I’ve been super into meatballs lately. Now that’s a something I never thought I’d type. But it’s true. Meatballs are easy, flavorful, filling, and you can serve them in more ways than just with pasta and red sauce. These Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs boast sautéed spinach to help you pack in more greens and bits of crumbled feta for extra richness and a little salty kick.
The recipe below is just for the meatballs themselves, since there are several different ways you can serve them. They are pictured above with the classic pasta and red sauce, plus some zucchini that I quickly sautéed in the same skillet after the meatballs were finished cooking.
Other Ways to Serve Your Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs
You can add them to salads, serve them over a bed of rice with roasted vegetables (like I did with my Beef Kofta Meatballs), make a meatballs sub (with red sauce and mozzarella on a roll), or just change up the sauce to pesto or an alfredo sauce.
Since there are so many ways to serve these Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs, they are perfect for meal prepping. They hold up excellently in the refrigerator, and will also easily withstand freezing and thawing.
Can I Make These Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs?
The short answer is yes, but they will not be the same texture. The breadcrumbs and eggs keep the meatballs soft and moist, as well as acting like a glue to hold the meatballs together. If you leave out the breadcrumbs, you’ll also need to leave out the egg, or else the mixture will be too wet to shape. Because the meatballs will be more delicate, they may not hold up to cooking in a skillet, so I suggest baking them on a cookie sheet in a 375ºF oven for about 20 minutes. The resulting meatballs will be more like the texture of a hamburger, and will not have a nice browned exterior, but are still quite tasty. Also keep in mind that because you are using fewer ingredients, you may not get as many meatballs.
Can I Bake the Meatballs?
Yes, you can bake the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 400ºF oven for about 20 minutes. Baking time can vary depending on the size of your meatballs, so make sure to break one of your larger meatballs open to make sure they have baked through. Another thing to note is that when meatballs are baked instead of cooked in a skillet they will not get the same type of browning action on the surface.
Can I Use Frozen Spinach in my Turkey Meatballs?
Yes. If using frozen spinach, make sure to get frozen “chopped” spinach so that you don’t have any large or long stringy pieces of spinach. Let the spinach fully thaw, then squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible before adding it to the meatball mixture.
The zucchini shown on the plate in these photos was just quickly sautéed in the skillet after cooking the meatballs, so it picked up some of the brown bits from the meatballs.
Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs
- 4 oz. fresh spinach ($1.67)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.32)
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey (93% lean) ($4.49)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs ($0.24)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- Freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1 large egg ($0.22)
- 2 oz. feta, crumbled ($0.83)
- Roughly Chop the spinach. Heat a large skillet over medium, then add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add the chopped spinach and a pinch of salt. Sauté the spinach until it has fully wilted, then remove it from the heat.
- While the spinach is sautéing, stir together the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, freshly cracked pepper (5 or 6 cranks of a pepper mill), and salt in a large bowl. Lightly whisk the egg, then add the egg, ground turkey, sautéed spinach, and crumbled feta to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Use your hands to combine these ingredients until evenly mixed.
- Shape the meat mixture into balls, about one heaping tablespoon each. You should get approximately 24 meatballs.
- Wipe out the skillet used for the spinach, add another tablespoon of oil, and heat the skillet once again over medium. Once hot, swirl the oil in the skillet to make sure the surface is coated, then add half of the meatballs. Cook the meatballs for about a minute to a minute and a half on each side, or until the meatballs are well browned and cooked through (about 6-8 minutes total). Remove the cooked meatballs to a clean bowl and repeat with the second batch.
- Serve your cooked meatballs with your favorite sauce, over pasta, rice, or roasted vegetables.
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How to Make Turkey Meatballs – Step by Step Photos
Chop about 4 oz. (1/4 lb.) fresh spinach into smaller pieces. Small pieces will help it incorporate into the ground meat easier. If you want to use frozen spinach, make sure you get chopped frozen spinach, thaw it completely, then squeeze out as much moisture as possible before adding it to the meat mixture.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped spinach and a pinch of salt. Sauté the spinach until it has fully wilted (3-5 minutes). Remove the spinach from the heat.
While the spinach is sautéing, combine 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a large bowl. Mixing these together first helps them incorporate a little more evenly into the meat.
Briefly whisk an egg, then add it to the bowl with the breadcrumbs, along with 1 lb. lean ground turkey, the sautéed spinach, and 2 oz. crumbled feta. Mix these ingredients together with your hands until they are evenly incorporated.
Shape the meat mixture into meatballs, about one heaping tablespoon each. You should get somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 meatballs.
Give the skillet a quick wipe, then add another tablespoon of olive oil, and heat it once again over medium. Make sure to wait for the skillet to get hot, then add half the meatballs (this is to avoid over crowding, which can prevent browning). Cook the meatballs on each side until they are well browned and cooked through, about 1-1.5 minutes on each side, or about 6-8 minutes total.
Remove the cooked meatballs to a clean plate or bowl, and repeat with the second half of the meatballs. Now they’re ready to eat!
And like I mentioned before, these meatballs are perfect for meal prep! I basically packed this exact plate into my meal prep boxes and have been eating them for lunch all week. :)
Just great. Nice, flavorful protein option. I made mine into 4 patties and used sauteed chard and kale in place of the spinach. Will definitely make again! Might even add a bit of crushed red pepper next time to give it a little kick.
I just made these. SOOO DELICIOUS AND EASY!!! just followed it as is.
Oh my word are these good!! I’m not a fan of ground turkey so I used ground chicken and fresh garlic. After rolling into balls, popped them in refrig for about an hour. They stayed together really well while cooking. Made chicken gravy and served over rice. I could have eaten all of them. Delish!!
It’s delicious! Unfortunately mine fell apart all of them. I’m not sure what I did wrong.
It’s hard to say…next time, I would suggest letting the mixture sit for a few extra minutes so the breadcrumbs have a chance to fully hydrate and help bind everything together. Freezing/refrigerating the meatballs before searing can also help them stay together (but may require additional cooking time). Also, as Beth recommends in two sections above the blog post (CAN I MAKE THESE MEATBALLS WITHOUT BREADCRUMBS?/CAN I BAKE IN THE OVEN?), these meatballs are pretty delicate since ground turkey is such a lean protein, and baking them in the oven can really help! ~ Marion :)
One of my favorites! I can eat them by themselves. My husband likes them with spaghetti sauce.
I double the recipe so we have leftovers.
I baked for 24 min on 400 degrees – turning
Also use frozen spinach (a 10 ounce package drained very well).
Have made these several times and they are always a favorite! I was wondering if I could prep them up until the point of cooking then refrigerate until I’m ready to cook them? For example, if I can prep them in the morning then refrigerate until cooking them (either in a pan or oven) that evening.
Hi, Emily! As Beth mentions in the blog post (just below the video), “They hold up excellently in the refrigerator, and will also easily withstand freezing and thawing.” You can pre-cook the meatballs and then refrigerate them. Or, you can prepare the meatballs ahead and store them in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to cook them. If storing them uncooked in the fridge, the meatballs (or any sort of raw poultry product) should be kept in an air-tight container and cooked (or frozen) within 1-2 days. ~Marion :)
This is one of our family’s favorites. I bake the meatballs on a wire rack for ~20 min at 350 until internal temp hits 170. They aren’t as crispy on the outside but takes less attention and I can double or triple the recipe. Love them.