I have a special place in my heart for turkey meatballs. It is one recipe I have been making for a long time and one that I enjoy making from memory. They are easy to put together and are packed with flavor, I do make them a little spicy so be warned! If you shy away from spicy all you need to do is cut the number of red pepper flakes to your particular taste.
I babysat for this amazing family when I was in high school and whenever I came home from college. These children and their mother are so important to me and I have so many fond memories of spending time with them.
I ended up making my meatballs for them once, every once in a while I would be of making dinner for these two kids. It was something I could make a huge batch of and then store them in the freezer so this busy family would be able to have a quick meal in their back pocket.
I felt so happy when Amy asked how I made them. She was impressed with what I put together at age 19. I was proud that I made something this whole family enjoyed and was ask to make them again. Now, I am going to share this recipe with you!
Turkey Meatballs Subs
1 Lb Ground Turkey
½ - ¾ C Panko
1-2 Slices of Bread
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
⅓ C Grated Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic, Grated
1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Cloves Garlic
Begin by preheating your oven to 400℉ and making sure your ground turkey is at room temperature. Trust me, sticking your hands into cold meat can make your fingers very uncomfortable!
Whenever I am at physical therapy my therapist asks what I am making for dinner this week and I am more than willing to tell her. When I brought up my meatballs she asked me to describe my process. There was a look in her eye that told me she was going to pass on some of her own knowledge. “Grate your onions”.
This was perfect! Whenever I made meatballs in the past, no matter how small I could dice the onions a few pieces would fall out. Or even worse, if the ratio of meat to onion was off you would get a large mouthful of onion.
So, in the wise words of my therapist, grate your onions. I found that there is a film on each layer that will not go through the grater, it also worked to protect your fingertips. Working the onions this way brings out the liquid which will spread out the flavor throughout the dish.
I took that idea and rolled with it, grating my garlic as well.
In a large bowl add your turkey, freshly grated onions, garlic, spices, and egg. I prefer to add torn up stale bread to my meatballs. The pieces of bread will end up absorbing the juices of the meat and work to prevent the meatballs from drying out.
The egg and bread will work as a binder, but too wet and the balls won't hold together. The amount of panko and bread will depend on how wet the meat is and how wet the day is. Add the panko in small amounts and work together in between with your hands to asses how wet the mixture is.
Once the meat holds together, roll out into golfball sized balls and place them on a lined cookie sheet. Pop them into your oven for 25-30 minutes.
Once that timer we are going to finish the cooking process in our homemade marinara sauce (here) for another 10 minutes.
While the meatballs are finishing up it is time to tend to our bread. We can’t go all out on the filling of our subs and put them into lame bread boats.
Melody came with brioche rolls which are wonderfully soft and are the perfect platform for garlic bread. Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a tbsp of chopped garlic. Brush the insides of the bread with the melted butter, don’t leave the garlic bits in the pan!
We don’t want to break the bread, we need the bottoms intact to hold our meatballs. Gently open and place them in a pan, making sure the bread remains open. Place into the oven to toast for 10 minutes.
Fill the buns with the delicious sauce covered meatballs and sprinkle with cheese! Don’t skimp on the cheese. Place under a broiler for a quick few minutes to melt.
Cut in half, and enjoy this wonderfully easy and comforting sandwich.