Skinny Italian Turkey Meatballs

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These lightened up Italian turkey meatballs have been lightened up using ground turkey instead of beef. They are the perfect family friendly meal for any night of the week!

It is best to make these meatballs small so they hold together. These little meatballs make a great appetizer with toothpicks inserted, or have them for lunch with good Italian bread, or dinner over pasta.

I’ve slightly changed this recipe after making this a few times, so if you have an old printout I suggest you re-print this out.

These lightened up Italian turkey meatballs have been lightened up using ground turkey instead of beef. They are the perfect family friendly meal for any night of the week!
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4.93 from 26 votes
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Skinny Italian Turkey Meatballs

1
6
1
SP
230 Cals 21 Protein 21 Carbs 5 Fats
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Appetizer, Dinner
CUISINE: Italian
These lightened up Italian turkey meatballs have been lightened up using ground turkey instead of beef. They are the perfect family friendly meal for any night of the week!

Ingredients

  • 20 oz 1.3 lb ground turkey breast 99% lean
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs, or gluten-free crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Reggiano Parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt + fresh pepper

For the marinara sauce:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes, I like Tuttorosso
  • 1/2 small onion, keep whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium size pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes, onion, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer on low 5-10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and cheese. Using wet hands, mix all the ingredients well until everything is combined. Form small meatballs, about the size of a ping ping ball (1/8th cup each).
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and serve over pasta or on whole wheat Italian bread for a meatball hero.

Nutrition

Serving: 4meatballs with sauce, Calories: 230kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 5g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 0.1g
Blue Smart Points: 1
Green Smart Points: 6
Purple Smart Points: 1
Points +: 5
Keywords: kid friendly meatballs, Turkey Meatballs, weight watchers turkey meatballs

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222 comments

  1. This recipe was easy and delicious! We ate the meatballs with zoodles for a nice low carb dinner. We’re definitely putting this recipe in our rotation. Thank you! 

  2. This was a huge hit in my house. My teenager ate three servings himself.

  3. This recipe is phenomenal! My whole family enjoys this and we make it at least once a week! 
    Thanks so much for putting this together! Definitely a keeper!

  4. I, too, want to know….Why do you leave the onion whole?  

    • Just a heads up…this recipe for the meatballs only is calculating at 4 ww blue points based on it being 6 servings. I didn’t even calculate the sauce.

  5. These make the best ww friendly meatball subs for a satisfying dinner! I’ve made these so many times. Gina, yiur recipes are a life saver!

  6. Why are these 6 points (green) and the crockpot meatballs using 93% ground turkey only 4 points for same amount? 

  7. The meatballs were great! I used Italian seasoned panko gluten free bread crumbs. Baked them for a few mins and then added them to 1.5 jars of my fave marinara sauce. Served over spaghetti squash. Thank you!

  8. These sound great!  I’m wanting to make them as just meatballs without sauce- but I’m sure cooking them in the sauce keeps them moist and adds flavor- any ideas on how to make these without sauce and not sacrifice the above??!  I love your recipes and meal plans!  Thank you for being a key component to my family eating healthier!

  9. hi gina – this is one of my old faves, but now that turkey tends to come in 1lb containers (not 1.3lbs) would this work the same with just 1lb, or would i need to modify the recipe? 

    • I still use the 1lb and keep all the other ingredients the same. Only thing I add is about a half of a grated zucchini to make up for the missing .3 lbs. Keeps them moist and adds more veggies! 

  10. why leave onion whole?

  11. I love this recipe. I have been looking for a good weight watcher recipe. This recipe is to make and low in point if your on the blue plan. 

  12. These are so delicious! However, when I put this into the recipe builder for the green program, it came out to three points for 4 meatballs and sauce. Am I doing something wrong here?

  13. Delicious and satisfying. I love this recipe. It makes a lot so there’s always leftovers. Also great to have some in the freezer. 

  14. Such an easy and healthy recipe! So delicious! 

  15. Can I make this the day before and store I. The refrigerator or will they fall apart? I’ve made he before and loved it thanks!

  16. Hi Gina, Thank you for sharing, I also couldn’t find 99% turkey, mine is also 97/3, I’m new to WW and freestyle dining, but I calculated the points and it came out (with the sauce ) to be 7 points a serving, the crushed tomatoes really drove up the points. Did I calculate wrong? I did notice in the comments that a lot of people have trouble finding 99% fat free. What do you think? I’m making tomorrow. Thank You Susan W

    • Hi Susan! Did you use the recipe builder? The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

  17. This was delicious I did add crushed red pepper. We all enjoyed. Thank you!

  18. What setting should they be cooked at once in the sauce?

  19. Why is there a difference in freestyle pointfrom this recipe to the crockpot turkey meatballs? There are the same ingredients in both meatballs so I’m trying to figure out what thedifference is if anyone can help. Thanks!

