Turkey Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Gnocchi (OSC 3)

Yes, yes, my friends, Operation Spring Cleaning continues. It has now reached its third episode. Oh, the thrill. The suspense. I’m not sure I can take it, really. Let me tell about today’s episode. You know you’re dying to hear about it. The good news is that there’s actually space in my freezer. Wow! That hasn’t happened in a loooong time. Yes, and there’s more: my fridge offers a visibility that extends beyond the rim of the shelves. Isn’t that crazy? Who would have thought it possible? The bad news is I’m out of dark chocolate. Yes, I know: that’s really bad news. And a dangerous turn of events! Will I stay strong and gobble on the dried-up pieces of candied ginger and dry apricot? Resort to dried prunes for desert? Will I cave? Only time will tell.

But for now, let’s just go back to the issue at hand:

What’s more important is that it tastes as good as it looks. So comforting, so melt-in-your-mouth, so heart-warming! We still have leftovers if you want to join us for dinner tonight.

I make the composition for these meatballs in a large batch when I buy ground turkey. I get about 2 kg. and put it together with the other ingredients, divide it in smaller batches and up in the freezer they go. And now you have the answer to why my freezer is always full!

Yesterday, I really did not feel like cooking. What I felt like was comfort food that somebody else would cook for me and miraculously present me with at dinner time. Giving in to the fact that dream would not materialize then, I pondered my other options: I still have frozen cabage and vineleaf rolls in the fridge from the holidays. And if cabage rolls are not comfort food, I don’t know what is. I was watching the food network, as I always do, and not one, but two of the dinner shows featured gnocchi. I knew I had some in my pantry and so the decision was made. Don’t you just love it how I regale you with all the information about how my mind works?

This is a very versatile recipe that can be adapted according to your taste and preference. For example, you can make bigger meat patties (fried or oven-baked) and serve them with mashed potatoes. Or you can use your favourite type of pasta, or make a meatball sandwich. Whichever you prefer, you won’t be sorry for trying this low-fat meatball recipe. You can also use the tomato sauce on its own, as a base for other recipes. And now, for the recipes:

Turkey Meatballs


  • 1 lb ground turkey meat
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 thick slices of bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, preferably flat-leaf, chopped
  • 2 eggs

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F/ 220 C.
  2. Soak bread in chicken broth.
  3. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat and add chopped onions.
  4. When onions have become translucent (about 6-7 minutes), add chopped garlic, and cook until onions become slightly caramelized, i.e., become slightly brown at the edges. Remove from stove and let chill.
  5. In a big bowl add turkey meat, soaked bread, cooked onions and garlic, salt, pepper, dill, parsley, and eggs and mix well together either with a spatula or your clean hands (the latter is easier if you’ve got a big quantity).
  6. Have the bowl with the turkey mixture and a bowl of warm water side by side and start forming the meatballs and placing them on a non-stick cookie sheet. If you don’t have a non-stick oven one, brush your pan with oil, or use parchment paper – it’ll make your cleaning job a lot easier.
  7. Form walnut-sized meatballs and place on sheet, then put in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, turning them upside down after about 10 minutes. The meatballs should be cooked through, but still moist.

For the tomato sauce:


  • 1 can tomato sauce (680 ml./24 oz)
  • 1.5 large onions chopped
  • 6 small cloves of garlic chopped (or 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1-1.5 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp. dried
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

What to do:

  1. In a large saucepan, preheat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add chopped garlic and cook together until onions become slightly caramelized, about another 5 minutes. Make sure you stir often to prevent the onions on the bottom of the pan from burning.
  4. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and herbs, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add sugar, first 1 Tbsp, and then adjust if more is needed.
  7. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the flavours blend together.

To assemble meatball sauce (this recipe serves 4):

  1. After you add sugar to the sauce, bring to a simmer and add meatballs.
  2. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the flavours blend together.
  3. Serve over gnocchi or your favourite pasta, cooked according to the package instructions.

2 responses to “Turkey Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Gnocchi (OSC 3)

  1. Lovely photos. My mouth watered when I saw the dish. I must try.

  2. Thanks, MegaGood! Let me know how it goes when you do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s