Tender juicy meatballs simmered with colorful peppers and pineapple in a quick-to-fix sweet and sour sauce. Healthy, satisfying, and easy to double for a larger crowd.
Sometimes I just feel like eating meatballs. And oven-baked meatballs? I just LOVE how they have two distinct textures, tender and juicy on the inside with just the right amount of salty-crispy goodness on the outside. Who’s with me on that?
As the weather gets colder (and colder and colder) Mr. EN and I, like most Michiganders, start craving more hearty, somewhat traditional, comfort foods. Still, if we don’t watch it, those extra little bits of “comfort” end up on our waistlines come spring. So, it’s up to me – while staying within the general category of “comfort food” – to keep things as healthy as possible. This Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatball Dinner does all that and more.
This Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatball Dinner is….
- Veggie filled because of the pineapple, peppers and onion
- Easy to make
- Gluten free (or not depending on what kind of breadcrumbs and soy sauce you use)
- Easy to double. Make a big batch of meatballs and freeze them for another meal.
What kind of ground turkey? You need a little fat in your turkey so don’t buy ground turkey breast. It’s too lean. Instead, opt for 96% lean instead. That will give you just enough fat to make the meatballs tender without giving you uneeded fat and calories. You can also make this recipe with ground chicken, pork, beef or lamb. Use what you have and like.
Does the pan matter? Yes. Use a broiler pan if you have one or use a sheet pan with a lip – about 1 inch. If you use a flat cookie sheet the meatballs may drip and those drippings will burn on the bottom of your oven. Not nice. If you use a deeper pan, such as a 9X13 cake pan, or something with high sides the meatballs will steam which prevents them from getting a little crispy on the outside. Trust me – a little crispy is a good thing.
Mix up the spices if you want. Sweet and sour is just a jumping off point. If you don’t like those flavors you could make your meatballs curry-style, Italian, or Mexican. Mix and match the spices and veggies to your liking.
Are you feeling like a little comfort food that is healthy and satisfying? Try this Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatball Dinner for Two tonight.
Peace, love and good eats, from our Empty Nest to yours.
Mr. ENs take on this recipe: Anything with meatballs scores an immediate 10 with me. These were very good.
Trending in the Empty Nest Kitchen: Dorot brand frozen crushed ginger (in cubes!); purchased at a Target store.
Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatball Dinner for Two
Yield 2 large servings
Tender juicy meatballs simmered with colorful peppers and pineapple in a quick-to-fix sweet and sour sauce. Healthy and satisfying.
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 cup canned pineapple chunks packed in their own juice; reserve the juice
- ¾ pound lean ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs (I used gluten free)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (I used gluten free)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup peppers, any color, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 large onion, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped green onion
- optional - 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
- ¾ cup pineapple juice (use the juice from the can)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (plus more if needed)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons corn starch
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Lightly spray a jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet (with sides) with non-stick cooking spray.
- Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice.
- In a medium size bowl combine the ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, ginger or ginger powder, soy sauce, kosher salt, dried parsley, fresh garlic or garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
- Using your hands, roll the turkey/breadcrumb mixture into small, ping-pong size or smaller meatballs (about 12 total). Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. flipping once during cooking, until cooked through.
- While the meatballs bake, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet. Saute the peppers and onions in oil until just tender.
- In a small bowl whisk together the ¾ cup pineapple juice, water, brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, corn starch and red pepper flakes until smooth. Pour over the cooked peppers and onions and heat over medium heat until sauce thickens and is hot and bubbly. Carefully fold in the cooked meatballs and canned pineapple, stir, and heat until hot.
- Taste an add more soy sauce if desired. Garnish with chopped green onions and served over hot cooked rice.
- If desired, double the meatball portion of this recipe and freeze the extras for another meal.
- Make this recipe gluten free by using gluten free soy sauce and gluten free Panko breadcrumbs