By Kaori Kay Cheslock, RHNC
Serving meatballs during the summer season is perfect for many reasons. Those topping the list include:
- they are quick to make (who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen on a hot summer day… not us!)
- they keep well in the refrigerator as leftovers (making them a great prep-ahead meal addition to enjoy throughout the week)
- and they make the perfect potluck dish for a sunny picnic
Even with the current temporary complications and rules regarding get-togethers, we can still be creative and enjoy meeting up in a spacious park and have some healthy homemade food outside, right?
By using extra lean ground turkey, you can make the meatballs healthier compared to traditional beef meatballs. And in summer, many of us enjoy the fresh fragrance that herbs bring – so we put them to use in this recipe.
Whether fresh or dried, using herbs is such an easy way to turn up the flavour and contribute to your health with little to no calories. In this recipe, we use dried herbs; however, you’re encouraged to use/add fresh herbs if you end up making creative dishes with these turkey meatballs. Make pasta, salad, soup, or a sub with them… you are the boss in your kitchen!
Here are a few highlights some of the ingredients featured in this recipe:
Onions are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and very low in calories. The outer layers of an onion pack the greatest antioxidant punch. Using onion in your meals enhances the flavour and many people enjoy the tangy kick, and provide nutrients without adding many calories, fat, and sodium.
They are known to be high in vitamin C & potassium, and are great for regulating immune health, collagen production, tissue repair, and iron absorption. Onions help combat inflammation and help decrease triglycerides & cholesterol levels, which leads to a lower risk of heart disease.
Eggs have been controversial for many years – mostly due to the cholesterol level. It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol, however, eggs also contain various trace nutrients (essential minerals that the human body must get from food, but, we only need a very small amount) that are important for health.
Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol in the blood except for people with genetic disorders.
Many people aren’t aware of this fact but small and dense LDL particles have more risk of heart disease compared to large LDL particles. While eggs tend to raise LDL cholesterol in some people, studies show that the particles change from small and dense LDL to large LDL when consuming eggs.
Eggs are a great source of protein with low calories. On top of that, they contain all the essential amino acids. What kind of eggs plays a role in the nutrient profile of this food, we recommend purchasing free-range eggs whenever possible..
Capsaicin (a component of cayenne pepper) is known to suppress appetite and consuming spicy food can have an effect on metabolism. This can help decrease caloric intake to support weight loss.
The metabolic rate plays an important role in the speed of your body converting the intake into energy. When your metabolism rate is higher, your body converts nutrients into energy faster thus avoiding the storage of fat in your body. When you eat spicy pepper such as cayenne, it causes your body’s temperature to rise. When your body’s temperature rises, your body goes into a cooldown mode. This causes your body to burn calories.
Highlights of making this recipe:
- This is one of the easiest “lazy cooking” dishes. Mix everything together, form balls, and bake the meatballs – no mess in the kitchen. Let’s celebrate spending minimal time in the kitchen in the dog days of summer.
- These meatballs are very versatile. Put them to use for many recipes – such as pasta dishes, on salad, in a soup or sub… or simply serve these meatballs as a side dish on their own!
- You can make this recipe ahead of time and refrigerate the meatballs for up to 5 days. Freeze them for a longer storage – closer to 3 months.
- You can use any herbs of your choice. The flavour profile is really up to you.
- Perfect for a to-go meal! You can add them to your lunch box as a side dish or make a variety of simple dishes (like a salad or sub sandwhich) for a quick lunch to go.
- Filling even in small quantities, you can choose how many meatballs you want depending on your macro (macronutrient ratio for your diet) goal.
Let us introduce you to the healthy & versatile recipe turkey meatballs today. It’s perfect for any occasion to bring/serve, or simply make ahead of time for the upcoming week! Save time, so you can enjoy the beautiful sun this summer.
Macros per 4 Meatballs
Protein: 25 g
Fat: 14 g
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Sugar: 2 g
Fibre: 2 g
Italian Herb Turkey Meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 370 Degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with foil
- In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients** and mix everything by hand
- Make 18 bite-size balls with hands or by using an ice cream scoop
- Add meatballs to baking sheet
- Once the oven is ready, bake the balls for 40-45 minutes or until they are cooked through
- Remove them from the oven and transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature (~10 minutes)
- Once cooked meatballs have cooled, store them in a fridge and use them with spaghetti, salad, sub, soup…..the options are endless!**