These tender, moist turkey meatballs do not last long in our kitchen. The moment one of us turns away the other quickly sneaks a meatball and before we know it, all that’s left is an empty pan. The sauce is very simple with crushed canned tomatoes, a little tomato paste and fresh basil. The meatballs are filled with parmesan cheese, parsley and a little oregano. We love these served alone with a dollop of ricotta cheese, over spaghetti or with rustic bread.
Make This Tonight – Tasty Turkey Meatballs Recipe
No lengthy cooking times, no baking and no searing the meatballs. Instead, we start a very simple sauce, bring it to a simmer then focus on forming our meatballs. The moment they’re formed into balls, we drop them into the simmering sauce. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. That’s it.
It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s absolutely delicious.
Tricks to the Best Meatballs – Don’t Over Mix
We’re serious on this one. For the most tender and light meatballs (turkey or beef) you need to have a light touch when mixing and forming. To help with this, we have a couple tricks:
First, combine all the mix-ins first. You’ll see that in our recipe we mix breadcrumbs, milk, an egg and herbs together first. That way, when we add the turkey meat, all we need to do is lightly mix.
Second, these meatballs are pretty wet, so they easily stick together when forming. All you need to do is gently form into a ball. From there, just be careful when working with them. For the first 10 minutes of cooking, don’t stir the sauce and let the meatballs be. Once they’ve cooked and firmed up a bit, you can stir normally.
Did you like our Turkey Meatballs Recipe with Light Tomato Sauce? If so, we bet you’ll love these:
- Cheesy Sausage and Beef Lasagna Recipe from Inspired Taste
- Crockpot Italian Turkey Meatballs Recipe from Skinneytaste
- Easy Crockpot Quinoa Turkey Meatballs Recipe from How Sweet It Is
- Easy Baked Ziti with Spinach from Inspired Taste
Make and enjoy the same day or cool to room temperature cover then keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze up to 1 month.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large basil sprig plus 2 tablespoons torn basil leaves
- 1/2 cup (30 grams) panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup (28 grams) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound (453 grams) ground turkey (93% lean)
- In a large skillet with sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes then cook 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant.
- Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste then bring to a simmer. Season with salt (we used about 1/2 teaspoon), and then add basil spring. Allow sauce to simmer gently while preparing meatballs.
- To make meatballs, combine panko breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl, and then let sit 5 minutes.
- Add egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, parsley, oregano and salt to bowl. Stir until combined.
- Next, add turkey then use a fork or fingers to mix everything together until barely combined. For tender meatballs, try not to over mix.
- Wet your hands and form mixture into 1-inch meatballs. This should make about 24 meatballs.
- Gently drop meatballs into tomato sauce. (It’s okay if some are not completely covered by the sauce). Cover skillet with a lid and cook 20 minutes then gently shimmy or shake the skillet to move the meatballs around a little. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes or until turkey is cooked through.
- Before serving, scatter about 2 tablespoons of torn basil leaves over meatballs and sauce.
- Serve alone, over spaghetti or with rustic bread.