herbed turkey meatballs

These aren't my grandmother's meatballs. If they were, their skin would be fried to a crisp golden brown in a sea of oil. Not that there's anything wrong with that, obviously, but since I wanted to lighten things up, just think of these as your favorite meatballs' healthier younger cousin.

Every Italian family has a secret meatball recipe using different combinations of ground meat, herbs, and cooking methods. Since these days I'm less interested in the tradition of it all but in trying to make my favorite comfort foods a bit healthier, here's to celebrating family favorites, guilt free.


A generous amount of fresh herbs tints these meatballs green, and baking, rather than frying the meatballs, limits the use of oil and keeps them especially tender. Serve on top of whole-wheat spaghetti and fresh tomato sauce.

Makes about 20 meatballs


1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey meat
1 large egg
1/2 cup parsley, lightly packed
5 large basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs, plain or Italian style


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, add the egg the beat to loosen the yolk, then place the turkey on top. In a food processor, add the parsley, basil, garlic, Parmesan, salt and breadcrumbs; pulse until finely ground. Pour into the bowl with the turkey.

With clean hands, gently mix everything together until fully incorporated. The turkey will take on a pale shade of green. Roll into uniform balls and place on a foil lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until cooked through.