Aug 5, 2010

Greek Turkey Meatballs



Greek meatballs, otherwise known as Keftedes are traditionally made with lamb or beef and make a delicious appetizer with some tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce) for dipping. These meatballs have been lightened using turkey instead along with a secret ingredient... zucchini. Don't tell your kids!

This is zucchini season, and if you are running out of ideas of how to use up all your garden zucchini, you'll welcome this idea, a great way to add fiber to your meatballs. I pan fried these today, but they are also terrific on the grill. Because of the moistness the zucchini adds to these meatballs, they are a bit delicate and don't hold their round shape, so they will look more like mini patties (this also helps it cook in the center). Refrigerating the meat before cooking helps to hold them together if you want to grill them. Serve them with Skinny Tzatziki or also great in a pita with a slice of tomato and tzatziki on top. My 8 month old loved them!!


Greek Turkey Meatballs
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 4 meatballs Old Points: 5 pts Points+: 6 pts
Calories: 254.7 Fat: 11.2 g Protein: 26.8 g Carb: 13.4 g Fiber: 3.7 g    


Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated and liquid squeezed out
  • 2 sliced whole wheat bread (I used Weight Watchers)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/4 red onion, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped (less if using dry)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh spearmint, chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper
  • about 1 tsp worth of olive oil cooking spray (I use my Misto)

Directions:
    Wet bread with water, squeezing excess out. Tear into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Combine with turkey, egg, zucchini, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, mint, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.


    Using a 1/4 cup measure, form each meatball 1/4 cup in size. For best results, refrigerate before cooking to help hold their shape.  

    In a pan: spray olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan and cook over low heat.  

    On the grill: clean grill well before cooking and spray grate with oil. Cook on low until cooked through. Makes about 17 meatballs.

    83 comments :

    1. These look so good Gina! Perfect summer food!

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    2. These sound so light and tasty... thanks for sharing this recipe!!

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    3. I love making turkey meatballs, these look like so much fun and definitely a perfect match for the Tzatziki!

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    4. These look amazing! I can't wait to try them! Thank you :)

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    5. these look so fantastic...especially with that sauce!!!!!!!

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    6. These look so healthy and delicious! I love the tzatziki on top!

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    7. Definitely on the list for next week's meal planning! Thanks Gina :)

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    8. Love the idea of adding zucchini to the meatballs...brilliant! I can't wait to try them on the grill. I wonder if you could bake them?

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    9. these look DELICIOUS! I cannot wait to try this recipe.

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    10. We're having the Asian Turkey meatballs tonight, I can't wait to try these, they (and the sauce) sound delish! Thanks for the great recipes! :D

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    11. I fixed these for guests tonight and they raved about how delicious they are. And the Tzatsiki . . . . amazing!!

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    12. This is definitely a much cooler version of the classic ones made with beef mince! Definitely picnic food on the beach for tomorrow! Out of curiosity please do me a favour and estimate points if we use lean beef mince, cause finding turkey mince in Greece, on a Sat Afternoon, in August is nearly next to impossible!

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    13. Love this dish. I'll be making this one soon!

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    14. Oh I love it! Meatballs, anyday... and this looks better than I have ever seen.

      Oh yum!

      -Kausambi@Coloredgrains

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    15. Made these last night, they were great and the sauce was perfect. Hubby and I gobbled them up and didn't feel guilty!! Thank you for the great recipes! ~LeslieMichele

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    16. This recipe is great. Love these lightened up meatballs and tzatiki sauce. Your photos make me want to dive right in just like your 8 month old. Gonna stumble now.

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    17. wwfoodie- I haven't tried baking them with this heat we are having but I'm sure it would work.

      I too love meatballs and thought this would make a great addition to my Asian and Italian Meatballs. For those of you who tried them and commented, glad you enjoyed them!

      @marla- thanks for the stumble!!!

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    18. Wow, Gina! Once again I couldn't find ground turkey in Singapore, so was forced to use ground chicken. These are still so amazing! And that tzaziki! What a hit! I'm eating these for lunch while I type :)

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    19. That's great Sarah! Hows the food in Singapore? Im jealous!

