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Skillet with turkey meatballs and marinara sauce.

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Tender Turkey Meatballs With Easy Marinara Sauce


Tender Turkey Meatballs.

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly chopped thyme, If you don't have fresh thyme, you can use dried thyme or dry Italian herbs
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 TBSP worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Easy Marinara Sauce.

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 28 oz cans or cartons of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped oregano, If you don't have oregano, you can use thyme
  • 2 TBSP freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


  • Freshly chopped basil


Tender Turkey Meatballs.

  • Place all of the ingredients for the turkey meatballs into a large bowl. With clean hands, get in there and mix everything up until the mixture is cohesive. Wash your hands and set up a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • With clean and dry hands, scoop up about 2 TBSP worth of the meatball mixture, gently but firmly roll it into a ball, and place it on the parchment-lined baking tray. Do this until you're out of the meatball mixture.
  •  Place the tray in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help firm up the meatballs. This will prevent them from falling apart in the skillet. While the meatballs are idle in the fridge, you can start your marinara.
  • After 30 minutes have passed, heat 1-2 TBSP of olive oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over moderate heat. Carefully place the meatballs into the skillet one at a time. Cook the meatballs for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. When flipping them over, be sure to be gentle with them; silicone tongs work really well. If they meatballs seem to be sticking to the pan, let them cook for a little bit longer until they release. Don't force them, or else they will fall apart.
  • Once each side of the meatballs is golden, but not quite cooked through, add about half of the marinara sauce to the skillet—or enough to coat the meatballs. Bring the heat to low, and let the meatballs simmer in the marinara sauce for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165° F. 
  • Once the meatballs are cooked, you can serve them with marinara over pasta, with bread, or enjoy them on their own. Use any of the extra marinara for your pasta if needed. 

Easy Marinara Sauce.

  • Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium-sized pot. Add the garlic and onions, and sauté them for about 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant and tender. Careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir and let the mixture come to a simmer. Then, cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Add the grated cheese, stir, and remove the pot from the heat; set it side until you're ready to add it to the meatballs.