I asked myself the following question the other day: why are turkey meatballs called turkey MEATballs? Why aren’t they called turkeyballs or poultryballs? Perhaps proteinballs? Meatballs made form beef aren’t called beef meatballs. I suppose the sound of the word turkeyball doesn’t paint the portrait of a delicious meal. Yes, I ask myself strange questions sometimes!
But seriously now, these turkey meatballs are the best. Moist, tender and flavorful, they are easy to make and delicious to eat. I also have a secret I need to get off my chest. Part of this moistness and flavor comes not from turkey, but from a special ingredient that my husband despises: mushrooms. I personally love the taste and nutritional benefits of mushrooms, but if I want my husband to eat them, I have to hide them and then later brag that I tricked him.
Mushrooms are nutrition powerhouses. Not only do they contain B vitamins, antioxidants, and potassium, but they are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D. They also contain a substance called beta-glucans, which may stimulate the immune system. As for the tastiness factor, mushrooms bring a meatiness quality, also known as umami.
Don’t think that meatballs need to be served over pasta! When I do make them with pasta, I use Explore Cuisine’s bean based pasta, sauteed zucchini, green beans and kale. They are fabulous when served in a salad too. The last salad I made with these meatballs had spinach, red cabbage, and fresh blueberries. Yes, blueberries and the combination was fantastic. Add the meatballs to veggies sauteed in lemon-pepper-garlic seasoning, or feature as part of a make-your-own lavash wrap picnic spread. Lavash is a flatbread eaten in Armenian and Iranian cultures and comes in large, tearable sheets. I love to tear off a piece, add a turkey meatball, a few baby spinach leaves and good slathering of plain greek yogurt mixed with shallots.
Meatballs are so EASY to make! I always freeze part of the batch of uncooked meatballs so I can have an easy meal another day of the week. If you want to bake them in the oven instead of simmering in beer, check out the notes section below.
They also don't have to be served over pasta! The meatballs are fabulous when served in a salad, with veggies sauteed in lemon-pepper-garlic seasoning, or as part of a make-your-own lavash wrap picnic spread. When I do make this with pasta, I love to use bean based pastas, sauteed zucchini, green beans and kale.
- ½ lb lean or extra lean ground turkey
- 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan-Romano cheese mix, or Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup grated Mexican blend cheese, or cheddar cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 slice whole wheat bread, crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 cup of tightly packed baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
- 1-1/4 cup finely chopped button mushrooms (about 3-4 mushrooms)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspons olive oil
- 1/2 cup lager or wheat beer
- In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the ground turkey, both cheeses, egg, crumbled bread, garlic powder, chopped spinach, mushrooms and salt. It may be easier to use your hands to mix. Form golf ball sized meatballs and place on a plate.
- Heat a 12" skillet on medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown on one side, about 3-5 minutes.
- Flip meatballs over and brown the other side for about 3 minutes.
- Add the beer to the pan and reduce to low heat. Partially cover the pan with a lid, leaving a small opening.
- Simmer meatballs until they are cooked all the way through and beer has reduced to almost nothing, or a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes.
Serve hot or cold.
***If freezing meatballs for later use, place meatballs on a parchment lined sheet pan or plate and put in freezer until frozen. When frozen put meatballs in a ziplock bag until ready to cook . ***These meatballs can also be baked in the oven at 350 degrees F if you don't want to cook them on the stovetop. Just lightly coat a sheet pan with 1/2 teaspoon of oil, place meatballs on pan and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.