Everyone loves meatballs right? (Unless you’re a vegetarian, but even then there are options…) But my problem with them is, most of them are beef-based. There are a few turkey-based recipes out there, but many tend to be dry or have a funky texture. And so, I tend to stick to the good ol’ tried-trusted-and-true beef meatball recipe that I grew up eating.
However, a few years ago, beef started to really hurt my stomach… and so I have limited my consumption of it even more. This tends to mean that any meatballs I make are strictly for things like parties or special occasions… but that doesn’t satisfy my meatball craving whatsoever!
Then, things changed. I came across this recipe a few years back, and instantly fell in love. These are best described as moist, flavourful, and just plain old delicious. Don’t just take my word on it though. Try them for yourself!
Healthy Crockpot Turkey Meatballs in a Tomato-Spinach Sauce:
- Oil or spray oil
- 2 lbs. ground turkey
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 lb. chopped spinach (I use frozen, but fully defrosted)
- 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more if necessary, to taste
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. oregano
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ cup water
1) Heat oil or spray oil in a large frying pan. Form the turkey into balls (it will be hard to work with, so don’t worry if they aren’t perfect balls). Fry in hot frying pan on all sides until they are browned. The middles will still be raw, but they will cook in the sauce, so that’s fine. Don’t overcrowd the pan, rather work in batches (note: browning the meatballs might seem like an extra step, but it gives the meatballs the most incredible texture, so don’t be tempted to skip it!)
2) Remove the meatballs from the pan and place in the pot of your crockpot.
Add a bit more oil to the pan, and add the diced onions. Next, add the chopped spinach and sauté for a few minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over the meatballs in the crock pot
3) Pour the crushed tomatoes over into the crockpot. Add the spices and water. Stir the entire mixture gently, being careful not to break up the meatballs
4) Cook the meatballs in the crock pot on low for at least six hours. Serve hot over rice or spaghetti