Baked Turkey Meatballs are a healthy take on an old classic and nothing says grandma’s cooking quite like a perfectly delicious meatball. Depending where your grandma is from, meatballs usually consist of a combination of minced pork or beef, breadcrumbs, egg, and seasoning then typically fried or braised -- not exactly clean eats. Our healthier baked turkey meatballs are gluten and dairy free making them easier to digest.
Turkey Meatballs Are Baked for Better Health
When you heat certain oils and fats, their structure can overheat, break down, and become denatured. Eating denatured fats can cause excess inflammation in the body. Our baked turkey meatballs are baked to reduce your intake of over-cooked denatured unhealthy fats that can wreak havoc on a healthy body.
The smoke point of certain oils can tell you what they are best for. For example, extra virgin olive oil is delicate and has a low smoke point which means to reap the nutritional benefits of this oil, you should avoid over-heating it. On the other hand, saturated fats like ghee and coconut oil possess high smoke points which make them ideal for sauteing and high temperatures.
The turkey found in these baked meatballs is vitamin-rich and contains minerals such as zinc and selenium which can help improve the quality of your skin. Turkey is also a lean source of essential amino acids AKA muscle-building protein that can help stabilize insulin levels after meals. Pasture-raised turkey is higher in essential Omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Sneaking Superfoods into Your Baked Turkey Meatballs
Our Baked Turkey Meatballs are a great example of how easy it is to sneak simple superfood ingredients into a meal. This dish gets a makeover with the addition of fiber-rich chia seeds. Chia seeds get their name from the Mayan word for “strength” and they are known as an ancient food of Aztecs runners who prized them for their fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and micronutrients.
Aromatic, toasted fennel seeds provide a boost of flavor while packing in a healthy dose of antioxidants. These superfood ingredients make the meal easier to digest and tastier, too.
This recipe is sure to become a family favorite, so you may want to double it and freeze some for later or serve at your next family gathering.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 pound ground turkey (you can also use chicken or lamb)
½ cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon ground chia seed
1 tablespoon toasted and ground fennel
1 pastured egg
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 quarts organic tomato sauce
optional: gluten free brown rice pasta
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grind the fennel seeds into crushed, rough powder.
Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Form mixture into even sized balls, then place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake the meatballs for 8-10 minutes until cooked through, then top with tomato sauce.
Or, cover the meatballs with the tomato sauce and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and the meatball flavor is able to infuse into the sauce.
If serving with pasta, cook according to directions on the package.
Serve meatballs alone or over pasta. Endless possibilities!
Recipe by Frank Giglio
Photography by Jenny Nelson