This recipe came together on the fly one day when I was preparing something to take to an apple themed party [yes, it’s as delicious and autumnal as it sounds!]. I was determined to impart as much apple-ness into the recipe as possible! Though I couldn’t taste the apple in the meatballs as much as I’d hoped, the crunch of the bits of granny smith added a nice crunch. For the party, I served the meatballs with toothpicks and the applesauce for dipping. At home the following day, the meatballs paired perfectly with the rosemary quinoa and sweet and sour applesauce! This dish has quickly become a staple in my fall menu!
Mini Apple and Onion Turkey Meatballs:
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 granny smith apple, finely minced
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 1-1.25 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes [or more if you prefer things spicy!]
- Combine the ketchup, apple, onion, eggs, apple sauce and milk. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and red pepper flakes. In the wet mixture, fold in the ground turkey, being sure not to over mix [using your hands is best!]. Then fold the dry ingredients in, again not over mixing. Form small, 1/2”-1” size meatballs and set aside. [if not cooking immediately, place them in the fridge until you’re ready]
For the quick and tasty method of cooking: fry your meatballs in a deep frying pan with 2 cups shortening or vegetable oil [heated to between 350 and 375]. If you don’t have a thermometer, place a wooden spoon in the pot and if the oil bubbles, it should be ready. I always recommend frying a couple test meatballs to test for the temperature of the oil also!
For the healthier [and still tasty!] method: preheat your oven to 350F. drizzle a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil on the meatballs and gently toss to coat. Place them on lined baking sheets, making sure none of the meatballs are touching and cook for 20-25 minutes.
I made approximately 80 mini meatballs using this recipe, but you can of course make them as large or as tiny as you’d like! These meatballs freeze really well in ziplock bags, and can easily be reheated in the oven!
Sweet & Sour Applesauce:
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- pinch of cayenne pepper [optional]
- Combine ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
Using quick cooking quinoa boxes are a really great way of cooking for a weeknight meal. But to keep it simple, just follow the directions on how to cook your quinoa, and to the pot add a tablespoon of finely minced fresh rosemary, along with salt and pepper.