The Best Turkey Spinach Meatballs


Simply put, this dish is truly food for my soul. With Italian roots, I'm a sucker for meatballs. Give me garlic bread to lap up the sauce, and I'm in heaven. It's dishes like this that are best eaten among those who love you unconditionally. Others really shouldn't bear witness. This rendition of my old time fave spoke to my healthy side, which makes it irresistable. There is a small amount of parm, but I made it gluten-free, so no belly issues for me except the pain when it was all gone.

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil

  • 1⁄2 small onion chopped

  • 1 garlic finely chopped

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1⁄4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 T tomato paste

  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes. I recommend Muir Glen Organics for best flavor. I've tried others and Muir Glen is superior.

Meatballs

  • 1 large egg beaten to blend

  • 1⁄4 small onion finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped

  • 1 1⁄2 pound ground turkey preferably 93% lean or less

  • 2 cups finely chopped raw spinach

  • 1⁄2 cup finely grated Parmesan

  • 1⁄2 cup fresh Gluten-free breadcrumbs - take one piece of Udi's Gluten-free bread and pulse in mini Cuisinart. (I always make my own fresh breadcrumbs for fluffier meatballs.)

  • 2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 T olive oil

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Instruction

  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  • Add tomato paste and 1 T water and cook, stirring, until tomato paste coats onion and begins to darken, about 3 minutes.

  • Add diced tomatoes to saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and gently simmer until slightly thickened, 20–25 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

  • Preheat broiler. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick spray.

  • Using your hands, gently mix egg, onion, garlic, turkey, spinach, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, fennel seeds, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl just until combined.

  • Use a ¼-cup to scoop up turkey and form into balls (you should have about 16-20). Place on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2” apart; brush with oil.

  • Broil meatballs on middle rack, turning often, until browned all over and cooked through, 15–18 minutes. Add to marinara sauce.

Garlic Bread

  • 2 loaves Udi's Gluten-Free Baguette (soo good you won't believe it's GF)

  • 2 T butter

  • 2 T olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic

  • Heat butter, olive oil and garlic in sauce pan on moderate-low heat for 3 mins.

  • Brush on bread.

  • Place on third rack down from top of oven and broil on high for 1-2 mins. Check often until lighly browned on the edges.

SERVES: 4. I have a family of four, but I double it since I have two big teen boys and then we have some left over.

TIME: 40 mins

HEARTFUL RECIPE - Remove parm if dairy-free - One of our real food recipes that focuses on veggies, protein, healthy fats and/or healthy carbs and doesn't include gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, corn or peanuts. ​

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