June 15, 2021


Perhaps these aren’t my Aunt’s meatballs, though just because it’s turkey, doesn’t mean it has to be tough or chewy! Following these steps will ensure tender versions that are worth sharing every time!

A little back story about these turkey meatballs:

Growing up, my Aunty would make plenty of meat dishes. Sausage and meatballs were on her rotation and she would always say, “It is SO EASY to make!” It’s funny because both my Mom and her say that often but I feel like I am nagging them when I ask if I can learn or what the measurements are.

Though, I think that is common with families that cook recipes from memories. It is engraved in them and so it is second nature. To second-guess or to slow down that intuitive process is WORK! Nonetheless, after years of saying I would document this recipe, I am finally avoiding being a hypocrite by sharing the process here haha!

And though, perhaps, these aren’t my Aunt’s red meat version of things, just because it is turkey, does not mean it is tough or chewy! That said, following these directions will ensure soft, tender versions that are worth sharing every time! Scroll down to read my tips and techniques!

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“Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.”
— Daniel Handler

(Turkey) Meatballs From Memories

(Serves around 9 people)


  • 2 lb. ground turkey

  • 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausages

  • 2 tsp Italian Season Blend

  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (from 2-3 day old, dense bread)

  • 1/2 cup milk (water works too)

  • 1/2 cup Vidalia onion, finely diced/minced (to ensure they soften when they cook, otherwise they will be crunchy)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3 cloves garlic (more or less depending on preference), minced

  • 2 Tbs basil, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano regianno

  • 2 Tbs parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 8 cups marinara sauce of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Hydrate the bread crumbs with the milk in a small bowl just before adding to a larger mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients except for the marinara sauce.

  3. Mix the contents until just combined (avoid overmixing), then use an ice cream scoop to portion. Roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Add the sausages as well.

  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

  5. In the meantime, add marinara sauce to a large pot and bring to medium heat.

  6. When meatballs and sausages are ready, transfer and submerge into the marinara sauce.

  7. Increase the heat until the sauce just starts to bubble, then reduce to a simmering low.

  8. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for at least 1 hour.

  9. When ready, pair with cooked pasta, transfer to a large bowl or serving platter, garnish with freshly chopped parsley alongside extra sauce (so people can sauce to preference) and finally, enjoy!


A note that my friend Alex mentioned is to soak bread in water then break apart in place of dried bread crumbs. It is something his Italian family has traditionally done and the thought process behind it is that when the meatballs cook, the water evaporates, leaving the meatballs more tender.

 For more delicious recipes to create or pair alongside, visit the Kitchen Journal.