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Here’s a little secret most Italians don’t want you to know: if prepared just right, turkey meatballs taste just like real meatballs. It’s true, I swear. Give it a try. I like this dish for a few reasons. 1-It’s a less guilty way to get your meat fix, and you really don’t miss the added calories or fat. 2-It looks fancy, but is really simple to make. 3-It’s great a meal to make for a crowd.

I made this the night before Election Day, popped the entire pan in the refrigerator when I was done, and finished it on the stove the next night as I bickered over the election results with my boyfriend. Meatballs and political spats. Good old American fun.

You can sub the ground turkey in this recipe for the traditional ground beef/pork/veal combination if you’d like, but why would you do that? The holidays are coming up. Save your calories for the things that really matter, like cakes and pies and cookies and….

[Yeah, those recipes are coming, just wait.]

Enjoy! J

The Ingredients

Yields 14-16 meatballs
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp dried parsley or 1 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 egg
¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
8 oz fresh mozzarella (I use Bel Gioioso)
28 oz crushed tomatoes (I use Cento)

The Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, kosher salt, parsley, Italian seasoning, and the minced garlic. Mix thoroughly with your hands.

  2. Add the egg and breadcrumbs to your seasoned turkey and mix with hands until consistent texture throughout.

  3. Dice mozzarella into 14-16 ½ inch cubes.

  4. Take about 2 tbsp of the turkey mixture and roll it into a meatball around the fresh mozzarella.

  5. Brown meatballs in a skillet with a few tsp of olive oil.

  6. Once the outside of the meatball is browned and firm, add the crushed tomatoes to the skillet. You can season the crushed tomatoes to get a better flavor. I typically add parsley, salt, a tsp of sugar, and garlic to my crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium low and let the meatballs simmer on the stove for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your meatballs, turning them in the sauce every 5-10 minutes. Undercooking the turkey is dangerous. Overcooking can result in little meatball rocks. So keep an eye on them as you go.

  7. Serve over pasta and enjoy. J