Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

When my eyeballs landed on this recipe in Eating Well magazine, they blinked twice and did a back flip. I’ve got a *thing* for meatballs. Juicy inside with a meatlicious outer crust.. oooh I am powerless to resist them. Here each bite is heightened with citrus and the heavenly scent of rosemary. The sauce, both creamy, light AND decadent is infused with the same, bringing this salt-free dish to unparalleled heights of flavor. I chose my favorite white wine of the moment, Kono Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Its fabulous citrus notes are the perfect partner to the sauce as well as dinner itself. Don’t have fresh herbs? Use dried. Don’t care for rosemary? Try thyme instead. Or do like I did and use both! Served with extra wide egg noodles, drizzled liberally with the sauce, it’s a low sodium dieter’s dream.

Yields 6 servings.

SODIUM CONTENT:  135 mg per serving


1 medium onion, cut into chunks
2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 t. freshly grated lemon zest
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/4 t. dried rosemary, divided
1 lb. lean ground turkey
3/4 c. salt free breadcrumbs
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 c. flour
2 t. olive oil
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 3/4 c. low sodium chicken broth
4 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T. unsalted butter


Place onion, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor. Add 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but NOT mushy.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl and using your (freshly washed) hands, add in the turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and pepper, mixing until combined. Pinch off 2 tablespoons at a time and shape into meatballs, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place flour in a shallow dish and roll the meatballs to lightly coat. Reserve the remaining flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add meatballs and cook, turning once or twice, until browned, about 5 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the pan, place on a plate and set aside.  Add wine to the pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until almost evaporated, about a minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and return the meatballs to the pan along with the remaining rosemary. Cover and cook until the meatballs are no longer pink in the middle, about 10 minutes.

Remove the meatballs to a plate and set aside.  Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high and cook until reduced to 1 cup. Whisk lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the reserved flour in a small bowl, mixing until smooth.  Add the flour mixture to the sauce along with butter. Simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Strain sauce through a fine-mesh sieve.

Serve immediately, garnishing each plate with fresh herbs and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

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9 Responses to Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

  1. YUMMMM! Another delicious-looking and sounding recipe, Christy! I will definitely have to try these one day soon! But guess what is simmering on top of my stove this morning? Ethiopian-style Chickpea Stew! It smells divine and already tastes amazingly good! Thanks for the recipes my friend! cindy

  2. ohhhh! those meatballs look delish! and flouring a meatball? never heard of it but i bet it gives them a nice crispy crust!

  3. Christy says:

    Cindy, that is AWESOME! We ate the chickpea stew last night and I couldn’t get enough. It’s amazing to me how such simple techniques can draw out a world of flavor. I LOVE toasting spices especially, and once you add in the can of tomato sauce and cook it down a couple minutes, it takes on the look of almost a meaty gravy. But completely salt free AND vegetarian. TOO cool!! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did — and definitely try these meatballs. I just ate the first plate of the day for lunch and am already looking forward to having them again tonight! LOL

    Nat – TRY THESE!! I know you are “additive suspicious” but really, you will love them. Such a bright combination of flavors, nothing to throw you off – they’re delicious! PS: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE POSTCARD!!!! Just got it, so happy! 😀

  4. These look wonderful, Dishy!
    I’d like to sample this dish with two forks at once… would that be rude?!

  5. Seriously, every time I watch that show “American’s Next Great Restaurant”, I’m like, “I don’t CARE if the meatball guy is a bad businessman with poor taste and you don’t want to make him your partner. I NEED to be able to buy meatballs every day!” Nevermind that there’s already an all-meatball restaurant here that I’ve only been to once.

    These look woooooonderful, especially with all of that black pepper.

  6. Shambo says:

    Absolutely love meatballs, so I’ll have to try the recipe. My biggest problem with meatballs is that I want to eat enough for three people.

  7. Christy says:

    Inky, as long as you’re not sharing the same plate as me – we are FINE! 😉

    Katie, I too love love love the meatballs & the pepper!

    Shambo – you made me laaaugh. (me too)

  8. Dianne says:

    Let me just say I made these for dinner last night and they were incredible!!! I just wish there was more sauce but I can fix that next time I make them which will be again very soon!! Christy you are a genius….xo!! – Dianne

  9. Christy says:

    HOORAY!! SO glad you loved them Dianne; we did too. I take no credit for the recipe though — it’s thanks to Eating Well – (and what a fitting title indeed!)

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