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    20. Gina - these were delicious and I topped with the tzatzki sauce! My husband loved them so much and didn't realize they were made with turkey and zucchini. Definitely a repeat - thanks again!

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    21. I made this the other night and ate them atop a big Greek salad! Super yummy! I am going to try baking them next time. 15-20 minutes at 350 should do the trick!

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    22. I liked them a lot, but had flatten them a bit to cook, more like mini-sliders than meatballs, otherwise I couldn't get the middle to cook well throughout. If I try them again, I thought maybe baking them first would make it easier to cook entirely.

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    23. Made these last night and served them on whole wheat pita bread with reduced fat feta like a gyro. Really good!

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    24. I made these today and they turned out great. I actually used the 99% FF turkey because I bought it by mistake. I was worried it would be too dry, but with the zucchini and the onion it stayed moist, and even healthier. The Tzatziki sauce is just brings it to another level! I went to 2 stores and couldn't find the whole wheat bread crumbs though. Do you have any suggestions on where to buy these? Already looking for what I'm going to try next weekend!

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    25. Made these last night on the grill with your macaroni salad and tzatziki to rave reviews!!!! Super tasty, they stayed so moist even on the grill. Your recipes are a staple in my home, I make at least 2 a week :)

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    26. These were awesome! Made these tonight with the sauce. I will definitely make these again!

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    27. Made these tonight. I left out the mint and used Italian seasoning instead. They took longer to cook than I thought so next time I will make them flatter (maybe like slider thickness and these would make great sliders, too). I have enough leftovers for a pita sandwich tomorrow with roasted garlic hummus and bell pepper. YUM!

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    28. @Victoria, yes, make them like little sliders so they cook through.

      @mg- Glad they were moist with the 99% lean turkey! Good to know for the next time! I guess I'm lucky to have 4C Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs in my supermarket. You could always make your own!

      I'm so happy you all enjoyed them! I love hearing the different ways you all ate them!

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    29. I made this tonight and it was soooo good! I just found this blog and this is the first recipe I've made. I'll be making more for sure! One question though. Is there something you can substitute for the zuccini in the wintertime. I would love to make this all year round.

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    30. You should be able to find zucchini all year. If not, yellow squash would work.

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    31. *sigh* Didn't have luck with these. They smelled so good, but didn't cook very well. I think I had the pan too hot. The outsides had pretty much burned and the middles were still slightly pink. I think next time I will bake them like the asian meatballs. Oh well. I'll try them again later.

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    32. I like to cook ahead, do you think these would freeze well? I would be great to be able to make it once and eat it Tv dinner style, lol!

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    33. I haven't tried freezing them but I think they will!

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    34. @Sarah- They need to cook on very low heat to cook through, which is why I made them a little flat. Baking would probably work great!

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    35. Justin Winokur9/19/10, 2:38 PM

      I found that extra lean ground beef has very similar nutritional information to lean turkey so it may be worth just sticking with beef. I may try it

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    36. I made these the other night and even my vegie hating 6 year old loved them, I also hid a grated carrot in them! I love your website and you'll be pleased to know that I have passed it onto so many other Aussies and we all LOVE it!!! I'm getting really good at converting oz to grams!
      Thanks Jane

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    37. Thanks Jane! I often have to convert grams to oz so I know what you mean!

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    38. These were delicious! I made them 1/8 of a cup so they would cook faster because they just smelled so good especially with the tzatziki!

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    39. Great idea Tracy! Great appetizer recipe when they are small!

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    40. Gina - want serve these as a app at a cocktail party. For purposes of kitchen time/entertaining, could I start these in a frying pan before the party to get the outsides nice and then finish them in the oven? And if so, what temp/time would you start with? Thanks!

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    41. Sure, maybe cook them half way then finish in the oven at 350°.

