Easiest Turkey Meatballs

OMG. I’m typing this seconds after my husband told me these are the best meatballs he’s had IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE! Talk about a kitchen victory!

And here’s the thing! Turkey things like meatballs and burgers have a reputation for being sub par compared to the beef versions. I get it—I’ve had my fair share of bland, dry turkey.

But as always, turkey isn’t gross. Neither are veggies or tofu or anything else for that matter. It’s all about having a good recipe! Beef is just a little easier to work with as it has more fat which covers up for lousy cooking.

Speaking of fat, turkey is a great beef alternative as it’s considered to be a lean protein and is much lower in saturated fat. Consuming too much saturated can put you at greater risk for heart disease.

Now you may be thinking “Heart disease? I’m too young and strong to be thinking about that!” But I’m telling ya, how you eat now has an long term impact. AND it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice deliciousness! Or all red meat. The current guidelines are to limit red meat to no more than 2 servings a week.

Fueling notes:

  • Per serving, this recipe packs 43 g of carbs, 26 g of protein, and 10 g of fat, and 2 g of fiber
  • Pre-workout: have at least 2 hours before your session to give you enough time to digest.
  • Post-workout: ideally you’d add ~20 grams of carbs (1 slice of garlic bread) for that ideal 3-4:1 ratio of carbs to protein! Have post-workout meal within 1-2 hours of your session.

The Stuff

  • 2, 24-oz jars of tomato sauce (or homemade)
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (here’s how to make your own)
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The Steps

  1. Fill a large skillet with the tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
  2. While the sauce is heating, combine all ingredients except breadcrumbs (and pasta obviously) in a bowl. With your hands, gently crumble the ground turkey into chunks and toss the mixture to combine the ingredients without squeezing it.
  3. Once all ingredients are combined, add in the breadcrumbs and toss the ingredients again. The mixture should form together in large clumps.
  4. Gently form meatballs about 1 inch in diameter and add them to the skillet with the heated tomato sauce.
  5. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Gently stir the sauce occasionally so it doesn’t stick but be careful not to break up the meatballs.
  6. Once you add the meatballs to the skillet, bring the pasta water plus 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil and then cook the pasta according to the directions.
  7. Serve meatballs and sauce over pasta and enjoy!

Did you make it? I’d love to see how it turned out! Tag @climbingdietitian on instagram.

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Published by Chiara

I’m a rock climber and registered dietitian teaching fellow climbers to become the strongest and happiest versions of themselves with evidence-based fueling strategies and by making peace with food.

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