It’s no secret that extra lean ground turkey can be a little dry and tough once it’s cooked up. So the challenge with this recipe was to find a way to keep these meatballs lean without sacrificing moisture, tenderness, and taste.
And my friends, I’m happy to report, “Mission Accomplished”!
Here are my three ‘not-so-secret’ tips for moist and tender,extra-lean meatballs:
- Minced mushrooms. Mushrooms are packed with water and they release their moisture as they cook which helps keep the meatballs moist and tender.
- Ground flax seeds. Fat is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact having healthy fats in our diet is super important but some fats are better than others. Adding flax seed to the lean turkey is a great way to add in some healthy fats (omega-3’s) and cut back on the saturated fats that would come in a ground turkey with a higher fat content.
- Simmer, simmer, simmer. This gives the veggies (ie. onions and mushrooms) time to cook and release their moisture and flavor into the meatballs making once again, a tender and moist meatball!
Do you guys have any tips for keeping lean cuts of meat tender and delicious? If so, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
And be sure to come back Monday to see the the Open Faced Meatball Parmesan Sandwiches that I like to make with leftover meatballs!
*Oh and by the way… I had a friend over the night I made these and he said (and I quote), “Wow, I have to say, these are even better than Whole Foods Turkey Meatballs, and theirs are really good”.
Extra Lean Turkey Meatballs
Yield: 6 servings
1.25 lb of extra-lean ground turkey
6 cloves of minced garlic
½ an onion, minced
½ cup of minced mushrooms
1/3 of cup of oat flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 egg whites
1 tbsp. of worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup of grated Romano cheese
1 tsp. of nutmeg
8 oz. of frozen, chopped spinach - drained really well
Big pot of marinara sauce (I used 3-28oz. cans tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, simmer a big pot of tomato sauce (you can either make home made or use store bought sauce - either works just fine). You will need about 8-10 cups of sauce (2-3 28 oz. cans of tomatoes if you are making your sauce).
In a large bowl combine turkey, garlic, onion, mushrooms, oat bran, flax seeds, Worcestershire, cheese, nutmeg, egg whites, spinach, salt and pepper. Work it together until everything is well combined. Smell it… maybe you want to give it a hit of red pepper flakes or a shake of Oregano… do what you like… make it yours☺.
Take about two tbsp. of meat mixture and form into a ball about the size of a golf ball you should have 18 meatballs when you're done. Once you form all of your meatballs, one-by-one drop them into the simmering sauce.
Allow them to cook forty-five minutes to an hour…. enjoy!!
Nutrients for three meatballs w/ one cup of sauce: Calories: 295; Total Fat: 4.2g; Saturated Fat: 1.5g; Cholesterol: 58mg; Sodium: 139mg; Carbohydrate: 34.8g Dietary Fiber: 2.7g Sugars: 2.1g Protein: 30.6g