This spaghetti and turkey meatballs recipe is an easy way to get a big bowl of comfort food. The turkey meatballs are full of flavor and the sauce is made with a combination of fresh and store-bought ingredients.
Course Main Course
Keyword ground turkey, meatballs
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 1hour
Total Time 1hour20minutes
Turkey meatballs ingredients
1poundGround Turkeyuse lean ground turkey but not turkey breast – we used 93/7
3tablespoonsFinely Minced Onionabout ½ small onion
2tablespoonsParsleyfinely chopped – plus extra for garnish if desired
2Garlic Clovesfinely minced
¾ - 1cupOilor enough to cover the bottom of a large skillet by ½ inch (use a neutral/flavorless oil - we used canola oil)
Sauce and pasta ingredients
1Small Onionfinely diced
1(24 ounce) Jar Marinara Sauce(use your favorite brand)
1(14 ounce) can Diced Tomatoesregular or fire roasted
16ouncesSpaghetticooked to package directions for al dente
1-2tablespoonsSalt for the pasta waterwe use kosher salt
Chopped Parsley for garnishoptional
Parmesan Cheese for servingoptional
Crushed Red Pepper for servingoptional
Form the Meatballs
Add the ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, garlic, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper and the egg to a large bowl.
Use your hands (or a fork) to combine the ground turkey mixture. Do not overwork the meat, mix just enough to incorporate the ingredients.
Form the ground turkey mixture into balls that are roughly 1½ inch in diameter.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray. Place the meatballs on the pan leaving some space between them so they’re not touching. You should get about 20 meatballs.
Fry the meatballs
Heat the oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet or pan (that has a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, carefully add the meatballs to the skillet.
Cook 2 minutes to brown on one side.
Turn each cook 2 minutes to brown other side.
Take the skillet off the heat remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate or pan. Keep them warm by loosely covering the plate with a piece of aluminum foil and/or place them in the microwave or oven to keep away from drafts.
Don’t worry that they are not fully cooked. They will finish cooking in the sauce.
Let the oil cool some, then drain all of it from the skillet but do not wash. There should be no more than a coating of oil left in the skillet. If there are any bits from the meatballs left, leave them they will help flavor the sauce.
Make the sauce
Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the same skillet. Place over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions, cook approximately 3-4 minutes, until they start to soften and become translucent. Stir frequently.
Add the garlic and oregano and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add the pasta sauce, diced tomatoes and chicken broth to the pan and stir well.
Carefully add the turkey meatballs to the pan and stir to coat.
Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer.
Lower the heat medium-low and cover. Cook the turkey meatballs in the sauce for 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Keep the sauce at a simmer. If it starts boiling too vigorously, lower the heat a little bit, especially as the sauce starts to thicken.
In the meantime, cook the spaghetti
While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt (we use kosher salt) to the water before dropping in the pasta. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions for al dente, drain well.
Check that the meatballs are cooked through. The internal temperature of the largest meatball should be at least 165°F in the center. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure.
Taste the sauce and add salt, if needed. As a reference we did not add extra salt to ours.
Serve the turkey meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, if desired.