Turkey meatballs. Sounds pretty basic and not very interesting, right? Well, think again. These little numbers are not only fun and easy to make, but extra healthy and loaded with flavour. As always I like to figure out ways to get some extra nutritional boost into my recipes. It's my thing when it comes to baking and cooking. So, these turkey meatballs are low fat, and even healthier with added vegetables and ground flax seeds. Ground flax seeds? That's right. With this addition you've got some omega-3s (and added moisture) from the flax seeds for good measure, plus soluble and insoluble fibre. With the carrot you have extra vitamins (vitamin A in particular), and of course the turkey is a lean protein. How about a little zing? Fresh squeezed lemon juice will do nicely. Why not add a little cheese? Finely grated parmesan cheese does the trick. A mixture of fresh and dried herbs and fresh garlic add texture and extra flavour too. Yum.
These would be great as little appetizers, but I served them with a light (also vegetable-filled) tomato sauce over pasta.
Kid's Stuff: If you have babies or kids these are a great way to give them something fun to eat that is loaded with tasty, healthy ingredients. I sliced them up for my one year old for lunch the next day and she loved them. For older kids you could give the meatballs to them whole obviously. Grate a little extra parmesan or romano on top to make it even tastier for them (or you for that matter).
Here's what I did with some extra ideas noted below:
Makes at least a dozen (12) meatballs, depending on what size you make them. I got about 15 out of my mixture.
Preparation time: about 1/2 hour - give or take a little and depending on how fast a chopper you are!
Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes
- 1 lb/500 g ground turkey (approximately)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) flax seeds (about 1.5 tablespoons whole seeds). I like to leave some of the seeds whole for added texture.
- 1 cup (250 ml) fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices of toast)
- 1/2 cup (75 ml) onion (about 1/2 medium sized onion), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (75 ml) carrot (about 1/2 medium sized carrot), finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried basil
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- more freshly grated parmesan cheese
- freshly grated romano cheese
Put the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Take a fork or spoon and break it up.
Finely chop the carrot, onion, garlic. Add to the bowl with the ground turkey
Toast two slices of bread and grind in a food processor or coffee grinder (I have one I use just for this and flax seeds). Add to the bowl with the ground turkey, carrot, onion and garlic.
Grind the flax seeds. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients
Chop the rosemary. Add this and the other herbs to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Grate the parmesan cheese and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. .
Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the bowl with the other ingredients.
Add the egg to the bowl with the other ingredients. .
Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper to the mixture.
Take a fork or spoon and mix all of the ingredients together. When well mixed, form the mixture into little balls with your hands. I formed mine into about 1.5 inch (3 cm) balls - they would be great slightly smaller or bigger I am sure.
In a suitably sized saucepan (non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron), over medium high heat, with the olive oil or vegetable oil added to the saucepan, lightly brown the meatballs all over and then cook until cooked through. I cut one in half to check for doneness. I also find it helps to keep them moist if you add a splash of water and cover the saucepan to basically steam them until cooked (after browning).
Serve as an appetizer or with your favourite pasta dish.