These Greek Turkey meatballs will quickly become a staple in your weekly meal rotation. They are perfect for a meal prep day or a Sunday afternoon when you have a little extra time to cook. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers so you have an easy weeknight meal ready to go when time is tight.
Turkey meatballs (or “balls” as my toddler lovingly refers to them) are a staple in our house. I make them year-round because I know everyone will be happy and they are the perfect cook once, eat twice (or more) meal. This version takes some of my favorite flavors of Greek cooking — feta, oregano, and mint — to add a nice little twist on the traditional. I add some spinach, because…greens. It’s not about hiding the vegetables from kids (or adults), but just finding ways to add more green matter to our diet. That said, I promise you won’t even notice it’s there.
Easy homemade tomato sauce
Now, let’s talk about the easiest tomato sauce ever. Do you make your own tomato sauce? If you don’t, it’s easier than you think. Although jarred tomato sauce is one of the things I recommend keeping in your pantry (grab my kitchen guide for a full list of staples) for a busy weeknight, it’s really unnecessary most of the time. This simple tomato sauce has just 5 ingredients: crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. I highly recommend buying San Marzano tomatoes as they are sweeter than some other canned tomatoes and full of flavor. They are worth the extra dollar or two per can.
Meal Prep Meatballs
I’m not a meal prep girl by any means. But if you are, this is the perfect weekend meal prep recipe. They store well in the fridge for 3-4 days and are just as good reheated (on the stove!) as when you first cook them. Because they do best with a 1-hour refrigeration (see FAQs below), they are a great recipe to make on a day when you have a little extra time. That said, they can also totally be done on a weeknight with a little forethought. I often prep these while my son eats or during nap time (they only take 15-20 minutes to mix and form into balls) and then cook them when we are ready to eat.
You can also prep them and freeze the raw meatballs to cook at a later date (see FAQs and recipe notes). You can do this if you want to double or triple a batch, but don’t want to cook them all now.
How to Serve Greek Turkey Meatballs
My favorite way to serve these is in a bowl with some warm crusty bread. But you can also serve over your favorite pasta or a bed of sautéed spinach.
We have also baked the meatballs, skipped the tomato sauce, and made them into gyros using the basic formula from my Greek salmon gyros.
FAQs about Greek Turkey Meatballs
Do I really need to refrigerate them?
It’s not required, but it’s definitely helpful. The refrigeration time helps them hold the shape when cooking. If you skip this step, I recommend either baking them (see below) or being really gentle when putting them in the pan and sear in smaller batches.
Can I bake the meatballs?
Yes, you absolutely can. Bake at 375F for about 15-minutes. Make the tomato sauce and then add them to the sauce for 10 minutes to soak up the flavors of the sauce. I prefer to do everything in one pan for fewer dishes, and the delicious flavors of the meatballs seep into the sauce a little more if you’ve browned them in the pan. But baking them is a little more hands-off and you can make the sauce while they’re in the oven, saving a little time.
If you bake them, you can also skip the refrigeration time if you’d like.
Can I use jarred tomato sauce?
Yes. But I promise making your own really isn’t that much extra work and saves you a few dollars and a lot of sodium and added sugar. If you buy a jarred tomato sauce, look for one that has no added sugar and less than 500mg of sodium per serving.
Can I freeze the meatballs?
YES! Freeze them one of three ways:
- Raw: Place on on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer and put in freezer for 1-2 hours, until frozen. Once frozen, put in a glass container in layers separated by wax or parchment paper. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Cooked with sauce: Place cooled leftovers in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Cooked without sauce: Store in an air-tight container in layers separated by wax or parchment paper and freeze for up to 3 months.
Are these gluten-free?
They can easily be made gluten-free by purchasing (or making) gluten-free bread crumbs.
Can I make them dairy-free?
Yes, skip the feta cheese. They are delicious and still very flavorful without the cheese.
Can I make them egg-free?
The egg acts as a binder to hold the meatballs together. Because ground turkey tends to be leaner than ground beef, this is generally necessary. You can try using a flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 Tbsp water). I have not tried this though, so if you do, please report back!
Did you make these Greek turkey meatballs?
Leave a comment letting me know what you thought about it and rate it in the recipe card below! Save it to your Pinterest board so you can find it later, and don’t forget to share a picture of your creation on instagram and tag me (@sarahgoldnutrition). I love seeing what you’re up to!
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 small onion, diced (1/2 cup)
- 5 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (plus more for serving)
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped (plus more for serving)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes such as San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Optional: white wine to deglaze pan (can also use water or chicken/vegetable broth)
- Place all meatball ingredients except the olive oil into a large mixing bowl. Gently mix (your hands work best for this) until all ingredients are combined. Don't over mix or meatballs can become dense.
- Form balls with about 2-3 Tbsp of meat each (you can make them however small or large you like, but smaller meatballs tend to hold together easier). Place on a plate, sheet pan, or a few large glass containers (one layer only). Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. You can also freeze them at this point if you want to save them for later (see notes about this step).
- When ready to cook the meatballs, add oil to a large dutch oven or deep pan over medium heat. Gently add each meatball to the oil and sear on each side until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Don't over crowd the pan or it will be hard to turn the meatballs. You may need to do this batches (just take out browned meatballs and put on a plate to make space). You may need to add a little more oil for a second batch.
- Ocne all meatballs have been browned, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine (or water or broth), scraping up any brown bits that are stuck to the pan. Add meatballs back to the pan if you removed them.
- Make the sauce: With meatballs in the pan, add garlic and let cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper to pan. Gently spread the sauce around the pan. The sauce should almost cover the meatballs. Cover and let simmer for 20 more minutes until meatballs are cooked and sauce has developed some flavor.
- Top with additional feta and mint for serving (optional). Serve with crusty bread or over pasta or sautéed spinach.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 382Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 676mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 26g