You'll love my Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs in Sauce! This recipe uses oats instead of bread crumbs, but no one will notice! Enjoy these fork-tender meatballs and a delicious sauce without the hassle of browning the meatballs first.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: gluten-free meatballs, meatballs in sauce, turkey meatballs
Author: Cooking with Mamma C
6garlic cloves(peeled & sliced thinly)
1large onion(peeled & chopped)
1/4cupolive oil(use more for white meat turkey; see notes)
228-ounce cans crushed tomatoes(I like Tuttorosso or Cento San Marzano)
128-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes(mashed with a potato masher)
Chop a large clove of garlic and set it aside for the meatballs. Slice six cloves of garlic and chop the onion. Heat olive oil in a 6-quart pot on medium high. Add onions and cook until soft (around five minutes), stirring occasionally. During the last two minutes, add the garlic slices to the pan and stir them to combine with the onions.
While the onions are cooking, mash the whole, peeled tomatoes in a bowl. After the onions are soft, add the mashed tomatoes to the pot, along with the crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and add the bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
When the sauce comes to a boil, lower the heat and loosely cover the pot with a lid, using a wooden spoon resting on the edges of the pan to keep the lid propped open a bit.
For the meatballs, while your hands are clean, place a large spoon within reach of the pot. Place the oats in a small bowl and pour the water over them. Stir and let soak for a couple of minutes. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg with a fork and add the parsley, chopped garlic, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and the oats/water mixture. Add the meat to the bowl and mix all the ingredients gently with your hands.
Shape the mixture into meatballs about two inches wide. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce (place a couple at a time on the large spoon and transfer them). Wash your hands well and stir the sauce gently with the wooden spoon, being careful not to break the meatballs. Wash the wooden spoon and rest it again on the rim of the pot, so it props the lid. (Do not taste the sauce until the meatballs are fully cooked.)
Stir the sauce occasionally to prevent sticking, being sure to gently scrape along the bottom of the pot. After 35 minutes, check to see if the meatballs are done by cutting into the largest one. If it is cooked through, the sauce can be tasted going forward. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked meatballs to a serving bowl and cover with foil. Continue cooking the sauce for another 20 minutes.
Serve the meatballs and sauce over pasta or in hoagies. Store leftover sauce and meatballs in the refrigerator for up to four days, or freeze separately. (See notes.)
Dark meat will provide the most flavor (and fat). But you can make healthy turkey meatballs with lean, white meat.
If you need these to be gluten free, you must use gluten-free oats. Otherwise, regular oats are fine.
If you use lean, white-meat turkey, you'll need to add an extra 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauce to give it more flavor, unless you prefer a low-fat option.
You can definitely freeze these meatballs, either raw or cooked. If freezing them after they're cooked, let them cool off first.First, flash freeze the meatballs on a sheet pan for at least an hour. Then transfer them to a freezer bag.You also can freeze the sauce, separately, in a plastic quart container.To thaw raw meatballs, place them in the refrigerator overnight. Then you can make the sauce and cook the meatballs in it as directed.