Low-Carb Tomatoey Turkey Meatballs
Updated: Jul 31
Hi internet, this is my first blog post. In this post, I am going to teach you how to make low-carb tomatoey turkey meatballs.
These meatballs are so good that you don't even have to be sad that they're low carb. Most meatballs contain regular flour, but these contain ALMOND FLOUR. This is an interesting substance I've learned to cook with since I started a (temporary) medically mandated low carb diet, where I don't eat any sugar, sweet fruits, grains, pastries, rugelach, etc. Almond flour is just crushed up almonds and it has a surprisingly floury texture when you grind it that small. It's available in most supermarkets (I think).
I got this recipe from The Almond Eater blog. Here is what you need:
1 lb ground turkey (I used 85% lean but have mixed feelings about that, more on that later)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon basil (I used freeze-dried basil because my supermarket didn't have fresh basil)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Crushed black pepper, as much as you think is reasonable
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups of marinara sauce (sugar-free if you care about carbs). I used Bertolli d'Italia marinara sauce; Rao's is also good.
You will also need an oven-tolerant pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then take an appropriately sized mixing bowl and place items 1 through 10 in the ingredient list within that bowl. Mix everything together until well incorporated. I used my hands, but it might be a more pleasant experience if you use gloves. Here is an appetizing picture of the result.
At this point I took a break, because this recipe takes a while and my back isn't so good right now.
10 minutes later, it is meatball shaping time. The goal is to make 16-18 meatballs. Take a chunk of the seasoned meat, roll it in your hand a little, and also pass it from hand to hand as if you're fidgeting with a ball. This will help the meatball become more dense and easier to shape. Once the meatball is shaped, place it in your oven-tolerant pan.
At this point, I started having doubts about buying 85% lean ground turkey. I have made these meatballs before with 90% lean ground turkey, and it took some time to shape the meatballs but it wasn't that bad. With 85% turkey, the meat is a lot gooier and harder to manage and shape.
You might notice in the above picture that the meatballs are slightly shiny. This is because I gave each one a quick second roll after I created them all. I noticed that once the meatballs sit in the olive oil, they are much easier to shape into nice little balls.
Once your meatballs are formed, turn on your stove and sear the meatballs until they have some browning. I did this for 5 minutes. This part gave me some trouble because the meatballs started to stick to the pan, even though I was constantly turning them over. If you have any tips on how to prevent this, please let me know in the comments.
Once your meatballs have fried a little, pour 2 or so cups of marinara sauce all over them, place them in your preheated oven, and cook for 18-20 minutes. I cook them for 20 minutes and check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. They are always over 165 degrees inside, so all clear.
Here they are, out of the oven.
I cut one of them for this cross-section view. I think it looks pretty good!
As you can see from the pictures, these meatballs are heavily coated in sauce. The sauce evaporates somewhat in the oven and turns into this delicious savory tomato situation, which pairs really nicely with the meatballs. I ate the meatballs in sauce with a side of salad, but I think they would be better with pasta.
The meatballs are very soft and melt a little in your mouth. If you go with 90% lean ground turkey, they will be a little more substantial, which I prefer. The tomato paste and herbs and spices come out really well in the flavor, and the almond flour adds this denser and chewy texture. These are the best meatballs I've ever made and I plan to make them regularly, probably on the weekends because they are time-consuming.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions. Thanks for reading!