Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spinach-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

healthy turkey meatball recipe
Turkey Meatball Sandwiches
When I'm flipping through a cookbook looking for a new recipe to try out on the husband, I skim the ingredients. If I have all of them in the house, I stick a ripped piece of paper, junk mail, a card, a school picture of my brother, or whatever I can find in there to mark the page. So that's exactly what I did with this recipe a couple of weeks ago. I knew I had all of the ingredients in the house, but I completely forgot what they included except the turkey.

I got all of my ingredients out on the counter and realized, in addition to the spinach the husband wasn't excited about eating in his turkey meatballs, the recipe called for something else I wasn't sure the husband would go for: old-fashioned oats. Boy was I happy he wasn't home to watch me make dinner.

Luckily half a pound of 99% fat free turkey, a little spinach, some salt and pepper, chopped onion, a tablespoon of barbecue sauce and some oats mixed together quite quickly. I had 17 (because I can't count to an even 18) turkey meatballs in the oven before the husband got home. He never even had the chance to see what I put in those meatballs - or to make that face that tells me he'll eat dinner, but he'll be looking forward to a bowl of cereal not long after dinner.

The table was set and the meatballs were just about done when the husband walked in after work. He told me something smelled great. I wasn't sure, at that point, whether he meant the carrots or the meatballs, but I didn't question him.

And apparently I didn't need to worry much. The husband loved the meatballs! And he was surprised I had figured we'd eat all of them. I think he thought I planned on leftovers, but I only used 8 ounces of meat, I told him. 

"So you've got a lot of filler in there, or what?" He asked. Ah, I was caught. I admitted to putting the oats in the meatballs, and the confession went over much better than I had anticipated. The husband said we could definitely eat these again for dinner, spinach and oats and all.

Baked Carrots and Turkey Meatball Sandwiches
Spinach-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
Slightly adapted from Big Green Cookbook

1/2 pound 99% fat free ground turkey
1/3 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons egg whites
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste
cooking spray
2 whole wheat hot dog buns
barbecue sauce, for serving

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients. Form into 18 small meatballs. (I used my hands. The cookbook said to use a tablespoon.)

Bake the meatballs for 8 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 2 minutes so they can brown a little on the other side.

After 10 minutes our little guys were probably ready to eat, but I shut off the oven and let them sit in there for another couple of minutes while we ate our salads. To be sure your meatballs are done, you may want to make sure they've reached 165 degrees F. But, if your thermometer battery recently died like ours did, cross your fingers that they're done; if they're still pink, put 'em back into the oven till they're cooked completely.

Serve the meatballs on whole wheat hot dog buns and a little barbecue sauce.



  1. Man, I love his reactions. He's such a guy. :) I'd eat all those meatballs in one sitting. In fact, I was sitting here thinking how good they'd be with melted Mozzarella and marinara sauce over them.

  2. That's just what the husband thought, too! And I had actually thought about serving them with marinara, but I thought I should try barbecue sauce the first time, since that's what went into the meat mixture. Next time, though, I'm sure they'll be served with cheese!


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