Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

5 Feb

I am always looking for an excuse to try a new recipe. Someone’s birthday? I gladly offer to whip up a cake. Work potluck? I’m the first one signed up for a new dip or salad recipe. Traveling? I make it part of my pre-trip packing to make a homemade Lara bar or another healthy treat.

Super Bowl “party” with my sick hubby and me? Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs it is! (along with game day guacamole, black bean and corn salsa, wings, and creamy broccoli dip).


I think I have had sweet and sour meatballs once in my life. And it was a very long time ago. Why I decided I needed to find a recipe for them? I have no idea. But I’m glad I did.

While searching for a recipe, I turned to the trusty America’s Test Kitchen. Their recipe called for the slow cooker.  My slow cooker was occupied with sticky chicken wings and I definitely don’t have the counter space for a second slow cooker. ATK’s recipe also called for ground beef. I wanted something a bit healthier so I made my own turkey meatballs. With a  few modifications, these sweet and sour meatballs were a healthy hit for our wild “party”.

We had these meatballs as a meal. You could easily make the meatballs smaller and serve with toothpicks as a finger food. Adjust the cooking time due to the smaller meatball size.

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

Makes 22-24 meatballs

Sauce adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution

For the meatballs:

1.25 pounds lean ground turkey

1/2 cup minced onion

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if you do not like spicy food)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup onion, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit if you do not like spicy food)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

6 ounces (1/2 cup) apricot jam or preserves

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 scallions, sliced thin

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup onion, bread crumbs, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Add the ground turkey. Using your hands mix the turkey until all ingredients are well incorporated. Roll turkey into 2-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.

2. While the meatballs are in the oven, microwave the other 1/2 cup of onion, oil, red pepper flakes and garlic clove, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir tomato sauce, apricot jam, broth, Worcestershire, and mustard into sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring ocassionally.  Reduce to a simmer over medium low heat and simmer for 20 minutes while meatballs cook. Stir in scallions before serving.

4. When the meatballs are finished, add to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over rice.


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