Turkey Meatballs in Marinara Sauce are so good and tender. Use low-fat turkey breast and you won't miss the beef or the calories.
The story behind Turkey Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
Where's the Beef? You won't miss the beef or the calories with these tasty turkey meatballs in marinara sauce!
Ground Turkey Meat vs Ground Beef
Turkey meatballs are lower in saturated fats and calories than meatballs made with ground beef because I used lean, ground breast meat.
Buyer Beware: Turkey breast is lean, but the dark meat isn’t, and some ground turkey contains both. A quarter-pound of regular ground turkey contains 3g sat fat. Compare that to only 2.5g in the same amount of sirloin.
Ground turkey breast, on the other hand, has just half a gram of sat fat, so the right cut of turkey is a significant fat-cutter.
So be sure to look at the label. If you can't get lean ground turkey breast at the store, you could buy a half breast and grind it yourself (or ask your friendly butcher to grind it for you), or substitute ground chicken breast, or use lean ground sirloin.
For the marinara, you could use your favorite jarred sauce. Or make a simple homemade marinara. I usually make a large batch of fresh, then freeze it. That way I always have some homemade marinara available.
The choice of pasta is up to you, but these meatballs are best served on long kinds of pasta such as spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine.
Turkey Meatballs In Marinara Sauce
- 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup Italian style season breadcrumbs or more as needed
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- ½ cup finely grated carrot
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) rinsed, drained and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves plus some for garnish
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or dried
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves or dried
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 batch Basic Marinara Sauce or 1 (28 -ounce) jar marinara
- Preheat broiler. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet, or cover with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey with the olive oil, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, carrot, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, thyme, oregano, egg, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix well, if the mixture feels too loose, add a bit more bread crumbs until the meat holds together when forming a ball. Form into 2 inch balls (do not compact the meat, use a light touch when making the meatballs); place on the baking sheet. Place under the broiler for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally so all sides get brown and the meatballs are almost cooked.
- Heat the marinara in a saucepan. Add meatballs; cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the meatballs absorb some of the sauce. While the meatballs are cooking; prepare pasta of your choice according to package directions.
- Drain the pasta and divide between 6 heated pasta bowls; top with meatballs and marinara. Garnish with fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.