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Baked Turkey Meatballs with Whole Grain Pasta and Green Peas Recipe

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aked Turkey Meatballs with Whole Grain Pasta and Green Peas recipe

This hearty, balanced meal combines the lean protein of turkey, the complex carbohydrates of whole grain pasta, and the vibrant goodness of peas to create a dinner that’s not only delicious but also nutritious. The recipe is rooted in classic Italian cuisine, with a focus on hearty, comforting flavors and textures.

Turkey meatballs are a leaner alternative to traditional beef meatballs, reducing saturated fat while retaining the protein content. Whole grain pasta provides a source of complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly, keeping you feeling satisfied longer. It’s also rich in dietary fiber, which can support digestive health. Peas are a good source of vitamin K, fiber, and several B vitamins. They are also rich in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as a good amount of fiber, making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

high-angle shot of a white plate on a rustic wooden table

In this guide, you’ll learn how to prepare this delectable dinner from scratch, offering a wholesome meal that is sure to satisfy your tastebuds and keep you energized throughout the night. Enjoy the process of cooking this dish as much as you will enjoy consuming it!

Baked Turkey Meatballs with Whole Grain Pasta and Green Peas Recipe Guide

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 500 calories 15g fat

Ingredients

For the Turkey Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the Whole Grain Pasta:

  • 8 oz whole grain pasta of your choice (spaghetti, penne, fusilli, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

For the Side of Peas:

  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Sauce:

  • 1 jar (24 oz) of your favorite marinara sauce

Additional Ingredients:

  • Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
  • Freshly chopped parsley or basil for garnish

Instructions

For the Turkey Meatballs:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, egg, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

For the Whole Grain Pasta:

  1. Fill a large pot with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the whole grain pasta. Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

For the Side of Peas:

  1. If you're using frozen peas, no preparation is needed before cooking. If you're using fresh peas, you'll need to shell them before cooking.

Cooking Procedure For the Turkey Meatballs:

  1. Using your hands, shape the turkey mixture into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they're cooked through and no longer pink in the center.

For the Whole Grain Pasta:

  1. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is al dente, which usually takes about 8-10 minutes, but the exact time will depend on the brand of pasta you're using. Always check the package for the recommended cooking time.
  2. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander.

For the Side of Peas:

  1. While the pasta is cooking, you can cook the peas. Place them in a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover the peas.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let the peas simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Once the peas are cooked, drain them and set them aside.

Assembling the Dish

  1. Divide the cooked whole grain pasta evenly among your serving plates.
  2. Place an equal number of baked turkey meatballs on top of the pasta on each plate.
  3. Spoon your preferred sauce over the pasta and meatballs, if desired. The heat from the pasta and meatballs will warm the sauce. If you like, you can also heat the sauce separately and then add it to the dish.
  4. Serve the cooked peas on the side of each plate.
  5. Garnish the dish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  6. Serve immediately while it's still warm. Enjoy your wholesome and delicious dinner!

Serving Suggestions

  1. Fresh Herbs: Garnish the dish with fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, or parsley to add a pop of color and fresh flavor.
  2. Parmesan Cheese: A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top of the meatballs and pasta can add a delicious, creamy component that contrasts well with the savory meatballs.
  3. Bread: Serve this dish with a side of garlic bread or a crusty baguette. It’s perfect for soaking up any leftover sauce!
  4. Salad: A light salad with a vinaigrette dressing could provide a refreshing counterpoint to the hearty meatballs and pasta.
  5. Wine: If you enjoy wine with dinner, a light red like Pinot Noir or a full-bodied white like Chardonnay could pair well with this meal.

Remember, the best way to serve this dish is to make sure everything is warm. It’s also typically best served immediately after cooking to ensure maximum flavor and texture.

Storage and Reheating

Storing and reheating this dish properly can ensure that it retains its flavor and texture, making leftovers just as enjoyable as when it was freshly cooked.

Storage:

  1. Allow the dish to cool completely before storing. Storing while it’s still hot can result in excess moisture from condensation, which can affect the texture and flavor.
  2. Separate the components. It’s best to store the turkey meatballs, pasta, and peas separately to prevent them from becoming soggy.
  3. Use airtight containers. Place each component in an airtight container or wrap tightly in aluminum foil. This will prevent the food from absorbing odors from other items in the refrigerator.
  4. Refrigerate promptly. The dish should be stored in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Reheating:

  1. Use the microwave or oven. The turkey meatballs and pasta can be reheated in the microwave or in an oven set to 350°F (175°C) until heated through. The peas can be reheated in the microwave.
  2. Be mindful of timing. Reheat each component separately to ensure that everything warms evenly. For instance, the meatballs might take longer to reheat than the peas.
  3. Add a splash of water. If the pasta seems dry, add a small splash of water before reheating to help it regain some moisture.
  4. Serve hot. Once everything is hot, reassemble the dish and serve immediately.

Enjoying leftovers can be just as delicious as the freshly cooked meal if you store and reheat your dish properly!

Recipe Variations

The versatility of this dish allows for numerous ingredient swaps or additions that can cater to different dietary needs or preferences. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Swap the Protein: You can replace the turkey with lean ground chicken or beef, or for a vegetarian alternative, use lentils or a plant-based meat substitute.
  2. Gluten-Free: Replace the whole grain pasta with a gluten-free pasta of your choice.
  3. Vegetable Variety: Peas are not the only side vegetable that pairs well with this dish. Try sautéed spinach, steamed broccoli, or grilled zucchini for a change.
  4. Cheese Please: For a cheesy twist, add a sprinkle of parmesan or mozzarella cheese on top of the meatballs before serving.
  5. Spice it Up: If you prefer spicy food, add some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the meatball mixture.

Remember, the best part about cooking at home is the ability to customize your meals to your liking!

Nutritional Information

Please note that nutritional values can vary based on exact ingredients used. The below is an estimate:

Per serving:

  • Calories: 500 kcal
  • Protein: 35 g
  • Carbohydrates: 55 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Sodium: 400 mg
  • Sugar: 7 g

This dish provides a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats, making it a wholesome choice for dinner. The turkey is a lean source of protein, while the whole grain pasta provides complex carbs for sustained energy. The peas contribute additional fiber and a range of vitamins.

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