These tender and super-flavorful baked turkey meatballs won’t weigh you down. They’re great on their own or tucked into a classic Italian meatball sub.
You guys. These meatballs. These TURKEY meatballs. Please hold.
I just got up to eat one. Not even kidding.
Except…by one, I mean two. Don’t I always?
Apparently people forget about cooking with turkey when it’s not Thanksgiving? Otherwise I wouldn’t think the turkey people would really pay me for making delicious, delicious meatball subs. People should remember about turkey, seriously. It’s got a terrific nutritional profile (which you can learn more about here) and is incredibly versatile. In this recipe I’ve used a mix of white and dark meat to make luscious but still totally light and good-for-ya meatballs that can stand on their own, grace a bowl of spaghetti or zoodles, or — if you’re smarter than average (and aren’t we all?) — get tucked inside a traditional Italian meatball sub.
This is great game day food or weeknight dinner food or even cool single lady couple-of-lunches, couple-of-dinners food. Honestly, it’s great food to eat standing over the stove with a spoon. I’ve heard.
I’m not going to keep you much longer, because I don’t really feel comfortable standing between you and this meal. I’ll just back away slowly and let you get to it. (Also, I might need to go into the kitchen with a spoon for a sec myself, no reason.)
Don’t forget about turkey, mmm-kay? Talk to you soon.
Baked Turkey Meatballs
These baked turkey meatballs are incredibly tender and flavorful and won't weigh you down. Eat them alone, with spaghetti or zoodles, or amp them up by making them into Italian meatball subs.
For the Meatballs
- 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs from white bread
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Big pinch ground cayenne
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- A few good grinds black pepper
- 1 pound ground turkey (dark meat or a combination of white and dark meat)
- 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce or mine (see note)
For the Subs
- 4 good rolls
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese
For the Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Into a large bowl place the bread crumbs, milk, onion, garlic, parsley, cheese, fennel seed, oregano, salt, egg and pepper. Beat together with a fork. Add ground turkey and use fork to mix well but without overworking.
Use two spoons or a small ice cream scoop to form 12 meatballs, spacing evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip with a spatula and bake 5 minutes more, until just cooked through.
Heat tomato sauce in a medium pan, then add meatballs and simmer for a minute or two.
For the Subs:
Split each roll in half, top with three meatballs, some sauce and a couple of slices of cheese (plus some extra grated parmesan or pecorino if you like). Broil until cheese is melted, close sandwich and serve immediately.
Here's the recipe for my favorite tomato sauce.