Healthy Recipe: Turkey Meatballs in Cranberry Sauce

Eating healthy during the holidays can be tough. With cheesy potatoes, pies, cookies, deep-fried meats, and buttery breads tempting us everywhere, it’s hard to know how to be healthy during the holidays. Lucky for us, one of our dietetic interns, Courtney, recently shared a healthy recipe sure to be a hit at any party.

These turkey meatballs, made with the ground turkey we distribute at our pantries, are a low-fat take on traditional cocktail meatballs. Marinating them in a cranberry sauce with lemon juice, chili sauce, and a smidge of brown sugar gives them so much flavor that you won’t even notice this recipe uses no extra salt! This recipe is great as an appetizer or side dish to share with friends. But you can also use it to make a few meals for yourself – alongside bread and a fresh green salad, it’s the perfect complement.

Courtney and Allison present to North Side pantry participants and volunteers about making turkey meatballs

Courtney and Allison demonstrate how to prepare turkey meatballs to participants and volunteers at the North Side Groceryland

Courtney’s Turkey Meatballs in Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: about 1 hour and 15 minutes

Serves: 10

Cost: less than $7

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

½ cup breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons minced onion

1 (8 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce

¾ cup chili sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.

In a slow cooker or large saucepan over low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 hour before serving.

*On a budget? Try making homemade breadcrumbs!: All you need is some stale bread and a food processor. Just take 4 slices of stale or toasted bread, tear into pieces, and pulse them in a food processor until coarse crumbs are formed. You can then use these fresh breadcrumbs to make the meatballs or any other dish that calls for breadcrumbs.

Nutrition Benefits: Using turkey instead of ground beef gives these meatballs far less fat than traditional cocktail meatballs. Turkey is also a great choice for a lean protein. Moreover, cranberry sauce is a flavorful and healthier alternative to jelly, which is often used in meatball sauces.

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