  20. This recipe is a favorite in my house and I have made it a ton of times. The only changes I make is I dice the onion (i love onion) and I add in some red pepper flakes. I need to double the recipe every time so we can eat it another night of the week. Thanks for a great and easy recipe!

  21. Gina- have you done something similar in an instant pot?

  22. I am wanting to make this tonight, but I am wondering how many meatballs make up the serving size, for the calories to equal 230?

    Thanks!

  23. hi gina – this is one of my faves, but wondering if you could do it in the instant pot, and if so, for how long? thanks!

  24. I’ve made this recipe countless times and it is a favourite in our household!! So so good and easy!

  25. Made this last night! Always a winner. ?

  26. I am making this delicious recipe today! I want to freeze half of the recipe. Has anyone done this or have suggestions on freezing this recipe? Thank you! 

  27. Well I made this recipe because the Turkey Loaf recipe was delicious, and while I used my own usual sauce, I only used one 28 oz can of Cento crushed tomato and added some minced mushroom & onion to the balls … I was skeptical of the 20min turkeyball simmer time, But low & behold, 20 minutes after adding the turkey balls, all was complete and delicious! (And above required temp for “meat”balls).  Great, Great, Great!!

  28. I noticed this recipe calls for 2 (two) 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes while the Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs and the Quick Marinara Sauce call for only 1 can. The other marinara ingredients are virtually the same. Which is correct?
    Thank you for sharing delicious healthy recipes. Every one I have tried has been great and my hubby loves them too. -mary

    • They’re really very similar. When using a Crock Pot you will want to use less liquid.

      • Gina, I made mine in the crockpot and used two 28oz cans of the Tuttorosso and 99% turkey delicious. I had the four turkey balls as did my husband only he asked for an additional four so good. 

  29. Can’t wait to make these this weekend! My sister made them last weekend and raved! To freeze them — do you just freeze them after cooking? And reheat in microwave when you’re ready?

  30. Hello!!!!!

    I was putting this recipe on my recipe builder to save it but it came out to 2 SP F instead of 1 SP F. It has exactly the same ingredient and cuantity as stated in your site. 

    Thank you

  31. Very easy to make and delicious! I’ve made these before and i was in a rush and just used a jar of marinara sauce…still came out delicious. I  didn’t pack the meatballs together very tight and they came out very juicy

  32. Love this recipe!! My only change is that I BAKE the meatballs before adding to the sauce!  375 for 20 minutes!!

  33. I love this recipe! It is so easy to make and very delicious! I have also found that it freezes very well so I can keep a batch ready in a jiffy. Highly recommend!

  34. I made these last night and they were a big hit. Do you know what the points would be in I used 97% lean ground turkey? I can’t find 99% lean.  Thanks

  35. I was really surprised at how good these meatballs tasted. I normally always add onion to any meatball recipe and thought I should with these also, but so glad I didn’t. The garlic and parsley flavors jump out and were delicious. For the life of me, I cannot imagine baking these for 30 minutes. I used a 350 degree oven and baked them for MAYBE 10 minutes…they were cooked through and still moist. Gina, I can’t thank you enough for your generosity in making this site free. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  36. Tried this in the instant pot tonight, worked awesome. Heated some oil to brown the meatballs then removed them. Heated the oil and sautéed the garlic then added all the ingredients, meatballs and cooked on high manual pressure for 13 minutes. So yummy. 

  37. Made this recipe tonight and it was AMAZING!!!!  Was a little apprehensive to add raw meatballs to the sauce but I did and have NO regrets!! This is a keeper!!!

  38. This is one of the first SkinnyTaste recipes I ever made and it’s a recipe that I still frequently make in my mealprep rotation. The recipe is easy, quick, and tastes amazing!

  39. Yum yum yum!! I typically make the Italian spinach meatballs but loved these especially because you cooked the meatballs right in the sauce. I ate it over spaghetti squash while my family ate it over pasta. We all loved it! 

  40. Hi Gina – Similar to your petite turkey meat loaves, could I use quick oats instead of the breadcrumbs (to make this gluten free)?
    Thanks! 🙂

  41. how can I cook the meatballs without the sauce? Can I bake them?

  42. There was no specifications of how we were supposed to cook the turkey balls in the sauce. Was it 20 min covered on medium temperature? I found the sauce to be very liquidy after 20 min cooked on medium. Do you have any suggestions for exactly how we should be cooking them?

  43. Try adding wishter sauce 3 tablespoons and olive oil to the meat, it will turn out to taste like ground beef./pork
    And not so dry.
    Broil in oven at 350 for 30 min until the internal temperatures hits 170 or what should be used for foul.
    Add white pepper for a touch of zesty taste its a tad spicy but not as bad a red pepper.
    Play around with how much to suite your taste I like mine on the spicy side.
    White pepper has a stinky smell but it helps a lot of bland dishes. and smells good when you cook it.

