As much as I enjoy cooking, there are some nights when I’m frankly not in the mood. It’s been a long day (or long week) at work, someone isn’t feeling well, or I just went to the grocery store and find myself staring at the fridge feeling utterly uninspired. On nights like these, it’s nice to have an easy, go-to dinner that’s as easy to assemble as it is healthy. Enter the turkey meatball.
Turkey is a great alternative to beef because it has much less fat, and recently it has been much more affordable than beef. Ground turkey can be substituted for ground beef in just about any recipe, which is great if you are trying to improve your diet without sacrificing some of your favorites. Still, raw turkey requires just as much work to prepare as beef, and I was trying to find something I could prepare ahead of time and enjoy with minimal effort on those busy, I-don’t-feel-like-cooking nights. Turkey meatballs check all the boxes- they are so easy to make, the recipe lends itself well to being doubled (or even tripled), and they store and reheat nicely. Oh, and they are healthy and inexpensive! What’s not to love?
I’ve been making two batches of turkey meatballs at a time and keeping some in a Tupperware container in the fridge, and freezing the rest. It’s so simple to toss these meatballs over pasta, pack them for lunch, or eat as a post-work out snack. On busy week nights, I often find myself reaching for the easiest option for dinner, and I’m not above cooking up a frozen pizza after a long day. With just a little preparation a the day (or weekend!) before, we have healthy, delicious meatballs on hand that are easier to re-heat than pizza (just a few seconds in the microwave), and much more satisfying.
To freeze, cool meatballs completely on the baking sheet, and put the entire baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then transfer meatballs to a freezer-safe bag or container. This initial freeze will prevent your meatballs from sticking together in one enormous ball (which for the record, does not count as one meatball). You can reheat turkey meatballs the same way you would with any store bought meatballs. Or eat them straight out of the freezer like my brother and I did when we were kids. Oops.
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 cup oats
- 1 onion, minced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. I find this easier (and much more fun!) to mix these by hand.
- Roll into 1 inch meatballs, and placed on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until turkey full cooked (no pink in the middle)
- Let cool, and enjoy!
I decided to put my oats in the food processor for a few seconds because I didn’t like the look of whole oats in my meatballs (it didn’t affect the taste at all). You can see from the photos that while I was particular with the oats, I didn’t do a very good job chopping the onion and had large pieces of onion in each meatball. I don’t mind large chunks of onion, but I usually chop them much finer. Except I was feeling lazy- welcome to Tuesday nights at our place :]
These meatballs are quickly becoming a staple for lunches in our family. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different flavors- maybe a Greek or gyro meatball or a taco inspired meatball? I’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas for new meatball combinations and flavors!