February 18, 2013

Loaded Italian-Style Turkey Meatballs

Loaded Italian Style Turkey Meatballs

We came back from our coastal getaway to white, falling snowflakes – the first real flurries to stick since we moved to North Carolina. The cold, wintery day begged for one of our favorite comfort foods: Italian-Style Turkey Meatballs, loaded with cheese and fresh herbs.

There is some time and care required in rolling out each little meatball by hand, but you end up with a delicious, comforting meal that feels so much more special than other, similar Italian meat sauce dishes. We love to eat these piled high atop whole wheat spaghetti, but you can really serve them with any type of pasta you like or even on their own as a savory appetizer.

Loaded Italian Style Turkey Meatballs

Loaded Italian-Style Turkey Meatballs

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Yield: About 30 1-1/2-inch meatballs 1x


A delicious recipe for lighter, Italian-Style Turkey Meatballs, loaded with cheese and fresh herbs.


  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 5 links Italian-style turkey sausage
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 24 oz jars marinara or arrabbiata sauce
  • 16 oz spaghetti pasta


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to gently combine the turkey and the sausage. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except for the egg, until well mixed. Add the breadcrumb mixture to the meat mixture, along with the egg, and using your hands, gently combine until fully incorporated but not over mixed.
  3. Roll the meat into 1-1/2 inch balls and place about two inches apart on the sheet pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the sauce in a large skillet over medium heat. Gently stir the cooked meatballs into the sauce and let simmer, uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain the pasta and top with the meatballs and sauce. Serve hot with a dusting of Parmesan.



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  • Reply
    February 23, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Could use this recipe to make meatloaf instead of meatballs?

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 8:49 am

      I haven’t experimented with that, but the flavors would certainly work… Let me know if you try it!