    If you’ve ever eaten Kraft spaghetti in a box with an sause additive that’s how it gets its zesty flavor.
    Red and white pepper. Whitepeppr is kind of hard to find, Its the same Pepper corn just with the shell removed to dry it tends to be hotter in flavor the black pepper and not as complex a taste.

    I make these like this all the time, you can’t tell if its beef pork or turkey it taste like Italian meatballs. with some zest. I don’t add salt, too much salt is not good for you. This makes it more Heart healthy.

  44. Great dish! Thank you.
    I’ve made it twice now. The first time I used tinned crushed tomatoes but found the sauce was too acidic – meatballs were delicious though. So I used bottled pasta sauce the second time and it came up quite nice – less acidic. I think it was to do with the crushed tomatoes I used…not the recipe. Lovely!!!

  45. I just calculated the points in my ww app for SP and it calculates to 5 Smart Points, not 3? Now I’m concerned that all your point values are off.

  46. First, I just want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. This is by far my favorite place to find recipes that fit into my WW lifestyle. I have never tried a single one that my family and I didn’t like. I don’t know what I would do without this fool proof solution to a bored palate.

    I do want to let you know about something I found…I noticed that there is a SmartPoints discrepancy between two recipes that would seem to be otherwise identical except for cooking method. This one and the “CROCK POT ITALIAN TURKEY MEATBALLS” have identical ingredients – except for a couple that are zero SP. So, this one is listed at 6 SP while the crock pot version is listed at 4 SP. And in my curiosity I entered the recipe into the the Recipe Builder on the WW website and I came up with 3 SP.

    Just thought you’d like to know so that you could make a correction to one or both.

  47. If I wanted to bake these first before adding them to the sauce to simmer and finish off, how long should I bake them for and at what temperature?

    I’d like to make the outside a little crisp/browned before adding them to the sauce. Thank you!

  48. Oh my goodness! I just made this for the first time.. amazing! Thank you so much Gina for this wonderful recipe!! 

  49. I’m confused. Do you cook the meatballs on low? You never say to turn the heat up.

  50. Seriously the best turkey meatballs! I’m not really a fan of ground turkey, but the seasoning made them so yummy! I made them for my boyfriend last night and he loved them as well! This will definitely be a staple dinner for now on. 

  51. I made these a few weeks ago and they were delicious and really easy to prepare. I was wondering if I could make them (uncooked) and then freeze them, kind of like your greek turkey burgers? I know the recipe is tagged for freezer friendly, but I just don’t want to mess them up by freezing them wrong.

  52. Absolutely the best turkey meatballs I have ever made – your website is a lifesaver for me as a single mom trying to stick to weight watchers, thank you!

  53. In the ingredients list for the sauce it says “1/2 small onion, keep whole”, does this mean that you do not chop the onion up, and then discard it after the sauce is done cooking?

  54. I have loved every recipe I have tried on this site, except for this one, meatballs are very dry and no flavor. However I do love the spinach meatballs!

  55. Pingback: 6 Recipes For Your Crockpot This Memorial Day!! | Kay's Lane: Health Simplified

  56. Gina, I think you have  a typo in the last paragraph of the instructions. You asked us to discard the onion…I think you meant to ask us to discard the bay leaf, correct?

    By the way, we’re having these for supper tonight! I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for your lovely recipes.

  57. Gina,
    I always make this recipe with ground turkey but I was wondering if I were to sub lean ground beef would I still need the egg? thanks in advance! love your site (: 

  58. My husband and I love this recipe and we make it on a weekly basis. Tje only change I make is baking the meatballs for about 30min and then adding them to the sauce. Turns out perfect every time. Thank you!

  59. Do you add the raw meatballs to the sauce? I've always cooked mine first but don't see that step in this recipe.

    • Did you ever get your answer? This is my question I always fry or bake before adding to the sauce?

    • Yes you can just add them raw into the sauce, but you can also bake them first if you wanted to.

  60. I am not one to rave about something on the internet because let's face it, nobody reads the comments . . . but I don't care . . . I need to tell the world that these meatballs are the most delicious and so incredibly easy. I don't even use the onion or the bay leaf. And there is no way to screw it up because the ingredients are all good.

  61. Thank you for another fantastic recipe! Made this tonight for dinner and my toddler ate everything on his plate. Will definitely be making this again!

  62. I made the meatballs with white meat ground turkey and added them into spaghetti sauce and the recipe for the sauce was given to me by an old Italian man and it turned out so doggone good…low fat…low calorie and I outdid myself LOL

  63. I made this the other night and just had to comment that it was delicious! My husband who is Italian loved them! I have been trying to cook healthier versions of our favorite foods and this one of my favorite recipes I have tried of yours.

