Tag Archives: weeknight dinners

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

This was a recipe I made up as I went along; and in this case, spontaneity proved worthwhile. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef to create a leaner version of this classic, but didn’t sacrifice any of the moistness or flavor. I also made the tomato sauce chunky with myriad vegetables – a sneaky way to make kids unknowingly eat their vegetables. Japanese Panko bread crumbs are used in lieu of traditional bread crumbs to make the meatballs less dense. Topped over spaghetti, this meal is well-balanced (with lean protein, vegetables, and carbs!) and takes just over thirty minutes to whip up.


  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for garnish
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus another 2 tsp.
  • 2 Tbs. dried oregano (x2)
  • 1 Tbs. dried basil (x2)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (x2)
  • 2 tsp. anise seed (x2)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 Tbs. garlic powder (x2)
  • 1 Tbs. onion powder (x2)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (x2)
  • 2 carrot sticks, diced
  • 1 cup button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Jar of marinara
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
    Makes 6-8 servings.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix first 13 ingredients (up to salt and pepper) in a large bowl with your hands. Use only 2 tsp of olive oil – this will help to keep the meatballs moist. Be sure not to over-mix, as this will render the meatballs tough.


Form into small meatballs, about 1.5-2 inches thick.


Drizzle olive oil into a large skillet, and brown the meatballs for several minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Transfer the meatballs to a sheet pan and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, drizzle more olive oil into large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Saute carrots, mushrooms, and onions for 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, and saute for 1-2 more minutes.


Add jar of marinara, in addition to all of the herbs and spices used in the meatballs. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, boil spaghetti in a large pot. Salt water liberally, and add olive oil so the noodles don’t stick together. Drain.


Remove meatballs from oven, and nestle into the tomato sauce. Cover, and cook another 5-10 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.


Serve over spaghetti, with 2-3 meatballs a person. Top with parmesan cheese.