Turkey MeatballsTHE VERDICT:
For the last month or so, our menus have focused on clean eating. Our current favourite clean eating recipe is from one of our newest cookbook purchases, and we thought we would pass it on. We know that ground turkey has a reputation for being flavourless and dry, but these turkey meatballs are so tasty and flavourful we guarantee that you won’t miss the boring old ground beef version that you are used to. The pasta they are served with is reminiscent of another of our favourite dishes, so the combination is a real winner.

My cousin, Jenny, is also a fan of clean eating and she used the meatball recipe to whip up some pretty tasty burgers the other night when we were at her house for a BBQ. So really you get two great recipes in one.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Turkey Meatballs with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti, Spinach and Ricotta (source: The Best of Clean Eating)

1 tsp. olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. extra-lean ground turkey

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram

1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 egg

1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or pasta of your choice

4 cups baby spinach

3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, but not browned, 3-5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, place turkey, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, bread crumbs, tomato paste, egg, salt and pepper. Using your hands or a large spoon, gently mix together until combined.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop or a table spoon, portion out turkey mixture in golf-ball-sized increments. Use clean hands to roll mixture into 20 meatballs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving a half-cup of pasta water.
  • In a large serving bowl, add spaghetti, spinach, cheese, zest and juice, and a 1/4 cup reserved pasta water. Gently toss to combine, allowing heat of pasta to wilt spinach and cooking water to melt ricotta into a creamy sauce. Add more reserved pasta water, if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Add meatballs and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Hands-on Time: 20 minutes    Total Time: 40 minutes

Per serving (5 meatballs, 2 oz. pasta): 477 calories; 44 g protein; 8 g total fat (3 g saturated fat); 63 g carbs; 10 g fibre; 3.5 g sugar; 126 mg cholesterol; 787 mg sodium

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