  64. I made this for dinner last night over whole wheat pasta. I was a bit worried about it because I'm not usually a fan of ground turkey, but this was DELICIOUS! My husband loved it too. I will definitely make this again. 🙂
    This was my first SkinnyTaste recipe and I have 4 more skinny dinners planned this week. I'm already excited. 🙂

  65. So delicious, and I, too, love that this recipe was sugar free! Thank you so much.

  66. This is the second Skinny recipe I've tried. I'm hooked now. Thank you, I love all the light food, all delicious and doesn't taste light at all. This was delicious. We are having it tonight. I think I ate half of them just tasting them, after they were done cooking!!

  67. This recipe like all the others will not disappoint!! Super easy and came out incredible! ! These recipes on this site will stick with me forever and I can't wait to cook them one day when I have my own family! For now the fiance and friends love coming over to try anything new I make! This site has helped me learn to cook and cook Great recipes!!! LOVE the turkey meatballs!!

  68. Made these to serve with zoodles and they were fantastic! My boyfriend couldn't belive it was a healthy dinner! 🙂

  69. I'm curious why some of your recipes are 93% lean ground turkey and some are 99% (ex: meatball and meatloaf recipes). Do you notice a difference?

    • 93 fat content is typically just "ground turkey" and has a higher fat content so the turkey won't get too dry and has more flavor (fat). I think 99 is typically ground turkey breast and can get dry in my experience of cooking with it. You can probably use either in any recipe.

  70. is there a substitute for the cheese? Kosher kitchen so I can't mix the cheese with the meat.

  71. I absolutely hate ground turkey anything, but I have to say, these tasted nothing like it. So moist and delicious! Thank you for a fantastic recipe that I can fool everybody with! 😀

  72. The sauce and meatballs came out fantastic!! The meatballs were perfectly moist (not mushy) and the turkey added great flavor to the sauce. Thank you! I even diced some fresh tomatoes from my garden and put it in the sauce to make it a little more chunky!

  73. I can never find whole wheat bread crumbs in the store……….would regular ones work ok? Would they affect the nutrition information much?

    • I think I compared them in the WW+ calculator before and they came out to the same # of WW+ pts. The whole wheat ones are just better for you because it's not enriched flour.

  74. can you make these without the cheese? or would that affect the meatballs staying together in the sauce?

  75. Hey Gina, I've made this recipe before and LOVED it.. just wondering if you think ground chicken would work ok? I wanted to make it for dinner tonight, and that's what is in the fridge!

    • Just made this with ground chicken breast- they were delicious! Only issue was the meatballs stuck to the bottom of the pan- next time I think I will make sure to stir periodically.

    • I think the chicken breast ones should be frozen before putting them in the sauce. Or I don’t know how to roll them and get them in so little sauce. They were sticky and pasty and just awful to roll. Even refrigerated. I don’t know what was needed to change that. (Other than using beef! ?)

  76. Hello,

    I am always looking for healthy recipes that taste good and this looks amazing!! I just have one question, How long do I cook the sauce for?

    Thanks!

  77. This is my first disappointment from this site 🙁 I've made tons of recipes from skinnytaste and they are always perfect, except for this one. I followed the steps but when I added the meatballs to the sauce, there didn't seem to be enough sauce. I tried gently pushing them down, but that just smushed them. After 20 minutes, they were still partially raw! Eventually, they were firm enough to push into the sauce so I cooked them another 20 min to be sure. When the meatballs were cooked through, the sauce was so thin, it didn't coat anything. I was like I had boiled them in watery tomato sauce 🙁 I'll try the crock pot version next time, or maybe just bake the meatballs first. But, I still love this site!

    • What brand of crushed tomatoes did you use? I used Cento crushed tomatoes and the sauce was far from thin!
      When it was time to put the meatballs in the sauce you do need to strategically place them so that there is enough room for them all and you don’t have to press them down into the sauce. When I ran out of room I simply gently spooned the hot sauce over the top of the meatballs and left them alone. Simmering at 20 minutes was definitely enough time for the meatballs to cook.

      Sorry you didn’t have a good experience. This recipe turned out great for me!

  78. This recipe has become a staple in my house…perfect Sunday meal! I double up because the meatballs are so delicious that its hard to stop eating them…besides, we need some leftovers for subs later in the week. Another perfect recipe..Thanks Gina!

  79. I made these for the second time tonight. They are a HUGE hit with the family, and I re-purpose the leftovers into meatball pizzas.

  80. Have you tried these frozen? Trying to put together a freezer meal swap with some friends and wondering if these freeze well. Maybe just cook completely, cool, place in freezer safe ziplock bags and then place in crockpot to thaw?? Any ideas? Thanks!

