Turkey Spinach Meatballs

Local spinach season is just starting and after a winter of eating greens that come from afar, it is a must in my books to take advantage of produce at its best. Spinach is a leafy green that adds nutrition, flavor and color to an everyday meal. This recipe was inspired from my time at the Kripalu Center. Turkey meatballs were an option for the meat eaters and I found them so delicious I probably had more than my share in the process of attempting to figure out what was in them. This is my version and added chopped cooked spinach, to make them a complete meal all by themselves—a perfect snack food for those moments of craving something to eat.

This recipe will make about 50 meatballs. I like to make lots for second and third meals when the mess is out; they freeze well in portion sized freezer bags and stay good in the fridge up to a week. This recipe easily adjusts to the portions appropriate to family size. Feel free to divide the recipe in half or if industrious, double it. When I have portioned bags in the freezer, to make a fast, easy homemade meal, I use a couple jars of my summer canned marinara sauce add the frozen meatballs into the pan and heat while pasta is cooking.

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1½ tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1½ tsp zest of lemon rind
  • 1 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 2 lb ground turkey

–Steam the spinach until wilted, drain well removing as much excess moisture as possible, finely chop and cool to room temperature.

–Coarsely grind the rolled oats by whirling in a blender.

— Dice the onion as fine a possible

–Peel and press the garlic

–In a large bowl combine ground oats, Parmesan cheese, fennel seed powder, lemon zest, salt, pepper, pressed garlic and diced onion.

–Add chopped spinach and mix. Work in the ground turkey until thoroughly combined.

–Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. (I use parchment paper as such to prevent food from being in contact with aluminum pans and it makes clean up instant.) Using a soupspoon, scoop about one quarter cup of mix and shape into a ball, drop onto the parchment and continue until compete.

–Bake at 375˚F until the meatballs start to brown and cooked through—about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Add to a marinara sauce for spaghetti and meatballs, keep in the fridge for healthy snacks, they make a great filler for a pita bread sandwich and wonderful for lunches on the run.

For a different way of serving the same recipe, make burger patties and gently fry on medium heat in a little olive oil. Make traditional burgers on a bun or they are very delicious as the meat serving for a meal topped with cilantro mint salsa (recipe-July 30, 2015)