We’re been using ground turkey, instead of ground beef, for quite a while now. One of the favorite recipes in our house is for my Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spinach. They are healthy, full of flavor, and I LOVE that I don’t have to stand at the stove frying them.
Below you will find my recipe for Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spinach. The most common way we enjoy them is in my Oven Baked Meatball Sandwiches — which are super easy. But even if meatball sandwiches aren’t your thing, I have our 9 other favorite ways of eating meatballs right after the recipe.
UPDATE: There have been so many great comments on this recipe! One of the biggest question was about the calorie count on these and one of my readers determined them to have 60 calories per meatball — I’m sure this will vary depending on each how you make them, but this is great to know. Also, I’ve had readers who have successfully used fresh spinach, rather than frozen spinach, so if you want to give that a try, go for it!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional - adjust to your preference)
- 16 oz frozen chopped spinach (defrosted, drained, and squeezed to remove excess water)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ⅓ cup chicken broth
- 2½ lbs lean ground turkey
- ¾ cup bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray. I actually line my baking sheet with foil and then spray with cooking spray.
- In a frying pan on medium heat, heat olive oil until hot. Then add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until onion is tender (about 5-6 minutes total time).
- Add spinach to pan and combine with onion mixture. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken broth and mix well to combine. Cook until most of the liquid has cooked out (evaporated). I don't have much liquid in my pan after I combine all these, but it will depend on how well you drained your spinach. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, and egg. Add cooled onion/spinach mixture to the meat. I do all of this step with my hands, but you can use a spoon if you prefer.
- 5. With your hands, create meatballs that are about 1 - 1½ inches in diameter and place them on the baking sheet. Leave a little bit of space between each meatball. When you are done shaping your meatballs, you will probably have about 40-42 meatballs from this recipe. Don't need that many? Freeze them after baking or cut this recipe in half (but I say freeze them and then you've done the work only once and have a future meal).
- Bake until your meatballs are cooked through with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F - which was about 20 minutes for my oven. Remove from oven and serve as desired.
Our Top 10 Ideas for Meatballs
1. Meatball Sandwiches (cooked meatballs in a hoagie roll with a tomatoe based sauce and mozzerella cheese)
2. Served on top of pasta with pasta sauce
3. Covered in casserole dish with pasta sauce and mozzerella cheese; baked until hot & bubbly
4. Used as the main filling in calzones (wrapped in a pizza-type dough and baked)
5. Placed on a skewer before or after baking (fun for the kids)
6. Make and cook very tiny meatballs, only 1/2 inch in diameter (reduce baking temp/time as necessary) and top pizza with them
7. Place cooked meatballs in crockpot and simmer in favorite sauce; serve with toothpicks
8. Replace the chicken in your favorite soup with cooked meatballs instead (turkey meatball noodle soup, anyone?)
9. Slice cooked meatballs and use as filling in Italian quesadilla with mozzerella cheese in a tortilla
10. Make big meatballs (2-3″ diameter) bake in muffin tins; adjust cooking time as necessary
What are your favorite ways to serve meatballs?