Meatballs. Quintessential part of my sport-playing childhood, a la pasta parties the night before big games/meets to “carbo-load.” While I had plenty of spaghetti and meatballs at these events, I don’t think it was something that my mom made often. So when I decided to try my hand at making homemade meatballs, I didn’t have a go-to recipe. I just Googled a bunch of recipes, and decided on a slow-cooker, turkey version, to get more use out of my slow cooker. I also found an interesting quinoa version, which I want to try out next time.
This recipe was great, tasty, and filling. The meatballs were moist and flavorful, which I’m sure is due to the hours of slow cooking in the tomato sauce. However, there is quite a bit of prep work to this recipe, which almost makes me inclined to just cook the meatballs in the oven or on the stove-top next time, so that I can at least eat the results of my work sooner. Another good way could be to make these (when you’re not hungry) the day before you want to cook/eat them, and then make them in the slow cooker when you’re out and about doing errands.
I want to make more use of my slow cooker, but my issue is that I think of things too late in the day to cook them for 4-6 hours, or I want to eat sooner. I’ll have to start planning ahead for slow cooker recipes. Do you have any good suggestions for great slow cooker recipes? Share them in the comments below!
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
These meatballs are moist and flavorful; if you can spare a few hours you’ve got a winner!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 hours in slow cooker
Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: 24 meatballs + 4-5 cups of sauce
- 1 28-oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 16-oz can tomato sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- handful of fresh parsley
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- In the pot of a slow cooker, combine can of diced or crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Toss in a handful of fresh basil leaves and a handful of fresh parsley.
- Smash 4 garlic cloves with the side of a chef’s knife. Toss the garlic into the slow cooker.
- Season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
- To make the meatballs: in a large bowl, combine ground turkey, 1 egg, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, dried basil, dried parsley, and salt and pepper. Gently mix with a spatula until just combined (don’t over mix!).
- With wet hands, form the meatballs, about golf ball size. Keep your hands wet, as this will prevent the meat from sticking, making it easier to roll the meatballs. This will make about 24 meatballs (I made 22).
- As you form the meatballs, lay them out on a baking sheet or large plate.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add about 6 meatballs to the pan, so as not to crowd them, and sear on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Once the meatballs are browned on each side, add them to the slow cooker, making sure to submerge them.
- Turn the slow cooker to high, and cook for 4 hours (or on low for 6 hours).
- Serve with pasta and crusty Italian garlic bread, or as a meatball sub on mini slider buns!