Healthy turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs, an easy to make, lean and low-carb recipe for turkey meatballs.
LOW-CARB TURKEY MEATBALLS WITHOUT BREADCRUMBS
I am not following any trendy low-carb or no-carb diet, that would be too restrictive for me, I like food and playing with food way too much, as to restrain myself so much.
However, I do try to eat a healthy diet. As good as I manage… Don’t let all the cake recipes fool you, I love baking and I bake a lot, but I rarely eat more than one piece of all those cakes, they are usually baked when guests are coming and we do have a lot of guests.
These delicious turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs are part of my “healthy repertoire”. Although, truth is I am not thinking much about “healthy” when making turkey meatballs with or without breadcrumbs… They are just tasty, easy to make and if they are healthier than usual, then that is even better.
We eat a lot of turkey and not only because is leaner and healthier than beef or pork, but also because I have the chance of buying turkey directly from a farmer in our village.
They come only in huuuuuge, so each autumn I get a turkey cut into several pieces, which I cut into even smaller pieces myself.
I get everything except for the feathers, head and feet and I use everything. All the bones, the neck and the wings to make turkey bone broth, stock and turkey fricassee with the cooked meat, the legs for roasts, the heart and the gizzard to make goulash, the liver which I always fry immediately with some onions on the side.
But until now, I was never able to grind my own turkey meat, I did not have a meat grinder, so I would always buy ground turkey. Luckily, one of my birthday presents this year was indeed a meat grinder. A happy day for a passionate cook like me. Better than shoes!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE HEALTHY TURKEY MEATBALLS
I used homemade ground turkey with lean meat from the breast. However, regular shop bought ground turkey is perfect as well.
Turkey meatballs tend to be less juicy than pork meatballs, for instance. And then, we want to make these turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs soaked in milk or water are what keeps the meatballs juicy and moist.
To avoid the turkey meatballs or any other meatballs from being dry I often add something like zucchini (see beef zucchini meatballs, they are delicious).
However, this time the secret ingredient for these low-carb turkey meatballs are apples, they make the meatballs juicy and tender and they render them a slightly sweet taste, which is absolutely wonderful.
I used fresh parsley and fresh oregano because my herb patch is thriving at the moment. Fresh or frozen parsley is always easy to find, but in case you cannot find fresh oregano, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
Or try other herbs, like thyme or summer savory. Fresh dill would also be great, but dill will change the taste of the turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs quite considerably, dill is a powerful plant. The turkey meatballs will still be delicious, yet different, more Eastern European-like, I suppose.
Ground almonds increase the protein content of these healthy turkey meatballs, also helps keep the meatballs moist and tender and the outside coating helps crisp the meatballs nicely.
I coated about half of the turkey meatballs in ground almonds and the rest in breadcrumbs, just to see if I notice any difference. I didn’t, nobody did.
After I put all the turkey meatballs in one serving bowl, I wasn’t able to tell which was which anymore.
Freshly grated Parmesan increases the flavor and the heartiness of these low-carb turkey meatballs.
HOW TO MAKE TURKEY MEATBALLS WITHOUT BREADCRUMBS
Step 1: Chop the onions very finely, actually grated onions would be even better in this case, so you will not bite on too large pieces of onion. Alternatively, chop the onions finely and saute them in a little olive oil until tender.
Step 2: Give the ground meatballs to a large bowl. Add the onions and the grated garlic, peeled and grated apples, chopped herbs, grated Parmesan, lightly beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon ground almonds, chili, fine sea salt and pepper. Combine the ingredients well, but don’t overmix.
Step 3: Form the meatballs, about ¼ cup turkey mixture for each meatball. Press to flatten them slightly, they should now be about 5 cm/ 2 inches large. Coat them in the remaining ground almonds.
Step 4: Heat half of the oil in a cast iron skillet or a non-stick pan and fry the meatballs, in two batches, for about 3-4 minutes, turning them a few times in between. Add the remaining oil and fry the second batch of low-carb turkey meatballs.
Step 5: Transfer the turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs to a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake them in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
HOW TO SERVE THE TURKEY MEATBALLS
You can serve the turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs as an appetizer or fingerfood, either warm or at room temperature. Actually, to serve them as fingerfood you should make the meatballs smaller and maybe keep them round, they will be easier to eat as fingerfood.
Otherwise, you can serve the low-carb turkey meatballs with mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower (also low-carb) and vegetables on the side.
Or serve them in a classic way with tomato sauce and spaghetti, that’s the way my children like any kind of meatballs best.
Here are some wonderful tomato sauces that you can make for these low-carb turkey meatballs:
Basic Homemade Tomato Sauce – warm the turkey meatballs in this tomato sauce.
Albondigas in Tomato Sauce – replace the Spanish meatballs with these turkey meatballs.
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce – replace the pork meatballs with the turkey meatballs.
And don’t forget the salad!
- 750 g/ 1.6 lbs ground turkey
- 2 onions, about 100 g/ 3.5 oz
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 apples, about 250 g/ 8.8 oz
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons ground almonds, divided (more if needed for coating)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder, more or less to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius/ 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Give the ground turkey to a large bowl.
Grate the onion and garlic cloves. Peel the apples and grate them as well. Add them to the meat together with the chopped herbs, grated Parmesan, lightly beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon ground almonds, chili, salt and pepper. Combine well, but don't overmix.
Form the meatballs, about ¼ cup turkey mixture for each meatball. Press to flatten them slightly, they should now be about 5 cm/ 2 inches large. Coat them in the remaining 3 tablespoons ground almonds. Use a little more ground almonds if necessary, but the coating should be light.
Heat half of the oil in a large cast iron skillet or non-stick pan. Fry the turkey meatballs on medium low heat in two batches, about 3-4 minutes, turning them a few times in between. Add the remaining oil and fry the second batch of low-carb turkey meatballs.
Transfer them to the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve as suggested above.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 5
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 578 Total Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 20g Cholesterol: 300mg Sodium: 1136mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 9g Protein: 61g