Quick & Easy Tender Turkey Meatballs (Plus 15 Easy Ground Turkey Recipes)

Got ground turkey laying around? I’ve rounded up 15 creative, delicious and awesome dinner ideas that are super kid-friendly, including tender turkey meatball recipe. I almost didn’t post it. Not because it isn’t delicious—it is (very)!—but it’s not my usual kind of recipe. See, this turkey meatball recipe comes to you via my sitter, Jenny, who approaches cooking very differently than I do.

Jenny is from Jamaica and mostly cooks Jamaican food. When it comes to curry, rice and peas and oxtail stew, Jenny takes her time, sources authentic ingredients and keeps things spicy (literally!). Beyond Jamaican cuisine, Jenny takes an old-school Better Homes and Gardens approach, like so many other immigrants of her time. Being a first-generation Greek, I’m familiar with Jenny’s decidedly American style, which filters ethnicity through convenience. It’s the kind of cooking where Italian meatballs are made with ketchup.

RELATED: 31 Days of Healthy Recipes Your Kid Will Actually Eat

Yup, ketchup in meatballs. But, you know what, they’re really delicious. And quick and easy. It’s by far my boys’ favorite dinner ever. I like ‘em, too.

ingredients for turkey meatballs includes bread crumbs ground turkey ketchup onions and some garlic

I recently asked Jenny to make her meatballs with me. I wanted to know what made them so tender and tasty (this was before I knew about the ketchup!). She was reluctant, saying that it was silly for her to show me how to cook something as simple as meatballs, but I insisted. At first I just wanted to know how to make something that my boys would eat without fail. As we cooked alongside each other, though, I realized that there was much more to it.

This may sound silly but, in the moment when Jenny added ketchup to her meatball mix, it became crystal clear that there’s wisdom in every kind of from-scratch cooking. That, so long as you use whole ingredients, there’s value in exposing kids to all different kinds of cooking, not just all different kinds of foods. That, within the boundaries of healthy food, there’s value in being flexible about what counts as “good” food. That love, sharing and food bring us together and make things delicious.

So while this tender turkey meatball recipe is pretty different – certainly in spirit – than my Classic Meatball recipe, it’s a keeper. And not just for my Hungry Boys and sentimental self. For you, too, because these turkey meatballs are super tasty, easy to make, and use only the most basic pantry staples and take 5 minutes to prep. Any family cook can tell you that you’d be wise to keep a recipe with that list of attributes close at hand at all times. Ketchup or not.

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