Meatballs, to most of us, sound like pure indulgence. When we think back to the meatballs of our youth, we recall big, juicy meatballs made from veal, pork, and beef, with a whopping dose of refined ingredients like white breadcrumbs and white flour. But if you prepare meatballs with lean ingredients and whole, unrefined ingredients, you can enjoy one of childhood’s greatest treats without the guilt.
Our healthy slow cooker meatballs are made with 100% ground, lean turkey. Ground turkey is an excellent substitute for ground beef in a variety of recipes. It contains all of the protein and flavor you crave, without the high fat content. And since we use whole wheat breadcrumbs and whole wheat flour, you’re getting complex, fiber-rich carbohydrates instead of simple carbs. Extra virgin olive oil, of course, is a healthy fat that actually lowers cholesterol, and this recipe takes advantage of its gorgeous flavor.
Yields: 6 servings | Serving size: 3 meatballs | Calories: 255 | Total Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fats: 5 g | Previous Points: 6 | Points Plus: 7 | Trans Fats: 0 g | Cholesterol: 105 mg | Sodium: 153 mg | Carbohydrates: 12 g | Dietary Fiber: 3 g | Sugars: 3 g | Protein: 21 g
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped, divided
- 1 slice whole grain bread, lightly toasted and ground
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (3.5-ounce) ball of mozzarella, roughly chopped
- Whole-wheat flour to coat the meatballs
- Extra-virgin olive oil for browning
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
In a medium bowl, mix turkey, ground bread crumbs, egg, half of the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Mix well until it becomes compact.
Make small balls then push a few pieces of the mozzarella at the center of each meatball. Roll the meatballs on a plate with flour then set aside. Over medium heat, in a saucepan with olive oil, brown the outside of the meatballs. When they are browned, set them aside in a bowl. Discard the oil. Note that the meatballs do not need to be cooked through all the way as they will cook in the sauce and slow cooker.
Over medium heat, still in the same saucepan, pour some new oil then sautè the remaining onion. Put back the meatballs then pour in the broth. Cook until the sauce thickens.
In the slow cooker, pour the meatballs with the sauce, canned tomatoes, oregano, sage, the remaining salt and a dash of pepper. Set the slow cooker to low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.