Amaze(meat)balls.

I shamelessly consider myself a meatball connoisseur.  If meatballs are on the menu, you can bet your last breadstick I’m gonna order one.  Just one solitary meatball is all I need for my analysis.  Texture, taste, accouterments.  More often than not, I’m disappointed.  I’m not a fan of mushy ones and I need them to be thoroughly seasoned, preferably bobbing along in a vat of marina sauce (though I’m flexible on that stipulation).  Every once in a while, about 1 in 5 tries, I will sink my teeth into an amazing meatball and for that brief moment this crazy messed up world is right again.

Healthy Meatballs (1 of 6)

I have been trying to create a delicious healthified meatball recipe for YEARS, and have been wholeheartedly devoted to the cause.  I’ve tried dozens of impromptu turkey meatball concoctions, but they always left something to be desired.  Too dry, too poultry-ee, not meatbally enough, etc.  I kept crawling back to my favorite, albeit it no-so-healthy, meatball recipe:  Meatball Nirvana on Allrecipes.com.  I LOVE this recipe because it results in meatballs that are juicy, flavorful, and that have the coveted sink-your-teeth-in meaty texture.

This weekend I gave myself the task of healthifying my beloved meatball recipe.  If at first you don’t succeed, keep making meatballs.Healthy Meatballs (5 of 6)

I would like to pause for a moment and give myself a heartfelt pat on the back.  Actually, I’m going to close my eyes and imagine you all coming round and giving me a nice pat as well.  Despite making some major swaps to my favorite recipe, these meatballs turned out fabulous.  I lowered the calories and fat by swapping half of the beef for 99% lean ground turkey and omitting the cheese.  Yep, I did it.  I added extra onions because well, frankly, everything is better with extra onions… oh and they help keep the meatballs moist too. Then, I created my own healthified bread crumbs by pulsing quick oats in the food processor and seasoning them up Italian style.

These healthified meatballs come in at only 52 calories a pop.  They are amazeballs, if you will.Healthy Meatballs (4 of 6)

Healthified Meatballs (makes 16 meatballs, serves 4)

  • 1/2 lb 99% ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb 93% ground sirloin
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 splashes Frank’s RedHot (or hot sauce of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend*
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/3 cup skim milk

*Note:  If you do not have Italian Seasoning, you can substitute a mixture of your favorite herbs such as marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil.

Step One:  Place the following in a large bowl:  turkey, sirloin, onion, hot sauce, and soy sauce.

Step Two:  Pulse quick oats in a blender or food processor until the consistency resembles that of bread crumbs.  Mix oats and all of the herbs and seasonings in a small bowl.  Pour oat mixture onto meat, then add the milk.  Using hands, mix the ingredients until combined.  Use a cookie scooper (or a simply a spoon) to portion out 16 meatballs.  Roll softly in hands  before placing on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.

Step Three:  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

To freeze:  Wait for meatballs to cool completely, then freeze in freezer-safe ziploc bags.  To reheat, simply toss frozen meatballs in your favorite pasta sauce and simmer until defrosted.

Stats on 1 serving (4 meatballs):  207 calories, 12g carbs, 6g fat, 27g protein, 1g fiber

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