If you’re like me, you attempt to hide veggies in tasty foods so that your family will eat them. These meatballs are the perfect opportunity for that!
The base of the recipe is ground turkey, but ground beef would also work well. Instead of only using ground meat, I experimented with lentils. Haven’t had lentils before? You’re in for a treat!
Lentils are a legume that’s high in protein and much cheaper than meat; plus they come in a variety of colors such as green, yellow, and neon pink! (They each turn brown when cooked, but it’s fun to show your kids that you’re eating something colorful!) Compare these to a grain, because they cook quickly in boiling water…which is hard to mess up!
You can also hide spinach in these meatballs, which is a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. There may be bits of green, but you’ll hardly taste them over the other flavors – like parmesan! If your family is a big fan of cheese, feel free to add extra to this recipe.
Baked Turkey, Lentil, Spinach & Parmesan Meatballs
- 2 lbs ground turkey (or beef)
- 1 cup of cooked lentils
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 16 oz frozen spinach (defrosted and completely drained of water)
- 3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 3/4-1 cup bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- Preheat oven to 400 and line 2 pans/baking dishes with foil. Spray with cooking spray or rub with olive oil.
- Heat up the olive oil in a skillet to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Sauté until the onion is translucent.
- Add the spinach, Worcestershire and chicken broth to the skillet. Mix well and allow to simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce reduces/thickens, roughly 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together the ground meat, lentils, bread crumbs and eggs together in a mixing bowl.
- Add the onion/spinach mixture to the mixing bowl and combine well.
- Spoon heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking pans, leaving about 1 inch between each meatball.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches at least 160.
- Serve over rice or quinoa. These pair well with ketchup, barbecue sauce, or brown gravy.
Note: Squeeze your prepared spinach in a dish towel to fully expel all of the water.
Note: Don’t have bread crumbs? Make a piece of toast extra toasted, then simply crush in your blender or food processor.
Note: These freeze well, so make a double batch. Simply thaw by baking for 10 minutes at 350, or until fully warmed.