Turkey Meatballs in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is an easy and delicious dinner that’s great for weeknights or when you have company. Flavorful, moist, perfectly baked meatballs are nestled in a smooth and creamy roasted red pepper sauce. Serve them right out of the skillet or on top of pasta!
Meatballs are by far one of my favorite comfort foods. I don’t know if it’s the flavor, texture or the delicious sauce they’re usually nestled in, but I love them.
Generally when I make meatballs I make turkey meatballs. Occasionally I’ll use ground beef like I did with these Greek meatballs with tzatziki sauce. My preference though, is ground turkey or ground chicken.
Don’t let the idea of using ground turkey trick you into thinking the meatballs will be dry. On the contrary turkey meatballs can be moist and full of flavor when you prepare them the right way. These Turkey Meatballs in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce are no exception. They’re perfectly spiced, tender and a dream when they’re covered in the roasted red pepper sauce!
Ingredients Needed to Make Meatballs and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- lean ground turkey
- dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes
- yellow onion
- roasted red peppers
- vegetable broth
- half and half
- flat leaf parsley and basil
- Parmesan cheese
Tips for Making the Best Turkey Meatballs
Ground turkey has a reputation for producing dry, tough, flavorless meatballs, burgers and everything in between. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had some pretty dry turkey meatballs and burgers in the past, so I can see where the reputation came from. Below are all my tips to make sure your meatballs are juicy, light and full of flavor!
- Skip the 99% lean ground turkey. The less fat in your meat the more likely it is to dry out. I’m not saying you need to you super fatty meat to have good meatballs, but a little bit of fat is good and good for flavor too. My preference is to use 93% lean and 7% fat.
- Use flavorful spices and/or fresh herbs. Since turkey on it’s own doesn’t have much flavor, be generous with your herbs, spices and aromatics.
- Combine all of the other meatball ingredients in a bowl before adding in the ground turkey. This will prevent you from overworking the meat.
- Use your hands to mix the meat in with the other ingredients and only mix until just combined. Over mixing is what makes meatballs tough.
- Use a cookie scoop or something similar to measure out the meat mixture. Having meatballs that are all the same size will ensure that they cook evenly and you don’t wind up with some that are dried out.
- Don’t over cook or over bake the meatballs. The internal temperature should be 165° F. for turkey.
How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
To make the roasted red pepper sauce, start by sautéing the onions in a skillet with some olive oil. When the onions are soft add in the garlic and chopped roasted red peppers. Sauté everything for another couple minutes and the pour everything into a food processor or blender. Blend the mixture until it’s smooth. If you find that it’s really thick, add in a tablespoon or so vegetable broth to thin it out.
Once the sauce is smooth pour it back into the skillet and stir in the vegetable broth, half and half, parsley and basil until they’re incorporated. The final step is to add the baked turkey meatballs into the skillet and stir them into the sauce. Top everything with shredded Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
How to Serve Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Over pasta. I like them with fettuccine, egg noodles or orzo.
- On top of rice or quinoa.
- In a toasted sub roll for a tasty meatball sandwich.
- Serve them out of the skillet with these Parmesan Pesto Roasted Potatoes on the side.
More Meatball Recipes
- Asian turkey meatballs bowls
- Skillet meatballs in marinara sauce
- Turkey meatballs in a creamy red curry sauce
- Garlic Parmesan turkey meatballs
- Skillet lemon rosemary turkey meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup panko, gluten-free if needed
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated (1/2 teaspoon)
- 16 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup half and half or cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400° F. And line a sheet pan with foil. Spray it with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix together with your hands being careful not to overmix. Scoop out heaping tablespoon sized amounts of the meat mixture and roll them into balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until they’re cooked through.
- While the meatballs bake, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for a minute. Add in the roasted red peppers, garlic, and spices and season with salt and pepper. Sauté another 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are softened.
- Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If needed add a little bit of broth to the mixture.
- Pour the puréed pepper mix back into the skillet along with the broth and stir together. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Pour in the half and half (or cream) and stir until combined.
- Stir in the chopped parsley and basil and taste for seasoning. Stir the baked meatballs into the sauce and cook until warmed through, about a minute or two. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and extra parsley and basil. Serve over pasta if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 425mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 44g