Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs with Pecorino and Basil


This morning was a particularly difficult one for my boys. I think they all went to bed thinking they would have yet another 2 hour delay or snow day to wake up to. Somehow our town managed to get the roads cleaned up and my two oldest had regular start times. Ugh, they groaned. It’s just the worst. To make things even more unjust for the two of them, my 5 year old had a 1 1/2 hour delay. So unfair, they cried!

As they continued to grumble and have a very lazy morning, I reflected on how happy I was to be there with them. If I were still at work, this morning would have been a mad scramble to make sure someone was available to stay with my little guy until school started. Instead of empathizing with the other two, I’d have been rushing them up and out the door without a moment to hear their complaints.

These aren’t real problems. We know. But, isn’t it nice to be able to bitch and moan a little bit and have someone listen empathetically? I like to do it once in a while. Why shouldn’t the kids? It’s funny because once you let them go on, you never quite know where it will lead and ultimately may end up finding out a little bit more. This is especially true for my oldest. He’s the one who gives me one word answers to almost every question I ask him. Usually the word is “fine” or “great”. It’s nice to be here in those moments where he is interested in sharing more.

I’m not sure what all of this has to do with turkey meatballs but hey, it’s what’s happening around here today in case you were interested. Not interested? No problem! Just go ahead and skip right down to the recipe. That is always an option here.

This recipe a keeper! As you know, I’ve been making some healthier choices lately. More ground turkey vs ground beef is one of them. I often sauté garlic and onion before mixing them in with ground turkey. I wouldn’t necessarily do so with ground beef since the flavor of the meat is much stronger and can hold up to the punch of those raw vegetables. However, sautéing them releases the sweetness and mellows the flavors a bit.

Adding tomato paste to sautéed onions and garlic (more often the traditional mirepoix of carrots, celery and onion) is a classic french cooking technique called pinçage. The paste will brown slightly and add a tremendous layer of depth. I believe it may be the secret ingredient, folks! Of course, the fresh grated cheese and basil don’t hurt either. Turkey Meatballs with Pecorino and Basil

Turkey Meatballs with Pecorino and Basil
Recipe type: Weight Watchers - 5pts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp red cooking wine
  • cooking spray
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp grated pecorino cheese
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • pinch of sugar
  1. Heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium and add olive oil. Sauté shallot and garlic until softened and beginning to caramelize, about 3-4 minutes, reducing heat, if needed to avoid browning to quickly. Add tomato paste and stir to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue sautéing until paste deepens in color, about 1 minute. Add red cooking wine to pan and cook until alcohol is burned off and liquid is reduced by ½. Set mixture aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, add ground turkey, basil, pecorino cheese kosher salt (I used about ½ tsp) and black pepper. Stir in shallot and garlic mixture until well-distributed. Form mixture into 12 even meatballs.
  3. Wipe out non-stick sauté pan, heat on medium and coat with cooking spray. Add meatballs and sauté, tossing often to retain round shape, until browned on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Add tomato sauce and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmering. Simmer for about 12-15 minutes, until turkey meatballs are cooked through and sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or sugar if needed.




1 Comment

  • Why your story has everything to do with meatballs! The recipe is a lovely example of how you are care for family, snow delay or not AND how you care for the rest of us by sharing your recipes. Okay, and by sharing your home life too. It’s nice to see others out there, just like us!

    Great and fun post. Even if I read it in the fall.

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