meatballs two ways.

by Janetha on August 30, 2011

in recipes

who doesn’t love a good batch of balls? i know i do.

get your minds out of the gutter, this is a food blog.

i have been on a meatball kick lately. they are just SO versatile! i like to think of the meat as a blank canvas to toss in whatever flavors my heart desires, mash them up with my hands, lovingly roll them into balls and call them dinner.

i want to share two meatball recipes that marshall & i have enjoyed lately. i made one with ground turkey and the other with ground beef, but the protein source used is totally interchangeable, so don’t be afraid to branch out. ground chicken or even ground pork would be awesome in these recipes.

note: you will need a food processor for these recipes.. but if you don’t have one, you can simply dice the ingredients up. granted, that would take a lot of patience, something i don’t have. i do, however, have a food processor.. phew.

sun dried tomato basil meatballs



  • 20 oz 99% lean ground turkey (or other protein of choice)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled & quartered
  • 3.5 oz (one package) sun dried tomatoes (DRY, not in oil)
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic (or 2 T jarred minced garlic)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp each of salt + pepper


preheat oven to 350 degrees.

combine onion, tomatoes, basil and garlic in a food processor. pulse until ingredients are chopped to bits.


in a bowl, combine ground turkey, onion mixture, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. mix well. i used my hands.


make four large, equal-sized balls. after doing this, make five small balls from each large ball. this is the easiest way to portion out the balls.. but you can just make a bunch of balls from the bowl. this recipe makes twenty balls.


heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or olive oil or what have you. place each ball into the skillet and let brown for about 90 seconds.


rotate balls every 60-90 seconds so they get brown on all sides.


once all sides have been browned, transfer the balls into an oven safe dish. pour a bit of broth into the dish so the balls don’t dry out.


cover with foil and place the balls in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

meanwhile, prepare your noodles and sauce. for the noodles, i cooked five ounces of whole wheat thin spaghetti, but any pasta will do. my nutrition info reflects a one ounce serving of pasta. i did a tomato sauce with these balls. i simply combined one 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with two cups of low sodium vegetable broth, some italian seasoning, salt and pepper. i let it simmer into a thick sauce while the meatballs cooked.


i steamed some asparagus while the sauce simmered, the noodles boiled and the meatballs baked. once everything was done cooking, i threw it together and dinner was served!


these meatballs were SO flavorful!


they were also really healthy! here are the stats per ball:


and the stats for a serving of meatballs, which is four balls:


and the stats for the meal which includes one ounce of pasta, 1/2 cup of sauce, four meatballs and 10 asparagus spears:


awesome, right?

these balls were SO DANG GOOD. we actually didn’t eat any of the leftovers in a pasta setting—instead, marshall created a dish called “huevos meatballs”—which is essentially just scrambled eggs with broken up meatballs—turns out that it’s one of the best breakfasts ever, and protein packed.

and now, for meatball recipe number two!

roasted garlic feta meatballs



  • 12 oz 93% lean ground beef (or other protein of choice)
  • 1/2 of a large white onion, quartered
  • 1 cup of fresh basil
  • 15 cloves of roasted garlic (or one large head)
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled low fat feta
  • 1 tsp each of salt + pepper


preheat oven to 350 degrees.

combine onion, basil and garlic in a food processor. pulse until ingredients are chopped to bits.


in a bowl, combine beef, onion mixture, feta, salt and pepper. mix well. i used my hands.


using the same method as above, make fifteen meatballs. this recipe yields only fifteen meatballs because i used less meat. place the meatballs in a skillet—yep, same method as above. scroll up if you’ve forgotten!


rotate every 60 seconds until all sides are browned.


transfer into an oven safe dish, pour a bit of vegetable broth in the dish so the balls don’t dry out, cover with foil and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes.

meanwhile, make your sauce and noodles. this time around, i made a packaged pesto sauce (2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup milk, 2 TB butter and the packet) and threw in some roasted cherry tomatoes.

 IMG_3036 IMG_3043IMG_3047  

i used some fresh whole wheat noodles from the farmers market and i made side salads this time around rather than a steamed vegetable.

once all the components were done, i tossed it together and dinner was served!

these meatballs were super garlicky! in a good way. the pesto sauce went well with the meatballs, but i think a tomato sauce would have been awesome, too.


here is the nutritional info per meatball:


one serving would be five balls clocking in at about 300 calories for all five (as opposed to the four ball serving of the other recipe above.)

i don’t have the stats for the whole meal, since i am not sure of the nutritional info for the noodles we used.


i am still internetless.. this was actually a pre-written post i had waiting for a rainy day. BUSTED! maybe i will have some current events for you soon. here’s hoping :) in the meantime, go eat a meatball.


1. what would you put in your meatball?

2. what is your favorite kind of pasta sauce?

xo. janetha g.

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natalie (the sweets life) September 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

ahhh i don’t know which sounds better! i made meatLOAF recently but need to try meatballs! bookmarking this post :)

Allison September 2, 2011 at 8:04 am

Both of these balls look delicious! I usually will saute some veggies and toss them in some seasonings and add them to the ground turkey, nothing fancy… This makes me think of what really is the difference between meatballs, meatloaf, and burgers?! They all use ground meat and are spruced up with some seasonings and any additions…

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