Baked Turkey & Pork Meatballs with a Simple Tomato Sauce

SpagMeatballs_FINAL

Quick to the Table

Springer Huseby

After a couple months of freakishly lovely weather, the rain has finally arrived in northern California. No complaints here. We needed it, for sure. And I am actually loving the opportunity to nest a bit. Cozy time inside, enjoying some good old-fashioned comfort food.

When it comes to comfort food, spaghetti & meatballs have always been a household favorite. There is something about it that warms you up, particularly on those chilly, soaked-to-the-bone kind of days.

Our recipes for the sauce and meatballs have definitely evolved over the years. We have lightened them up a bit, opting for turkey and brown rice in the meatballs and fresh tomatoes for the sauce. Nothing fancy. Just simple ingredients – the way that comfort food is supposed to be.

Seeing Red
When it comes to tomatoes, red is much more than a pretty color. What you are actually seeing in that dazzling red is lycopene, a powerful antioxidant proven to protect cells from harmful, often cancer-causing, free radical damage. Tomatoes lead the fruit & veggie pack when it comes to lycopene, offering a valuable source of this health-enhancing nutrient.

MEAT BALLS

Ingredients

1 egg
1 egg white
1 small onion, finely chopped
¾ pound ground turkey
¾ pound ground pork
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the top third of the oven.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the onion, turkey, pork, rice, cheese, salt and parsley. Add pepper to taste. Gently mix together.
  3. Roll the turkey/pork mixture into small balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.
  4. Give your meatballs a dunk in your sauce before serving or enjoy them all on their own.

Yields 30 meatballs – give or take 1 or 2.

SIMPLE TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 lbs ripe tomatoes, quartered
¾ tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoons salt

Steps:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions. Continue cooking until they start to soften and become translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt, stir well. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the heat (kitchen note: cooking time could be longer for juicier tomatoes and the longer you cook, the sweeter the sauce will be).
  3. Run the tomato mixture through your food processor or blender. You will most likely need to do this in batches to avoid over filling (kitchen note: if you are using a blender, remove the small cap in the lid and cover with a clean cloth or dish towel – allowing a bit of air in will keep the hot ingredients from exploding). Puree to your desired consistency or skip this step all together. I generally lean towards chunky but it is all about your personal preference.
  4. Return to your saucepan. Try a taste to see if you might need a bit more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes.
  5. Serve over a high-fiber pasta like spelt, whole wheat or brown rice.

Yields 4-5 cups of very freezable sauce.

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Thanks for reading! My name is Springer Huseby and I am a certified holistic health & nutrition coach, natural food cook, wife, mom, dog owner, San Francisco transplant and fledgling food blogger (not always in that order).[more...]

Comments...

  1. This is also the favorite of my family! What is better than having a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs and a cup of creamy coffee during a cold rainy day, or even during summer? This is just a very delicious dish that I cannot have enough of. Thank you for this recipe. This really sounds so good!

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