Turkey Meatballs


Turkey is lower in fat and calories than the beef or pork used in traditional meatball recipes.

Theresa Jackson RD, CSOWM, CDN

Clinical Nutrition Manager, Kenmore Mercy Hospital


Roasted Eggplant:

  • 1 eggplant (about 2 lb)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup canned chipotles in adobo sauce, optional
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • Roasted eggplant (see above)
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • Black pepper to taste


Roast the eggplant:

On a cutting board, slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. With the tip of a knife, score the flesh by making 2 or 3 long cuts. Rotate the eggplant to make another set of cuts to create a diamond pattern. Press on the edges of the halves to open the cuts and sprinkle 1/8 tsp of salt into the cuts. Set aside the eggplant, cut side up, for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Over the sink, gently squeeze the eggplant to extract the juice. Brush the cut side of each eggplant half with 1/2 teaspoon of the oil. Arrange each half, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour. Let cool for 20 minutes before handling. With a spoon, scoop out the eggplant flesh and discard the skin. Chop the flesh and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and the remaining 1/8 tsp salt and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the roasted eggplant and cook for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is dry. Remove the eggplant from the skillet and set aside.

Make the sauce:

In the same skillet, add the onion and sauté over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the garlic and black pepper and reduce heat to low. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend the tomatoes, chipotles, honey, tomato paste and water. Transfer to the skillet with the onion and garlic and stir. Add the rosemary, bay leaves and cook over medium heat partially covered, for 1 hour, stirring often. Discard the bay leaves.

Make the meatballs:

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, roasted eggplant, cheese, parsley, cilantro, egg white, cumin and black pepper to taste. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°. In two 12-cup muffin pans, place a teaspoon of tomato sauce in 20 of the muffin cups. With an ice cream scooper, scoop about 2 oz of the meat mixture and drop each into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to the skillet and toss gently with the sauce. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Heart Healthy Recipe
Diabetes Recipe
Gluten Free Recipe

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3 meatballs

Calories: 322

Sodium: 243mg

Fat: 9g

Carbohydrates: 16g

Saturated Fat: 2g

Fiber: 6g

Cholesterol: 57mg

Protein: 17g

* Nutritional information is based on ingredients listed and serving size; any additions or substitutions to ingredients may alter the recipe’s nutritional content

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Review Date: February 26, 2013

Reviewed By: Christina D. Wright, RD, LDN, Nutrition Editor, Baldwin Publishing, Inc.

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