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August 30, 2015

Baked Turkey Meatballs w/ Simple Spicy Tomato Sauce and Barbecue Polenta

Post by heartfoodie

This is what I call a weekend dish. It takes longer than my typical 30-minute dishes but I always have extra meatballs which I freeze to enjoy on a week night. Low in fat, cholesterol but high in protein and satisfaction. My not-so-secret turkey meatballs!

Why is this good food good for you?

  1. Ground turkey vs. ground beef. Another introduction to our menu was ground turkey. It holds a lot of flavour and it’s a great source of protein. It holds half the bad, heart clogging saturated fat than ground beef. I’ve tried so many ways to make turkey meatballs and I think this is the best version or substitute to beef meatballs. I make the turkey meatballs sweet with onions and the sauce spicy with red pepper flakes, pretty good combination if I don’t say so myself!

  2. Polenta vs. pasta. In this dish, I use polenta instead of pasta for two reasons.

    1. I find it more filling than pasta, so call it portion control; and

    2. It has less calories, fat and carbs.
      ​The one thing it has going against pasta is a higher sodium content, but like I mentioned, a little goes a long way!

  3. Baked vs. fried. Why deep fry a perfectly healthy turkey meatball when you can bake it? Deep frying anything adds a lot of unnecessary fat and calories where baking requires little to no oil to achieve the same crusty, brown exterior. If that doesn’t sell you, baking requires less work. So there.

Skip ahead to the nutritional facts and printer-friendly version of this recipe.


1  tbsp olive oil
1  large finely chopped, onion
3  minced garlic cloves
1  tbsp freshly, chopped thyme
1  tbsp dried oregano
1/2  tbsp salt
1/4  tbsp ground pepper
1/3  chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1  tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4  cup seasoned, Italian breadcrumbs
1/3  grated parmesan cheese
1/2  freshly, chopped parsley
1 tbsp mustard
1 egg white
1.5  lb lean ground turkey

      1  tbsp olive oil
2  crushed garlic cloves
1  tsp red pepper flakes
2  cup tomato passata
salt and pepper to taste

 500  g prepared polenta roll (1 roll)

          freshly chopped basil
shaved parmesan cheese

10 Easy Steps (Instructions):


Step 1: 
Preheat oven at 400.

Step 2: Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-low heat. Slow cook the onions until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Step 3:
  Bring up the heat to medium, deglaze pan with broth and Worcestershire sauce.  You want to reduce the broth down until there is a tablespoon left, approximately 5 minutes.

 Step 4: Once the broth has been reduced, remove from heat. I usually put it in a bowl and right into the fridge for it to cool.

Step 5: 
At this point, I start the sauce.  Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Toss the smashed garlic cloves in and let it cook for a minute.

Step 6:  Add passata and red pepper flakes to the cloves. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. I let it simmer while I prepare the meatballs.


Step 7: 
In a bowl, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, mustard, egg white and cooled onion mixture.  Mix thoroughly with wooden spoon or by hand. If you find the mixture too dry, add more egg whites, if too wet, more breadcrumbs.

Step 8:  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking oil. Form meatballs to the size of golf balls.  Bake for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Step 9:  While the meatballs cook, I prepare my polenta by slicing them into half inch discs and brushing them lightly with oil.  Cook them on medium-high heat on the barbecue, 3 minutes each side. Alternatively, you can broil them in the oven, for a minute or two on each side, but keep an eye on them.

Step 10: Now all of your components should be done!  To serve, place meatballs in the sauce and spoon them over the polenta. Top with freshly chopped basil and shaved Parmesan.

Enjoy! Nutritional facts and printer-friendly version of this recipe here.