turning as needed with a spatula or prongs until nicely browned on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. It may take longer or shorter depending on how hot your pan is. Here's a tip for browning all sides evenly. Once I get some initial browning on the meatballs, I push them over to the sides of the cast-iron pan so that two sides of the meatball can get browned at the same time. It also helps to keep them from rolling around all over the place. I keep rolling them around until they get evenly browned on all sides. We like our meatballs to have a bit of a brown crust.
  8. They do not need to be cooked through as they will finish cooking off in the sauce. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to the pot of tomato sauce. Note: Your tomato sauce is warm here, but not on direct heat until all of the meatballs have been added to it, as you want the all meatballs to cook together in the sauce. Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs until all of your meatballs have been browned.
  9. Once all the meatballs have been browned and added to the sauce, place the tomato sauce over low heat and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 15-20 minutes or more depending on how long your browned your meatballs or how large or small they turned out. I always take out my trusty meat thermometer to test my meatballs, as I'm kind of a freak about undercooked meat.
  10. You can serve up these meatballs as is (sans the pasta) paired with some garlic bread (to absorb all the sauce) and a nice big salad, like my lacinato kale salad or kid friendly caesar salad. You could throw them over some linguine or spaghetti to make a traditional spaghetti and meatball dinner. You can also make a batch of meatball subs for a Superbowl party (see instructions at the top of the post). These meatballs pair with just about anything.
  11. I have also made this recipe ahead on a Sunday and then pulled it out for dinner throughout the week. To re-heat, place the meatballs and sauce in a sauce pan over medium-low heat, cover and cook until the sauce is warm and the meatballs are warmed through.
Recipe by Marin Mama Cooks at https://marinmamacooks.com/2013/01/turkey-meatballs/