Savory Turkey Meatballs w/ Roasted Garlic, Red Onions & Fresh Basil (Healthy & Diabetic-Friendly Recipe #14)

Okay so I’ll admit it: I’ve always thought meatballs were boring. When I was growing up I would eat canned Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs (’80s babies stand up!) & so I guess I always looked at meatballs as something to stay away from!

Well I was wrong because meatballs are the BUSINESS! The recipe below is based on the turkey meatball recipe that can be found in 5 Square Low Carb Meals (but I did throw in a few additional spices/herbs for additional flavor and changed a few proportions). The results were delish! Here’s what you’ll need: 

20oz. ground lean turkey
1.5 large eggs lightly beaten
2 tspns finely chopped parsley
1 tspn oregano
2 tbspns quick oats (check out my note on this below!)
6 tbspns low-sodium marinara sauce
1 tspn olive oil
2 tbspns finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tspn salt
1 tspn black pepper
1 tspn cayenne pepper
2 tbspns finely chopped basil
1 flat baking pan


1. Get a large bowl and mix together the turkey, egg, parsley, oregano, oats, marinara and basil. The mixture should feel like a light puddy when you’re done; firm enough to mold into a ball but not so loose that your meatballs will fall flat.

2.  Heat up a skillet on medium heat. Add your olive oil.

3. Once your oil is heated, saute your onions and garlic in the pan until brown.

4. Turn down the heat and allow the onions and garlic to cool. Once your onion and garlic has cooled, toss them into the large bowl with the other ingredients. Give everything a good mix with your hands!

5. Roll your meatballs. I made 13 balls with 20oz, but I’d say they were about the size of golf balls. You can certainly make them larger, but beware that the size will effect cook time. Here’s what mine looked like pre-cook:


1. Pre heat your oven to 375F degrees. Bring out your baking pan and put it near your stove.

2. Reheat your skillet (no need to wash off olive oil), this time on high heat. You want the pan searing hot!

3. Once your pan is searing hot, carefully! add some of your meatballs (use tongs). Be sure not to crowd the meatballs on the skillet. Do not move the meatballs around once they are down on the skillet!

4. Allow the meatballs to brown on one side for about 2-3minutes. Once brown, give them a turn to another side to brown for another 1-2minutes.

5. Once your meatballs are brown, set them down on you baking pan and place them in the oven for 15-20minutes or until brown.

6. You’re done! Top with a small amount of marinara and serve with brown rice or wheat pasta!


1. This is a perfect “leftovers” meal! If you’re often too busy to make dinner at night or are trying to save money on lunch, meatballs are a GREAT meal option. I took these bad boys to work for lunch over the course of a week and they still tasted pretty delicious over some rice!

2. Ground turkey vs. Ground beef. I’ve never really given ground turkey much thought, but I have to say that my meatballs were pretty juicy and flavorful. But in terms of health benefits be careful here; not all ground turkey is healthier than ground beef. Look for the ground turkey that’s made from turkey breast and other white meat, which tends to be lower in fat.

3. Sear ‘N Bake. I’m a fan of searing your meatballs before baking them. I found that searing the balls helped them hold their shape a lot better. Everyone makes their meatballs differently though; in the book, the recipe calls for just baking the meatballs, so to each his/her own.

4. Gah! Quick oats! Okay, so I’m an idiot and bought regular Quaker Oats for this recipe instead of quick oats. You definitely want to buy quick oats because the grains are a LOT smaller than your regular oatmeal. If you have oatmeal in your kitchen and don’t want to spend money on quick oats, you can chop the oats on a cutting board as well.

*** Have you made meatballs before? What are your tips and tricks? ***

Happy clean eating!

Check out another healthy & diabetic-friendly recipe!



About ChicFitChef

My "deserted island" checklist: a BCBG dress, a healthy & diabetic-friendly meal and a few workout DVDs. ;-)
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5 Responses to Savory Turkey Meatballs w/ Roasted Garlic, Red Onions & Fresh Basil (Healthy & Diabetic-Friendly Recipe #14)

  1. Lisa says:

    Also, if you actually roast the garlic in the oven for 45 minutes or so prior to using, you will love it. A little extra virgin olive oil on fresh garlic, wrapped in foil and baked. I usually do this once a week and keep it in the fridge, it will make you wonder why you ever ate garlic any other way. Adding this to the meatballs will blow your mind. Haha. 🙂

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