Make these flavorful turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs, a twist on a classic favorite. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or meal prep.
These delicious, easy turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs are part of my “healthy repertoire”. Although the 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 not only because it is leaner and healthier than beef or pork but also because I have the chance to buy turkey directly from a farmer in our village.
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, and turkey fricassee with the cooked meat, the legs for roasts, the heart and the gizzard to make goulash and the liver, which I always fry immediately with some onions on the side.
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- Turkey: 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 keep 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 is 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, which 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 noticed 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.
Parmesan: Freshly grated Parmesan increases the flavor and the heartiness of these turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs.
How to make meatballs without breadcrumbs?
- 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.
- Place the ground meatballs in a large bowl. Add the onions and the grated garlic, peeled and grated apples, chopped herbs, grated Parmesan, lightly beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon of ground almonds, chili, fine sea salt, and pepper. Combine the ingredients well, but don't overmix.
- Form the meatballs, about ¼ cup of 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.
- 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.
- 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?
You can serve the turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs as an appetizer or finger food, either warm or at room temperature. To serve them as fingerfood, make them smaller and keep them round; they will be easier to eat.
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 to serve with 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.
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Turkey Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs
- 1.5 lb ground turkey 750 g
- 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 of 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 teaspoon 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.
- Mix: Place the ground turkey in 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 of ground almonds. If necessary, use a little more ground almonds, but the coating should be light.
- Fry: 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.
- Bake: Transfer them to the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.