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    42. I made this last night. I didn't have any spearmint, but they still came out great. Thanks for all the great recipes!:)
      ~Sum_Thyme~

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    43. Robin in KC1/26/11, 5:10 PM

      YUM! I made these up last night and cooked them off this afternoon for lunch. I had 1/2 serving (crumbled them up a little) on 2 deli flats w/ feta, tomato, red onion & skinny tzatziki * all for only 6 pts. Sooo good. Totally tastes like a gyro. You could even flatten these out into gyro meat size pieces to lay out on pita. I didn't have spearmint but who cares when it tastes this great. Thanks for another wonderful recipe.
      BTW - this is the 3rd recipe of yours that I have done in 3 days. Tonight hubby and I are trying the Chicken Francese. Can't wait & will review it tomorrow.

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    44. It was great I really liked them. I substituted some frozen spinach instead of zucchini, put them in mini hamburger pitas, taziki, and had a side of snow peas.

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    45. I made these last night and my husband and I both raved about them! He grilled them and they turned out fantastic! I served them with a greek salad and the Tzatzki. Next time I am going to make a bigger batch and freeze for more meals. Thanks for the recipe!

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    46. I just made these for lunch and they were so yummy! The only thing I did different was I left out the spearmint just because I didn't have any. I baked them in the oven and served them with the skinny cucumber ranch dressing in whole wheat pitas with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Oh my heavenly goodness!
      Thanks for all these wonderful recipes. So far I haven't made anything my family didn't like. :)

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    47. I made these tonight. They were really good. It is just my husband and myself, so I have alot of leftover. Did not cook all of it. Going to make the rest tomorrow in my own spaghetti sauce!

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    48. These were really good and I do plan on making them again!

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    49. We tried this recipe tonight along with the Skinny Tzatziki, and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!! Thank you!!!

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    50. I tried these tonight..combined this recipe with the Asian turkey meatball recipe by adding panko instead of bread and a little soy sauce and sesame oil. It is A-MAZ-ING! LOVE it!

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    51. I didn't squeeze the juice out of the zucchini when I made these tonight (because I mistakenly skipped the step, not because I know what I'm doing) and they came out super delicious and moist. Going to keep skipping that step in the future! :)

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    52. Oh my gosh Gina. I made these weeks ago, froze them, and completely forgot about them.

      The other day I was cooking up some pasta when I realized I had these gems sitting in my freezer!

      After pulling them out and heating them up I swear they were mouth watering-boyfriend drooling-better than orgasm- unbelievably delicious. I am making them again tomorrow.

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    53. I just want to say THANKS for all the fresh, creative recipes!! Able to eat well, stay satififed...and on track with my points! Made these for dinner yesterday. Loved the addition of mint! Four meatballs is a nice serving! Served them on a whole wheat pita with diced tomato, red onion, cucumber and of course, your amazing skinny tzatziki sauce. Clever way to sneak a veggie in on my husband, too!

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    54. These were delicious! My husband and I really enjoyed the flavor in these meatballs. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

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    55. Made these tonight. Hub gave it his highest award which is "don't lose this recipe." Yummy, yummy!

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    56. These were fantastic. Hubby even mentioned them again this morning. Of course he ate two portions! I stole the remaining portion for my lunch and can't wait to have them again.

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    57. I made these tonight and my daughter and I both "ooohed" and "ahhhed" in between bites!!! Thanks for the great recipe, Gina!!

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    58. I made these into Gyros with your skinny tzaski sauce. AWESOME! And filling, I wasn't hungry for hours after. My DH was skeptical at first ( I made the meatballs with ground chicken since it was on sale) but he said it was one of the best things I have ever made.

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    59. These were delicious!!! I actually omitted the bread, breadcrumbs and egg and they were still really good and had less points, so I stuffed them into a pita with the tzatziki and some tomato wedges, and a salad on the side... great weeknight meal!!!!

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    60. Hi, Gina.

      I just found your blog last week, and I am scooping up recipes as quickly as I can!!!

      I made these turkey meatballs and Tzatziki last night. My husband and I didn't really know how to grate things (the large grater like cheese, microplane, etc.), so we had quite a learning curve. They were a bunch more work than I thought but they were very satisfying. I couldn't even eat the full 4-meatball portion (and that NEVER happens)!

      We served them with roasted spaghetti squash, although I think next time we'll try them in a pita.

