Turkey Meatballs with Quick Tomato Cream Sauce

 There are some days when I crave meatballs, but I do not crave the fat content contained in most recipes.

Turkey Meatballs with Quick Tomato Cream Sauce 

Not that I am afraid of fat.  Quite the opposite, I adore fat, but some nights I want something a little lighter.  That, however, does not mean I want to sacrifice flavor.  That is why I LOVE these turkey meatballs.  You get hearty, meaty, and moist meatballs without the added fat.

Turkey Meatballs with Quick Tomato Cream Sauce 

The grated carrots are the secret to these meatballs.  They keep the lean turkey moist while cooking.  They also add nutrition and flavor which I also appreciate. 

The sauce I serve with these meatballs is a ten minute sauce.  The key is not over cooking this sauce.  The canned tomatoes, which are a definite time saving ingredient, are nice and bright with loads of flavor, but they get kind of dull if cooked too hard.  I do no more than simmer them once they are added, and then I only cook them for a few minutes.   I only use enough sauce to lightly coat the pasta and meatballs so you may have extra sauce left over.   It keeps for up to five days in the fridge, and is great on meatball subs the next day.

The meatballs are hearty, the sauce is flavorful yet fast, and this is a great weeknight dinner sure to please!

Turkey Meatballs with Quick Tomato Cream Sauce   Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 – 12 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

1 pound lean ground turkey
2/3 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
Fresh cracked pepper
1 pound papradelle

Quick Tomato Cream Sauce Quick Tomato Cream Sauce 

For the sauce heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about three minutes.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes then cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.

Quick Tomato Cream Sauce 

Add the diced tomatoes with the liquid and stir to combine.  Add the sugar, fresh herbs – except the basil, and salt then bring to a simmer. 

Quick Tomato Cream Sauce Quick Tomato Cream Sauce Quick Tomato Cream Sauce Quick Tomato Cream Sauce 

Put the mixture in the blender, along with the basil, and process until smooth, about two to three minutes on high.  Pour back into the pot and return to the heat and bring back to a simmer.  Turn off the heat and add the cream.  Stir to combine.

Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with parchment, then spray with vegetable oil.

Turkey Meatballs 

To prepare the meatballs combine the turkey, carrots, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, and egg.  Mix until combined. 

Turkey Meatballs 

Add the herbs, salt, pepper, and cheese.  Mix well.

Turkey Meatballs 

With a small disher, about two tablespoons, scoop out the meatballs into the prepared sheet pan.  You should get between 25 and 30 meatballs.  Top with a dash of the paprika.

Turkey Meatballs 

Bake under the broiler for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.

While the meatballs are in the oven prepare the pasta according to the package directions.

Turkey Meatballs with Quick Tomato Cream Sauce 

To serve put the pasta in a serving bowl and toss with half the sauce.  Add the meatballs to the serving dish and drizzle the remaining sauce on top.  Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese and torn basil.

Turkey Meatballs with Quick Tomato Cream Sauce 

© 2009, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • Ooh… your meatballs look wonderful! The dish sounds absolutely delicious!

  • Whatan inviting dinner. I am bookmarking this. I can not wait to try it. It looks scrumptious!

  • I love your dish and of course the food inside looks wonderful too:)

  • Devin

    Oh Man…tomato cream sauce is my absolute favorite pasta sauce!! Yum. I cannot wait to try this either. Pasta and meatballs is so great, the recipe I normally use is with ground beef and it’s just full of fat, so this will be perfect to try and lighten things up. Thanks!!

  • Great weeknight dish! Beautiful photos as always 🙂

  • I wish I had this recipe on Friday when I cooked up some turkey meatballs. Mine were OK but these look a little tastier.

  • I love the addition of carrots to keep them moist. I do that sometimes with turkey meatloaf – but I’ve never tried it with meatballs. I will next time!

  • Great idea to add the carrots to the meatballs – they sound healthy and delicious!

  • I love fat, too. But sometimes an alternative is also good. I love the tomato cream sauce you made. I’ve got to try that. Also the meat balls. Yum!!!

  • I love meatballs but I don’t make them often because of the fats too. Great tip on the grated carrots! Looks really delicious.

  • I’m just blown away by the grated carrots, I have to try using that ingredient the next time I make turkey meatballs.

  • Those look wonderful! I need to do something like this, thanks for the idea.

  • Wow!! Great recipe, looks delicious!

  • This looks *amazing*, Kelly. The color is so vibrant. I like the carrot in the meatballs idea!

  • those meatballs look perfect! I love using canned tomatoes like that to make a quick sauce too. So much better than prepared sauce.

  • This looks awesome! I love turkey meatballs and yours look so great! The sauce looks good too, I will have to try this 🙂

  • The sauce sounds so good. Tomatoes and cream go well together. Mmmm, this has to be a good meal.

  • This is such a healthy alternative-I LIKE it!!!
    You have some awesome recipes on your blog-will be checking out some more 🙂

  • bergamot

    The final creation is great… looks really delicious. I liked the idea of placing the meatballs in the oven rather than frying them.

  • I have not had much success with turkey meatballs in the past, they end up kind of dry. But like you said, yours are moist from the carrots. And what a great way to sneak more veggies into the meal without the kids knowing! This does look like a yummy, comforting dish – without going through the roof on calories! And with the fresh basil, it would definitely be bursting with fresh flavors. Looks yummy!

  • I always make meatballs with ground turkey or chicken. The grated carrot is a great idea. I have to try that. And, your sauce sounds delicious!

  • those look amazing! i love the color of the sauce! i think i’ll be trying that for some pasta nights! 🙂

  • Congrats on Top 9 at FoodBuzz today. I do turkey meatballs a lot and always figured they tasted just as good as beef because of the garlic, but I will have to try including carrot as well. I remember years ago when making the old-fashioned 3 hour tomato sauce adding a whole carrot (instead of sugar) to add the sweet balance.

  • emm

    I made this and it was GREAT! Thank you so much!

  • Those turkey meatballs look so tasty!

  • emm

    I have been making this dish for company ever since 2009 and everyone asks me for the recipe. It’s one of those dishes you can’t screw up. Love, love, love it!

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