Beet-Walnut Turkey Meatballs
These zesty, moist meatballs are just what your weeknight needs. They’re bursting with sweet and savory flavor. They’re ideal for meal prep, because you can make a big batch and enjoy them in different dishes throughout the week. One day, try them over a bed of spaghetti squash with tomato sauce. The next day, enjoy them over a bed of greens with a creamy yogurt dressing.
I love the ease of baked meatballs. They come together quickly and with little fuss. For long term storage, they stand up well to the freezer. Simply let them cool completely, then freeze them on a sheet pan before transferring them to a resealable bag. Freezing them on a sheet pan before tossing them in a bag keeps them from sticking together. This allows you to take out individual portions. When you’re ready for a quick meal, heat them directly from the freezer to the oven at 350F for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.
In my opinion, ground turkey doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s a great lower-fat alternative to ground beef or pork. Not only is this lean meat delicious, but it has an impressive nutritional profile. It’s rich in protein and B vitamins. Studies have shown that a high-protein diet combined with exercise can help women lose weight (R).
Beets lend moisture and sweetness to these meatballs. Adding them raw and shaved helps them maintain a crunchy texture and earthy flavor. Beets have been studied for an array of health benefits. Because of their high nitrate content, they have potential for managing heart disease. Additionally, their other bio-available nutrients have been shown to protect from oxidative damage and excess inflammation (R).
Walnuts add another layer of texture to these meatballs. You can chop them finely by hand, but I find the food processor to be much quicker and more uniform. Just be sure you don’t over-process them — we’re going for chopped nuts, not nut butter. Walnuts are full of essential fatty acids, which have been linked to healthy aging (R). They’re also rich in Vitamin E and polyphenols, both of which have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. The polyphenols in Vitamin E in particular have shown potential for prevention and treatment of cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disease (R).
Yields 18-20 small meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup beets, shredded
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp za’atar
Preheat oven to 375F.
Grease a sheet pan. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse walnuts until finely chopped. Do not overpricess.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, shredded beets, chopped walnuts, panko breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, za’atar and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined.
Form mixture into 18-20 meatballs. Place meatballs on prepared sheet pan
Transfer pan to oven and bake