  81. Just made these and they were delicious!! Never would have known they were 'skinny' if I hadn't picked out the recipe, but the boyfriend loved them 🙂 Already thinking about meatball subs next week. Thanks for the great recipes.

  82. This recipe has been approved by our two-year-old, who is an extremely picky eater.

  83. Instead of crushed tomatoes, can you cook them in actual marinara?

  84. I'm sorry, but I'm looking at the recipe, and it says throw the meatballs in the sauce as soon as you're done rolling them. That can't be correct, can it? I don't think the meatballs can actually cook in the sauce. Do you put them in the oven or something?

    • Yep, you put them in raw! They cook perfectly in the sauce, and they taste so moist! This is one of my favorite recipes ever, and it's a year-round staple in my house!

  85. Gina, there is only one problem with your recipes . . . I want to keep eating! The food is so good! Even though the portions are the perfect size, I just want to eat until I explode. Thank you, thank you for making Weight Watchers so much easier.

  86. This was AMAZING! So easy and delicious! Thank you:)

  87. I am smitten with SkinnyTaste and eagerly embracing it and its recipes (plus author Gina).
    These meatballs were my second SkinnyTaste meal and my second SkinnyTaste hit. My empty nester husband and I transformed these into meatball subs and enlisted our slow cooker as our at-home watchdog while we were away. To that end, I diced and sautéed the onion (rather than leaving it in halves to retrieve from the finished sauce) prior to adding the garlic for a quick additional sauté; the onions and garlic plus all the marinara sauce ingredients gathered in the slow cooker (along with a couple tablespoons of Penzeys Italian herbs). The raw turkey meatballs joined the slow cooker party. I guessed at a 6-hour low cooking time that proved perfect, although I removed the lid for the final 30 minutes to reduce the sauce. I toasted lower-fat rolls, added three meatballs plus sauce to each roll, then sprinkled each with low-fat shredded Italian cheese – the subs spent about two more minutes under the broiler. These defeated our favorite local sub shop’s best (high-calorie) Italian sub and became our go-to choice.

  88. I got Italian Seasoned turkey, so I cut down a little on the parsley (I'm not a huge fan, so I used 1/8th of a cup), and added one tbsp of Dino's Cajun Foreplay to give it a little spice, and was VERY happy.

    This is awesome, thank you so much for the recipe.

  89. I made these last night and thought they were wonderful – great recipe, thanks!

  90. Hi Gina, I made this recipe last night and it was super easy to whip up. I made whole wheat angel hair for the hubster and son and bought some whole wheat hamburger buns for me. I am going to have a meatball sandwich today for lunch w/ a spinach salad on the side. I can't wait!! Thank you for another great recipe!! 🙂

  91. This was the first recipe of yours that I have tried-DELISH!! I need to cut the sodium and started by using salt substitute for 1/2 of the kosher salt. Any ideas on other ways to drop the sodium? Thanks for bringing meatballs back into my life!!!

  92. Using Recipe building, I show this as 7PPV…

  93. This was delicious, I'm not a big fan of onions so instead I used onion powder and it was great! Looking fwd to making more recipes from this website.

  94. Just had these for dinner in my roasted tomato sauce, DELICIOUS! You couldn't tell that it was ground chicken and they are quite "hearty". We all love them and my hubby is Italian too! Thanks again Gina for another wonderful recipe.

  95. I made these for dinner the other day and they were delicious. I baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then let them simmer for about 20 minutes in the pasta sauce (I had to use jarred as that is all I had on hand). Definitely a keeper!

  96. I was really bummed my meatballs were so DRY…. I w as expecting very tender ones as I cooked them in the sauce in my crockpot! I
    The only thing I changed was I used finely chopped onion instead of parsley( didn't have it) … But usually onion tenderizes!? I suspect it's the 99% lean turkey?? I might have to do tad more fat in my meat?
    Do your always come out very tender? Perhaps I over cooked:( will try again as your recipes usually give me great results.

    • One thing that helps is to not compact the meatball too much. a tightly packed meatball wont absorb as much moisture. Gently mold the meatball with just enough pressure to keep it together.

    • If you overwork the meat they will be dry. I am very gentle when I form them but 93% lean turkey will be a lot moister.

  97. I made this dish for my super picky pasta loving best friend and she loved it. My SO is not a huge fan of pasta dishes but said it was really good. I loved it and quickly become addicted! Thank you for healthy alternatives!!!

  98. We absolutely loved this. I put 4 on half of a toasted sub roll and broiled with a slice of sharp provolone. My husband said he'd hoped they would be good, but he didn't know they would be THIS good!

