This rustic, somewhat humble recipe, is comforting, so delicious & one you’re going to want to make over & over again. Spinach Turkey Balls use easy-to -find ingredients, they’re popular with both adults & kids & both the balls & the chunky tomato sauce they’re served with can be made & frozen for those nights when you’re just too damn busy (or exhausted) to cook. It happens. Right?Jump to Recipe
Although there’s three cups of chopped spinach in these delectable little morsels, kids will be clueless they’re eating spinach. Nestled in a chunky tomato sauce that’s so simple to make, the turkey balls are topped with mozzarella that’s melted to molten gooiness.
Although we used turkey, feel free to change it up & use ground pork, beef or chicken. Make sure you use the turkey with the higher fat percentage – we used 80/20. This ensures the meatballs hold together & also adds flavor. Serve this dish with a simple salad & some crusty artisan bread for supping-up the sauce.
Spinach Turkey Balls
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 20 oz ground turkey (80/20 is best for meatballs to help them hold together)
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon both salt & freshly ground pepper
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
CHUNKY TOMATO SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons teaspoons crushed red peppers (chili flakes)
- 2 14 oz (398ml) can whole peeled tomatoes, not drained
- generous pinch of sugar
- generous pinch salt & freshly ground pepper
- Heat the oil, onion & garlic in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add spinach & stir for 1 minute or until spinach is just wilted; remove from the heat; let cool for 5 minutes.
- Combine the spinach mixture, turkey, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, salt & pepper. Mix thoroughly until well combined – the easiest way is to use your hands & really squeeze all the ingredients together.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment. Drop 2 tablespoons each of the mixture onto the baking sheet; roll into balls. Lightly wet your hands or use surgical gloves to prevent the mixture sticking to your hands. Just note, the mixture is quite a wet mixture. Spray the balls with cooking spray & bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning once during cooking, until meatballs are golden & thoroughly cooked – a thermometer when inserted into a meatball reaches 165°F.
To make the sauce:
- While the meatballs are cooking, wipe the frying pan out. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion & cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened. Add garlic & cook 1 to 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add tomato paste & wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is reduce by about half. Add red pepper, tomatoes with their juice, sugar, salt & pepper. Break the tomatoes into chunks using the side of a spoon. Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
- Place meatballs into sauce & top each with some mozzarella. Place under hot broiler, about 6 inches from heat source, for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.