A Recipe for Garden Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti and Two Helpful Tools for Meal Planning

With all the recipes out there in cookbooks, magazines, newspapers, and on the internet, do you ever scratch your head and wonder, “What should I make for dinner tonight?” I found myself doing just that last night, so I turned to our trusty cookbook, No Whine with Dinner, and I came across this recipe for Garden Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti. I haven’t made it in a while, so it seemed like the perfect meal for a lazy Sunday night.


Instead of using the dried Italian herbs called for in the recipe, I used about 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil. Think of fresh herbs like you would a vegetable. They’re packed with antioxidants … not to mention great flavor.

Garden Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti

Makes 6 Servings (about 24 meatballs)

Since my husband, Tim, is a vegetarian who eats seafood, I made him a quick quesadilla with flaked canned salmon, corn kernels, spinach, cheese, and BBQ sauce. I should really blog about that recipe, but I didn’t have a chance to take a photo … nor did I really measure!

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 medium carrots (about 6 ounces), peeled and grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning or dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • One 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 12 ounces whole wheat blend spaghetti

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil or coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the ground turkey, carrots, egg, oats, Parmesan cheese, flaxseed, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix until just combined.

3. Shape the meat mixture into twenty-four 1½-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet and cook until lightly browned, 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the pasta sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and bring to a simmer. When the turkey meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the meatballs are fully cooked and have absorbed some of the sauce flavors, about 20 minutes.

5. While the sauce and meatballs are simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl or platter, and serve with the sauce and meatballs on top.

Nutrition Information per Serving (4 meatballs & 2 ounces pasta): 440 calories, 10g fat (2.5g saturated, 0.5g omega-3), 650mg sodium, 56g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 32g protein, 60% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 15% iron

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