Growing up in an Italian family, eating tons of delicious, not-so-healthy dishes was a family past-time. I don’t remember a time where we went to my grandparents house and some variation of pasta with meatballs wasn’t being served – lasagna, penne, baby pastinas, spaghetti… you name it – we definitely didn’t discriminate.
One of my favorite things to do at Grandma and Grandpa’s house was to help Grandpa roll the meatballs. I looked forward to it every trip.
Now, as I’m older and I’ve grown to prefer healthier, lighter alternatives to some of my favorite dishes, I’ve come up with a healthier version of a family favorite – meatballs. I’m sure even Grandpa would approve.
For this recipe, I made a pretty big batch for my big family, and for leftovers for lunches. You could easily half this recipe for a smaller quantity.
- 3 lbs Lean Ground Turkey
- 15 oz. Fresh Spinach
- 1 cup Oat Flour (more for sturdier meatballs)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup of finely diced Onions
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced Garlic
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1 tbsp. Dried Parsley
- Olive Oil
What I love about this recipe is that the swaps are simple but make a huge difference! We traded out the ground beef for ground turkey, the breadcrumbs for oat flour and added spinach for a nutrient boost! A bonus: this recipe is pretty quick to throw together and you can make your pasta while you wait for your meatballs to bake.
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil.
Over medium heat, cook the minced garlic and diced onions until onions begin to become transparent.
Add fresh spinach. (Depending on how you prefer, you can choose to remove the stems and chop your spinach into finer bits.)
Continue to cook the onions, garlic and spinach until the spinach is wilted. This should only take a few minutes.
Beat the large eggs until yolk is separated into the whites.
In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, oat flour, eggs, spices and mix.
When thoroughly combined, knead in spinach, onions and garlic mixture.
Scoop evenly portioned balls of the meat mixture and roll into balls (I used an ice cream/cookie dough scoop).
Space the meatballs evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake the meatballs for about 25 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs.
It took two batches to get rid of all the meatball mixture. I served mine with edamame spaghetti and traditional pasta sauce!
Let me know some of your favorite “healthier” pasta alternatives! I’m always up for a yummy Italian-inspired meal. : )