Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs


4 to 6 servings
1 cup plain bread crumbsplain breadcrumbs1
¼ cup whole milk, at room temperaturewhole milk¼
2 large eggs, at room temperatureegg(s)2
1 small onion, finely chopped*onion1
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheeseparmesan cheese½
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leavesbasil leaves¼
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leavesfresh italian parsley¼
1 tablespoon tomato pastetomato paste1
2 cloves garlic, mincedgarlic2
¾ teaspoon kosher saltkosher salt¾
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepperfreshly ground black pepper½
1 pound ground dark turkey meatground turkey, preferably dark meat1
1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links, casings removedspicy italian turkey sausage1
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzlingextra-virgin olive oil1
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oilextra-virgin olive oil¼
1 large onion, finely chopped onion1
1 teaspoon kosher saltkosher salt1
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepperfreshly ground black pepper½
3 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeledgarlic clove3
2 teaspoons dried oreganodried oregano leaves2
2 teaspoons finely ground fennel seedsground fennel seed2
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes can crushed tomatoes2
¾ cup chopped fresh basil leavesbasil leaves¾
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth low-sodium chicken broth½


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, milk, eggs, onion, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir to blend. Add the ground turkey and sausage meat. Using fingers gently mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into 11/2-inch balls (about 22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy non-stick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until cooked through.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with 2-inch-high sides over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, fennel, and 1/2 cup basil. Bring to simmer. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are heated through, about 10 minutes. Thin the sauce with chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese alongside.

cook's notes

You can either finely chop the onion by hand or in a food processor. Coarsely chop the onion and add them to the processor bowl. Pulse until finely chopped.
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