  99. Thank you so much for this recipe. This is the BEST sauce I've ever made and I've NEVER attempted meatballs before and I couldn't keep myself out of the pot before my fiance got home for dinner!
    I used 6 medium vine ripened tomatoes before I lost them from the power outage. Because I added those, I used a 6 oz can of tomato sauce and the small size of tomato paste. I never measure spices and I used the large cloves of garlic I had.
    By far the best recipe and I will using this from now on.

  100. This is how my mom's always made her meatballs (no frying for us – that hard outside shell and mushy inside is so gross!). She does one extra step though – before putting the meatballs in the sauce, she drops them in boiling water for about 45 seconds. It releases even more fat so the final product is even leaner. Of course that wouldn't be a necessity for this recipe since it calls for 99% fat free turkey, but if anyone was using ground beef or even 93% lean turkey, I find that this step makes for a much less greasy meatball!

  101. I made these tonight and the family just loved them! They think I should have been a chef but I tell them I have to give the real credit to YOU. I just follow directions very well, lol.

  102. made these for the first time and they were yummy. Haven't really used turkey except at Xmas time and was pleasantly surprised to find turkey is very affordable at the supermarket.

  103. I was skeptical of "skinny" meatballs at first, but these are amazing! I mixed the turkey and seasonings the night before, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and refrigerated it overnight. The next day I formed the meatballs, baked for 20 minutes, and then simmered in sauce for 20 min. I used 2 jars of sauce since I couldn't find good crushed tomatoes anywhere. I can't believe how delicious these meatballs are! Thanks for the great recipe.

  104. Do you brown the meatballs first before putting them in the sauce?

  105. Cooking meatballs in the sauce is a trick my uncle taught me years ago. They come out moist and tender. This is the only way I've cooked them ever since.

  106. Just made this today, and WOW, the meatballs were amazing. I put them over spaghetti squash, and then baked it with low-fat mozza and it was awesome!

  107. I have made many turkey meatball recipes but this will be my one and only. I thought they would fall apart while cooking in the sauce and they didn't. I did a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of italian seasoned sauce (didn't have any basil on hand) so I thought this would help. Kids ate them too. I can see how it would be hard to eat just 4. Look out Giada!!

  108. Is it okay to use 93% ground turkey? That's all the grocery store had today.

  109. I'm not much of a cook… just getting into it… so my apologies this is a silly question. I just want to make sure I'm reading it correctly. You're saying that you just make the meatballs, and then put the raw meatballs in the sauce? I made it last night, and they came out great, but when I told some friends, they were surprised and through it wasn't safe to cook the raw meatballs that way. Thank you!

  110. Why would you discard the onion at the end? Did you mean the bay leaf?

    "Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook about 20 minutes. Discard the onion and serve over pasta or on whole wheat Italian bread for a meatball hero."

  111. This is my absolute go-to recipe lately. I make this in double batches to freeze for easy week night dinners. In fact, I have a batch on the stove right now! Thank you for this recipe-it's so great!

  112. I made these tonight for my strictly frozen meatball, jar sauce (Aldi brand!) eating boys and husband. They were delish

  113. Made this for dinner last night and they are excellent. I was so proud of myself with the sauce, I thought it would be bitter and disgusting because my husband makes his own sauce which normally I do not like, but this one was good, his only comment was that he wanted some sugar in the sauce.

  114. I am currently during weight watchers and my boyfriend has been doing the P90X program. Your website is such a lifesaver! We've been using it multiple times a week to decide dinner. This is tonight's!

  115. This will be dinner tonight already have the meatballs assembled. Let you know how we like it thank you!

  116. the meatballs were great. We served them over baked spaghetti squash which kept the points down. My husband said that we should have them again…soon.
    One other comment about posts. I would love to see more reviews from people who actually made the recipes rather than comments on the beautiful pictures. It would help decide which ones to try.

  117. These were amazing! Best meatballs I have ever had!!!!

  118. Made this one tonite, delicious!The spices were just right, I made so many recipes before that were so fad despite the glorious pictures. Thank you!

  119. Gwyn, if that is what you are used to it's probably why you prefer it. Personally I never liked jar sauce, but that's just me. The right tomatoes are crucial for a good tasting sauce… Tuttorosso for me is a must.

  120. I love these meatballs and have made them several times with jarred spaghetti sauce & finally made them with your sauce. Discovered that I am not a fan of the sauce. I'm sure this is more "authentic" but I prefer jarred spaghetti sauce (and so does my family) – I am embarrassed to admit it! Just my 2 cents – I hate to criticize when I love 99% of what you do – but wanted to give an honest review.

  121. These were delicious. Used a jarred sauce as I had it on hand and the meatballs cooked perfectly in the sauce. Great over high protein pasta. Thanks for another keeper!

