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A Delicious Meatball Dinner. What? No Pasta?

March 1, 2012 by Joan Nova in Poultry, Recipe Development, Sauce, Vegetables | 17 Comments

Nope! No pasta, and it wasn’t even needed.

baked turkey-vegetable meatballs
roasted yellow pepper sauce
charred and braised escarole

Meatballs without pasta? It’s actually a good thing. Why? 1) it’s a delicious, balanced and healthy dinner; and 2) there’s room and calories left for a little gelato later. :)

I started building the meatballs knowing I wasn’t making pasta to accompany them so I had a little fun with the ingredients. I didn’t think I would be making a sauce either so I chose to add vegetables and dates to keep them moist.

At the same time I was baking the meatballs, I roasted some mini sweet peppers and a few cloves of garlic. When they were done, I pureed a few of the yellow peppers with evvo, a roasted garlic clove, red chili flakes and a squeeze or two of honey to make a sauce. Although it may look like French’s Mustard in the photos, I assume you it was a helluva lot tastier.

The escarole was charred in a skillet with a clove of garlic and then given a quick braise with chicken broth.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Turkey Meatballs (not for pasta)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 sm zucchini
  • 1 sm carrot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 almonds
  • 4 dates
  • 1 egg
  • whole wheat panko crumbs
  • dry seasonings
How To
  1. Finely mince all vegetables as well as the almonds and dates.
  2. Mix with ground turkey, beaten egg and panko crumbs.
  3. Form meatballs and bake at 375 degrees about 30 minutes.
Yields 15 ice cream scoop sized balls.

Note: FOODalogue suggests this recipe as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with…in your own kitchen…to your own spice and taste levels…and to your preferred portion sizes.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Those meatballs look so good!! I agree that you don’t necessarily need pasta with them. They’re like little round meatloaves! LOVE the sauce – so easy, too!
    the wicked noodle recently posted..coq au vinMy Profile

  2. Neat that you are adding veggies, as well as dates and almonds to the meatballs! Love the yellow pepper sauce too!
    5 Star Foodie recently posted..Pasta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Smoked Ham, and Délice de BourgogneMy Profile

  3. We’ve been trying to cut out a lot of grains–my kids love meatballs so maybe these would go down the hatch! I’ve usually added veggies to the bolognese sauce but putting them into the meatballs is genius!

  4. At first I was confused about no pasta, then you mentioned the gelato and I got it !

    Love that you’ve used yellow bell peppers. Sometimes they must feel like they are the forgotten pepper when everyone always chooses their red sisters.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Short Ribs Provencale – an excellent dish for entertainingMy Profile

  5. Ben says:

    I’m familiar with the pastaless meatballs concept. Down here we make them in a guajillo pepper sauce and call them albondigas. Your stuffed meatballs look very appetizing. Could they go in a sandwich?
    Ben recently posted..Nixtamal and TortillasMy Profile

  6. I love meatballs in all their incarnations–Middle Eastern, Italian, Swedish, Asian, Moroccan…Yep, meatballs are a concept I can wrap myself around, and these look absolutely wonderful. I love the little fleck of green zucchini and the puddle of yellow pepper sauce. As always, your recipes are inventive and look delicious.
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Roasted Eggplant Bisque with Honey-Harissa Sauce and Parmesan CrispsMy Profile

  7. Katie says:

    I think I see a meatball sandwich in my future. I love the special additions like dates and carrots. The ingredients remind me a bit of Middle Eastern food. Maybe a spicy harissa as an alternative to the pepper sauce?
    Katie recently posted..Surreal Video of Buenos AiresMy Profile

  8. bellini says:

    Eating meatballs without the pasta is a wise choice!. I do love meatballs!

  9. sippitysup says:

    Creative and beautiful. GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..My Cookbook: Who, What, Where & PIeMy Profile

  10. Lori Lynn says:

    Love the perspective on the opening shot Joan!
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Brunch. Manhattan. Beach.My Profile

  11. Absolutely love it! These not only look fantastic, but really who would need pasta :)

  12. I thought it was queso on top, but like your salsa better. I could definitely pop a few of these. I just love those sweet roasted pepers. Have to go get some….
    Platanos, Mangoes & Me! recently posted..Arroz con Gandules y Chorizo – Rice with Pigeon Peas + Spanish SausageMy Profile

  13. Rosa says:

    What adelicious looking meatballs! I love the way you served them.



  14. I love the look and sound of these meatballs and they are so healthy to boot. The “mustard” sauce sounds yummy too.

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