Fast and Easy Turkey Meatballs in Red Sauce

turkey meatballs in red sauce over pasta with a glass of red wine

Sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table.  Am I right?  Springtime in my household presents numerous challenges when it comes to making a warm, satisfying dinner that can be served at different times throughout the evening.  One kid is off to baseball practice not to return until well after 7:30pm but the dancer would like to eat before class which starts at 6:00pm.  And what about the hangry parents?  (Who do you think will finally get to drink that glass of red wine likely after 8:30pm once everyone is home and showering before bed?)  I also like to make lighter versions of favorite meals since it means I may not be eating until well after regular dinner hours.  That’s where the turkey comes in.  But then there is the problem of dense, dry meatballs due to the lowfat nature of the turkey meat.  I solved that problem by adding ricotta cheese and eggs as well as crumble feta for some extra flavor.  Don’t be alarmed form the meatballs, they are super sticky.  Relax.  Just set up your rolling station right next to your pot of simmering sauce and drop the meatballs in as you roll them.   Boil up some pasta and pour yourself a glass of wine and in no time, you will be a dinner hero.

Turkey Meatballs in Red Sauce

(Makes about 15 meatballs with sauce)


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1  32 oz. can crushed tomatoes

3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup red wine


1 pound ground turkey

2 eggs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon aleppo pepper or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

8  oz. whole milk ricotta cheese

4  oz. crumbled feta cheese

Place a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid over medium heat.  Add olive oil and garlic.  Sautee for 3 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, crushed tomatoes, oregano, sugar, water and red wine.  Stir and bring mixture to a simmer.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for meatballs.  (Use your hands, its a lot easier than a spoon.)  Form 1″ round meatballs and place them gently into the simmering sauce.  Make one layer along the bottom then gently place more meatballs on top of the first layer.  Add additional layers of meatballs, if necessary.  Place lid on top of pot.  Do not stir.  Allow meatballs to simmer and steam in sauce for 20 minutes.  Remove lid and gently move meatballs around.  Place lid back on top of pot for another 5 minutes.  Remove one meatball to test that meat is cooked through.  Serve over pasta or rice.