  122. WARNING: These were so good, i could not stop eating them. My boyfriend said they were better than any ground beef meatballs he's had before. i baked them at 350 for 20 minutes, then added them to canned sauce.

  123. I've been thinking about how to do this in the crock pot. Perhaps baking them would do the trick in the crock pot. I'm going to give it a try and see how they come out. I usually just plop them into the sauce.

  124. I'm making these tonight, and I can't wait! They sound fabulous!

  125. Hi Gina, do you brown the meatballs first? Or just plop them in the sauce raw and let them cook in the sauce?

  126. someone above mentioned making these in a crockpot..i'm thinking about making them for a dinner party so that would be easier.

    could i make the sauce, let it simmer a bit, then put the sauce and the raw meatballs in the crockpot on low for 20 mins? And then just leave it on "warm" until i serve them? think that would work?

    thanks so much for so many wonderful recipes!

  127. Made these meatballs tonight. LOVED!!! Really good and easy. Husband loved them did not evenrealize they were healthy 🙂

  128. So glad you liked everything!

  129. Made these the other day and they came out so tasty! froze half of the meatballs for next week and used the rest for lunch for three days…just want to say thank you for all these great recipes…i have made your pumpkin cupcakes, arroz con pollo, and the chocolate chip cookies thus far and everything has been really good. My boyfriend had seconds of the arroz con pollo and brought the leftovers to work : )

  130. Used 93% turkey by mistake because I was going to make your friend Julias meatball recipe, then I came across yours, only problem the 93% was so sticky , had a hard time rolling them , but it was just as good and I made your sauce and it was delicious.

  131. Made the meatballs yesterday. Husband and my daughter loved it. definitely will make it again. I like the fact that I didn't have to fry them first just put them in the sauce and they are done.

  132. Thanks so much Gina for sharing this recipe! I made this for my mom last night who is on WW and she loved it. I used Classico bottled tomato sauce instead of making your recipe but it still was delicious. I will have to make your sauce next time since there will def. be a next time! I really appreciate all the recipes you have shared. Last week I made my mom the shrimp quesadilla with the tomato & avocado and that was also delicious! Thanks so much for making "dieting" a success for my mom. Healthy food should not only be good for you but should taste good! Take care!

  133. These were delicious! I followed the directions and had enough for two nights dinner and 1 lunch! We will be making these again! Thank you for the great recipes!

  134. Hi Gina – I love your site! I'm trying to learn to cook and eat healthier and you've been able to help me in that.

    I'm not quite brave enough to try the sauce yet (my poor Noni would roll over in her grave if I didn't at least attempt her sauce first), so can you list the calories without the sauce?

    many thanks!

    Kristine in Ohio

  135. Funny, I made them least night too!! They really are good, my husband approves, and he's Italian!

  136. Thanks Gina. I did see that but thought that was there last time as well. Anyway, they turned out just as good as the first time. I never thought I'd like turkey meatballs but you definitely changed that! Thanks so much!! 🙂

  137. Hi Carol, yes I actually noted above that I changed it after making this over and over, I felt it was just as good skipping the sauteing step and saves points.

  138. Has this recipe been revised in the last month or so? I've made these before but no longer see a step to saute the meatballs before placing in the sauce. My page does say there is an error so wondering if that's the reason or it has changed. Thanks!

  139. You'd have to use recipe builder to see how it's effected, I do have a beef meatball recipe with spinach which is outstanding! You can use the search at the top right to find it.

  140. Hello – can you tell me the points plus difference if I were to use lean groung beef instead? Have you ever tried with GB instead of turkey? I'm not a big fan of ground turkey. Thanks so much!

  141. I just updated the calories.

  142. Gina – I'm also curious if you have a calorie count for these? I don't do the points system but am counting calories. They look so good!

  143. They are the best!

  144. Delicious! Very glad I splurged on the San Marzano tomatoes

  145. Gina – Do you know the calories for these?

    Thanks!
    Amy

  146. Hi Gina, Love your website and have made tons of your recipes. This is my daughter's favorite and am trying to figure out how many points on the new plan. Please reply!!

  147. How many points would this be on the points plus plan?

  148. Cooked quinoa would work as a gluten free substitute for bread crumbs. Thanks for asking!

  149. Hi Gina,

    I am new to your site. My husband and I are both Italian and this morning I decided I need to try to make my amazing meatballs with turkey for the health benefits and found you.

    One question, I am going to try using quinoa as you suggested for a GF alternative. Would you use this cooked or not?

    Thank you!

  150. great idea Kit…. thanks for sharing !!

  151. I am Italian too! ( like your hubby). I will def try these. I just had to say, it makes such a big difference with the photos included with the recipe. great photos!! They look so professional.