      Thanks for your great recipes!
      Annaleah

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    61. Another delicious recipe! Made these as an appetizer for Super Bowl along with your Tzatziki. Very good. Leftovers were served in a wheat pita with lettuce and tomato! Double whammy! Thank you!
      ~Amy :)

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    62. I made these tonight and they were delicious! Thanks for sharing.

      Manya

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    63. I found this recipe (with the Tzatziki sauce) time consuming, but worth it. Delicious and when put in a pita tasted just like a Gyro. The effort is worth the taste, especially since the Tzatziki is free points.

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    64. If you were going tofreeze them would you cook them first or just shape them and freeze them raw? Lol is this a silly question?

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    65. The second time I used this recipe, instead of making meatballs I left out the binders and made "greek tacos" using pita pockets. Everyone loved it, even the kids!

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    66. i've made these before, and they are SO good! (I omitted the onion; i hate onions) however, i'd like to know what the sugar content is before i make them for my diabetic bf.
      thanks!

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    67. So excited to make these!!! I plan on using GF rolled oats instead of the breadcrumbs for a gluten free version :)

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    68. These were great, I'm going o use the zucchini idea in all my burgers! The skinny tzaziki was good too, but even better the following day. I didn't have time to strain the yogurt, but since it was Greek, it was still super thick. These were a hit!

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    69. I made these for dinner with the skinny tzatziki, and they were delicious!! I always love your recipes, and have been using your recipes a few times a week! I didn't have all the fresh herbs, so I used the chives and dill from the tzatziki in place of the oregano, parsley, and mint. Any advice for having fresh herbs on hand? Do you grow the herbs in your home or do you always buy them for your recipes?

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    70. I am gluten free so will sub the breadcrumbs for GF breadcrumbs... but what about the bread? Can they be made without bread? GF bread has a very different taste and consistency than real bread.

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    71. Made these tonight along with the skinny tzatziki (aka ziki). Very good stuff.

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    72. I'm dying to try this but can't find spearmint... I'm sure I can make them without it but would rather try this recipe as described and then adjust it if I have to. Any idea where I can find spearmint? My "chain" supermarkets don't seem to carry spearmint. Any suggestions where I could find it? I live on Long Island NY... thanks!

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    73. I'm going to make this as a meatloaf tonight :)

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    74. I just made these for dinner and they were fantastic! I ended up having to use dried oregano and parsley- definitely use less of those if you are not using fresh herbs. They were still delicious! I served them with tzatziki and a greek salad and basmati rice. We are having them for dinner again tomorrow :) Thank you for the fantastic recipes!

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    75. I have made these and they are a huge hit in our house...would it work to bake these?

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    76. i havent made these but , i am Greek , i live in Greece and i have never NEVER NEVER saw keftedes made by either turkey or lamb or beef
      they are made with pork + shreaded potatoes.

      aristos

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      1. try em, u may like.

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    77. I made these before & they were fantastic! But now I need to make them gluten free (no bread or bread crumbs). My roommate uses almond meal in his meatballs, but they tasted so dried out I almost choked! (I don't think he knows what's he is doing.

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    78. Do you think I could sub carrots for the zucchini? I am trying to use up some ground turkey tonight!

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    79. These are sooo delicious -- they've become a family favorite. I typically will freeze half the meatballs for a future meal. Once defrosted and warmed up in a frying pan with some cooking spray, they might actually be even tastier! Love eating them with the Oikos Cucumber Dill Greek Yogurt dip.

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    80. Okay, if ANYONE could mess this up, I can!!! and I did!!! BUT it was still SO yummy!!!
      The breadcrumb were 6 inches from the mixing bowl! How could I forget to put them in??? I did not go back to the computer to check the ingredients list, and did not include the last 7 ingredients as well! DOH!!!! I added about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated assiago cheese as I had that in the fridge, and made them into very moist slider patties. Carefully transferred the patties to a metal rack over a pan to catch the drippings. Baked for about 20-30 minutes, turned the patties over, then baked for a while longer. Time unknown. They developed a golden colour, and when topped with a dollop of tzaziki sauce on the slider burger bun, ended up tasting fantastic. I think it was the assiago cheese that made the difference as they had a different taste than my usual turkey burgers.
      So I screwed the recipe up but STILL ended up with great burgers!!! YAY ME!!!

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