How to Make Healthy Turkey Meatballs

Healthier Kid-Friendly Recipe: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

meatballs

Make this easy meatball recipe to go with whole wheat pasta and a canned or jarred low-sugar marinara sauce.  Some popular sauces with less than six grams of sugar are Hunt’s No-Added-Sugar Italian Style Sauce, Meijer’s Marinara Sauce and Ragu’s No-Sugar-Added Tomato & Basil Sauce.  Read labels to find healthy choices.

Makes 6 servings:  2 meatballs per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (at least 85% lean)
  • 3 slices of whole wheat bread, soaked in water and drained (you can squeeze out the excess water with your hands)
  • 1 egg (or ¼ cup of egg substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon powdered oregano
  • 1 tablespoon powdered thyme
  • 1/3 cup dry parsley
  • ½ cup finely grated reduced fat parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Mix bread into ground turkey, add beaten egg (or egg substitute). Mix well.
  3. Add spices: garlic, oregano and thyme. Mix well.
  4. Add parsley; mix.
  5. Add parmesan cheese. Mix and shape into 2” meatballs (a little bigger than a ping pong ball).
  6. Place meatballs on a broiler pan or baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Turn half way through to ensure even cooking.

Cook’s Tips

  • Ask the kids to help! They’ll love using their hands to mix up the meatballs – just make sure they wash their hands before and after mixing.
  • Parmesan cheese in the container with a green lid works best. If you have trouble locating the reduced fat parmesan cheese – ask a store clerk for help or ask the store manager to order it.
  • These meatballs freeze well! You can double or tripe the recipe to have them for future meals. Serve one pound of meatballs. After cooling, place extra meatballs into a tightly-sealed plastic bag and freeze for quick dinners on nights when you’re too busy to cook. To reheat meatballs, bake in oven (350°F) for 25-30 minutes if frozen or 20-25 minutes if thawed; or microwave uncovered in batches of 8-10 meatballs on high for 2-3 minutes if frozen or 1½ or 2½ minutes if thawed.

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Shelly Frank, RD, LD

About the Author: Shelly Frank, RD, LD

Shelly Frank, RD, LD is a clinical dietitian with the Center for Better Health and Nutrition and the HealthWorks! programs within Cincinnati Children's Heart Institute. Shelly has been providing pediatric weight management services at Cincinnati Children’s for over 15 years.

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