  152. I put the meatballs in the oven instead of frying them…..400 deg.oven, spray the pan first…delicioius

  153. Just made these. I was worried there wouldn't be enough bread crumbs and they would fall apart, but it worked out great. I've been on weight watchers for 2 weeks and I've been looking for different recipes to keep me from wanted to "cheat". Thanks so much!!!

  154. Love meatball subs with provolone! I'm sure these were great in the slow cooker! I have to try that next time.

  155. OMG I made these last night for dinner and I actually did it in the slow cooker…they were amazing! We had meatball sandwiches on low point buns with reduced fat provolone…YUMMMMM!!

  156. Awesome! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment!

  157. A coworker introduced me to this site and I tried this recipe last night. It was fabulous!! I even forgot to add the parmesan cheese to the meatballs and it still tasted great 🙂

  158. Hi Kashford, these are great!! Welcome!!

  159. Hi Gina,
    New to ww and trying this receipe tonight. Looks delicious and easy to create. Love your website. It will be easy to stick with ww now that I have receipes to cook that taste great and low in points. Thanks so much!

  160. I used this recipe and made meatballs subs with low-fat provolone cheese and low-fat hoagie buns. DELICIOUS!!! My husband and brother-in-law loved these! 🙂

  161. They sell it in the supermarket in New York but if it's not available in your area, use what you love. I heard Muir Glen was good, I also like Rienze Italian plum tomatoes.

  162. Gina, I just found your site and love it. This is the second recipe I have tried and I love it! I just used Hunt's crushed tomatoes, but where do you get Tuttorosso brand? Thanks again for the great recipe and keep them coming!

  163. @Jackie, these are great in soups too. Plop them into chicken broth and add a little pasta and parmesan for a great hearty soup!

  164. Oh my god these are amazing, even my husband likes them! I make a batch split them up into several meals and take them to work as i work shifts its great i feel so organized thanks Gina

  165. @Lauren, I incorporated the sauce in the points when I figured it out, but I just did it separate and it worked out to 4 plain meatballs, no sauce .85 pts each so for would be 3.5 pts. The sauce is 1 pt for 1 cup, so 1/2 cup would give you 4 pts total. Hope that helps!

  166. About how much sauce do you include in the points total? If I have 4 meatballs and 1/4 c. sauce is that 4 points or do I need to add more points for the sauce?

    Thanks for your recipes. I am new to weight watchers and have loved the recipes. Keep posting!

  167. I always like to add salt to my meat before I cook it or I find it tastes bland. The sauce you can always adjust at the end if it needs more salt.

  168. Great recipe! Loved them.

    One question – the meatballs call for salt but directions don’t say when it goes in. I’m assuming with all the other ingredients? I have a fear of things tasting too salty and I know from experience that it matters whether you add salt in the sauce or directly to the meatballs. I added to the sauce but should it be added to the meatballs? I guess they could use a little kick. I think I just answered my own question. haha!

    Thanks Gina for all your recipes!!

  169. I am literally in the middle of eating these. I like the sauce but there is one thing I can’t get past in the meatballs and it’s the raw onion. I’m half italian and I I think the turkey works great but I would use onion in my sauce instead of the balls. MMM mMMM good!

    • Grate the onion so it is like mushy onion juice. My mom was 100% italian and if she didn't want large onion pieces, she grated it. Or, saute them till translucent then add to the mixture.

    • I grate mine as well…use a zester!

  170. This looks like an awesome recipe. Will try it soon!

  171. @Nancy, welcome! Glad you like what you see.

  172. @This makes my day, I have heard of adding sugar to take the sharpness away. Adding carrots also works. I have never heard of adding cinnamon, I will have to look into that. Thanks.

  173. This is AWESOME. Thanks for posting.

    And I’m so stoked that I stumbled upon your blog. I’ll DEFINITELY be following!

  174. Hi Gina,

    Great recipe again! It’s so amazing how you surprise us each time with another great recipe!

    I like to ask you someting about tomatoes.
    To take away some of the sharpness of a tomato, is it true that one can add a little sugar or cinnamon? In italy they say that cinnamon helps, but I’m not sure.

  175. Well, as a fairly recent Italian immigrant, I can tell you that I love meatballs. My late mother made some of the finest balls on the planet, let me tell you, but she never used turkey.

    My weight has nearly doubled since i left Brooklyn and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Not to mention that my boyfriend “Big Bear” now weighs over 400 pounds.

    I am going to try your recipe because I obviously need some help.

    Louise Wyers,
    “therealchiffonade”

  176. Those sound fantastic! I love turkey meatballs!

  177. Thanks Marisa,
    I am really loyal to my tomatoes. Tuttorosso always give me perfect results!

  178. Great recipe, Gina!!! I’ll see if I can fool my hubby with these! Good job on the sauce – no sugar- that’s REAL Italian!