Recipes that include healthier ingredients, don’t necessarily need to lack flavor and can mimic the characteristics of heavier recipes. There are health benefits to eating lean protein and definitely more vegetables and I encourage recipes that contain both, like these Turkey & Mushroom Meatballs.
I prefer to use dark meat turkey because it is moister than white meat, and soaks up ingredients so perfectly. The meatballs become a tender and juicy with a hint of earthiness from the mushrooms. In this recipe, the mushrooms replace breadcrumbs allowing the meatballs to be lower in carbohydrates and gluten-free.
I prefer to serve these Turkey & Mushroom Meatballs over steamed spaghetti squash for an extra veggie serving, but you can prepare traditional pasta, if you choose. This recipe is fun to serve for family gatherings or at a casual dinner party with friends – just don’t forget the wine.
1 pound ground dark meat turkey
1/2 pound turkey sausage, casings removed
1 cup shitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons dried Italian spice
1/3 fresh parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups of your favorite Marinara Sauce
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeded
fresh basil, optional
1. In a large pan over medium heat, drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Then, add the Marinara sauce. Cook on medium heat, until simmering. Turn the heat to low. In a large bowl, add the ground turkey and sausage.
2. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice into thirds. Place the mushrooms in a food processor and pulse 10 times.
3. Next, add the mushrooms, egg, cheese and spices to the meat mixture and fold together gently.
4. Form the meat into balls – a little smaller, than golf balls and place them in the sauce to poach.
5. Cover the pan with a lid and cook 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid and flip each meatball over in the sauce. Cover the pan and continue to cook for 10 more minutes, or until the meatballs are firm to the touch.
6. Place the spaghetti squash in microwave safe bowl and add 1 cup of water to the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 20 minutes. Drain any water from the bowl, and scrape the squash out of the skin with a fork. When ready to serve, ladle meatballs over squash and sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired. Enjoy!