Turkey meatballs with veggie spaghetti sauce

I have a confession. I don’t like zoodles. Well, not as a replacement for spaghetti. In my opinion, no vegetable can replace pasta. I like zoodles as an addition to a pasta dish, but not as a substitute. I try not to eat pasta frequently, but sometimes I crave it and I have to have it. Like last week when I had zucchini, eggplant and a ton of fresh basil from my garden, I was craving a big pot of pasta. My friend Lauren happen to text me earlier that day about some turkey meatballs I made for her last year, so it seemed meant to be to make turkey meatballs and spaghetti. IMG_9727

I used to buy spaghetti sauce in a jar, but once I realized how easy and how much cheaper it was to make homemade, I haven’t bought sauce in a jar since. Pat was the one to perfect the recipe and I learned how to make it from him. It’s so simple. Cook an onion and some garlic, add a can of tomato puree, a can of diced tomatoes, some oregano, basil, honey, salt and pepper and BOOM – you’ve got absolutely delicious pasta sauce that is way better than the jar. That’s what I use as a base for sauce, but I always a lot more vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, spinach, etc.IMG_9732

My method for cooking meatballs may be a little unconventional. Normally, meatballs are first browned in the pot that you’ll make the sauce in, but I find that the meatballs can fall apart at this stage and dry out. Instead, I cook all of the vegetables and then place the meatballs on top, place the lid on top and let the meatballs steam for a few minutes. They don’t dry out at all and stay completely intact. Cooking them first can add more flavor to the dish, so I do that sometimes.IMG_9733

Turkey meatballs with veggie spaghetti

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

For the meatballs:

0.75-1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2-3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

For the sauce:

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
1 can tomato puree
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1 tsbp honey
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Thick spaghetti and parmesan cheese for serving

Combine the ingredients for the meatballs and mix thoroughly. Form into golf ball sized balls and set aside.

Cook the onion in some olive oil in a large pot until brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the zucchini and eggplant and cook for about 4 more minutes. Add the meatballs on top of the vegetables, place the lid on the pot and steam the meatballs for about 3 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, spices and honey. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 15-20 more minutes. Finally stir in the basil. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Serve over the spaghetti and top with a generous portion of parmesan cheese.




2 thoughts on “Turkey meatballs with veggie spaghetti sauce

  1. our sauce is made by browning garlic in olive oil, enough to cover bottom of pan, remove garlic, add tomato sauce, peeled tomatoes, salt, pepper, simmer 1-2 hours. no honey.

    For salad, we use tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion all sliced, tossed with olive oil,hit it with oregano, salt and pepper with good italian bread( not found in SC).

    we made the tomato sandwiches with spicy pickles as a surprise for Henry ….now a staple in the Chioda house too…thanks


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