Spaghetti and meatballs with ground turkey

One of my favorite Italian dishes is Spaghetti and Meatballs. I am always looking for ways to make my own version of this popular dish and I finally came up with a recipe. Thanks to the Pioneer woman I found a great base recipe which I updated to fit my needs. This Spoons and Stilettos recipe is by no means an authentic recipe because it has some twists that would make your Italian grandma turn in her grave. For example this recipe uses ground turkey instead of beef. Ground turkey has less cholesterol and fat than beef which is great for a healthy diet. I also added some beef broth and a hint of cumin to the sauce to give it depth in flavor. Last but not least I added chopped carrots and celery to the sauce for more flavor and nutrition. I promise you this recipe will taste just as good as the traditional version.

Meatball Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic
1/4 medium onion finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs from Trader joe’s)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil
Sauce Ingredients
1 38oz can whole tomatoes blended  (I used Cento because they come with whole basil leaves in them)
1 14oz can beef broth
1 medium size carrot chopped
1 large stalk celery chopped
1 whole onion chopped
3 cloves garlic , minced
1/4 cup red or white wine (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pinch of ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch of red pepper flakes


  1. To make the meatballs mix together ground turkey, onions, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt and freshly ground pepper in a large bowl. Be careful not to over mix as these results in tough meatballs.
  • Roll into medium size balls and place on a plate or baking sheet . Place the meatballs in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm and prevent meatballs from falling apart while cooking. 
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown meatballs on all sides . I cooked them in two batches so they skillet was not too crowded.
  • Once all meatballs are browned , set aside and start making the sauce.
  • In a dutch oven or the same pot you used for meatballs , heat up some olive oil. Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery.Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Pour in tomatoes, beef broth and wine if using .Add sugar, parsley , red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, pepper and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 20 -30 minutes.
  • Add meatballs to sauce and stir gently. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure you stir sauce occasionally while simmering .

  • Serve over spaghetti and don’t forget to sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan on the top . S and S tip: please do not use the pre-grated Parmesan cheese. The flavour and quality of freshly grated Parmesan is superior to the pre-grated variety. I promise that once you go fresh you wont go back .

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