Mediterranean Turkey Meatballs
When we have ground turkey in the house (which is almost always,) I usually whip up a burger or a taco meat mixture of some sort. I made these turkey meatballs out of the urge to try something new with a protein that’s become pretty mundane for us. These meatballs are fluffy, flavorful, and juicy! Throw them on a salad, on hummus, with a side of tzatziki or garlicky yogurt, on a skewer, or just eat them on their own like I did for breakfast today. They’re versatile, so get creative!
The original dish I made with these meatballs was comprised of my creamy, dreamy hummus and my lemony cabbage salad with za’atar. I layered the salad onto the hummus and then topped it with the meatballs. This combo is fantastic, and I highly recommend making it for a serve yourself style dinner with the family or even just for date night.
You notice how the outside of each meatball is golden brown and kind of charred? Well, that’s because I pan-sear them instead of bake them. I love to cook them in a skillet because it helps the outside develop an extra layer of flavor. I absolutely loveeee the char, but if you’re not about it, feel free to bake these in the oven on a sheet pan!
I did use breadcrumbs in these meatballs, and they made a huge difference in what I call, the “fluffiness factor.” I tested this recipe multiple times without breadcrumbs, and every time the meat came out a little gritty and tough. I finally caved and added the bread crumbs and I won’t be going back!! In comparison to other recipes, I’m not using a lot here. I’m only using 1/3 cup for a serving. I also want to note that I added a little pinch of milk to give them moisture, which in turn, helps the ground turkey retain its moisture as well!
If you’re gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs. You can even use ground oats here! I’ll be doing a video on this soon, but you can easily create bread crumbs with oats. Coat them in oil and toast until golden brown and then pulse in a food processor. I did this during my Chopped Challenge with Sebastian Youtube and actually came up with an epic meal, so you can watch that below if you want.
Finally, I *urge* you all to get a meat thermometer. I use mine all the time for either seafood or meat, and it just helps ensure that your proteins are cooked to the desired doneness, and you won’t have any health hazards!
|1- 1.25lb ground turkey|
|3tbsp red wine vinegar|
|1tbsp dried basil|
|2tbsp garlic powder|
|2tbsp onion powder|
|1tbsp dried parsley|
|2tsp dried oregano|
|1/2tsp kosher salt|
|1/3cup bread crumbs|
|1tbsp milk or half and half|
|Oil for pan|
|Skillet with a lid|
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients, except for the bread crumbs, milk and oil. Use washed hands to mix all of the herbs and seasonings into the meat until fully combined. Wash your hands and set the bowl aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs and the milk until the milk is absorbed by the bread crumbs. Then, add the bread crumb mixture to the meat mixture and use your hands to fully combine again.
Roll the meat into 1-2 inch balls until you run out of meat. This should yield around 20 balls.
Heat a skillet on medium high heat and season generously with oil.
Once the oil is shimmering, add as many balls to the pan as you can without over crowding it. None of them should be touching. After 2-3 minutes, flip them. The side that was touching the pan should be golden brown or charred. Repeat with the other side and let it sear for 1-2 minutes. Then, put the lid on the pan and let it cook for 5-7 minutes, until the inside of the meatball is no longer pink and the internal temp is at least 165 degrees. If using an internal thermometer, test the meatball in the center of the pan because that one doesn't get as much heat as the ones on the edges.
Repeat this cooking process until all of the meatballs are cooked. Serve immediately! Save leftovers up to 4 days in an air-tight container in the fridge.