you might think that, having recently made garlic chicken meatballs, this recipe for greek turkey meatballs would have been quick and easy to develop. indeed, i might have thought that. turns out we would have all been mistaken.
i think in the end i tested these greek turkey meatballs even more than their garlic chicken cousins. there was the flavor balance issue. there was the onion texture issue (again). there was the moisture issue. in short, there were a lot of issues.
but good news! i worked them out, sometimes at the last second using a bit of luck, and sometimes based on deliberate changes. and truthfully, both methods led to delicious results.
the first version of these meatballs was good, but i knew it could be better. i added some dried spices as well as some lemon zest, to perk up the flavor a bit. then i added some minced black olives which, i have to say, i really like but my husband never fully bought into, so perhaps keep that in mind if you don’t like olives (which he usually does…?).
and then there were the onions. picking up where i left off with the garlic chicken meatballs (aka sautéing them makes the meatballs too sweet), i tried them every other way i could think of, including just omitting them. in the end, i settled on minced to get the flavor in with minimal disruption to the texture or moisture level. phew!
and finally, if you’re wondering what to serve with these greek turkey meatballs, might i recommend grilled eggplant with tzatziki sauce, feta, and mint? there’s a nice crossover in terms of flavors and using up ingredients so that the fresh mint won’t turn all black and yucky before you get around to using the rest of it.
and since we’re rapidly approaching don’t-turn-on-the-oven season, i will add that these greek turkey meatballs are a great candidate for meal prep: you could make a double batch, bake them all, let them cool for a few minutes, use a spatula to unstick them from the baking sheets (but leave them on the sheets), then transfer the whole thing to the freezer to freeze the meatballs individually before transferring to an airtight container for longer term storage. i suspect your july self would be very happy with your may self. i know mine would be.
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
greek turkey meatballs are easy, delicious, and perfect for meal prep. lemon, mint, feta, olives, and spices deliver bold flavor in every bite and these meatballs are baked so they are healthy and easy. make a double batch and freeze for easy dinners later! (gluten free, low carb)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup (32 g. / 1 1/8 oz.) almond flour
- 16 oz. (454 g.) ground turkey (or chicken)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed in a garlic press, see notes
- ¼ cup (31 g. / 1 1/8 oz.) minced red onion
- 1 packed tablespoon (4 g.) minced fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ cup (55 g. / 2 oz.) very finely crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons (22 g. / ¾ oz.) minced pitted kalamata olives
- set an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F. line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat (optional, for easier clean up).
- in a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg with a fork. add the almond flour and use the fork to break up any lumps. add the turkey, tomato paste, crushed garlic, onion, mint, lemon zest, oregano, cumin, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper. use the fork to combine all of the ingredients into a cohesive (paste-like) mixture. stir in the feta and olives.
- use clean hands to form 24 golf ball sized meatballs. arrange meatballs on a large rimmed baking sheet with at least 1” of space between the meatballs.
- bake for 9 – 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the meatballs are golden brown and cooked all the way through on the inside (165° F). serve immediately. leftovers are excellent: i store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator then heat them up in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on how many i am reheating. they also freeze well for meal prep (see notes).
though i often ignore instructions to crush garlic since the garlic press is another (difficult) thing to clean and i already have a knife out, i really do recommend it here. crushing with a garlic press both releases more garlic flavor than mincing with a knife and helps the garlic blend in texture-wise. if you don’t have a press, try the knife pureeing technique described in the linked article.
these greek turkey meatballs are a great candidate for meal prep: make a double batch, bake them all, let them cool for a few minutes, use a spatula to unstick them from the baking sheets (but leave them on the sheets), then transfer the whole thing to the freezer to freeze the meatballs individually before transferring to an airtight container for longer term storage.