This wonderful turkey corn meatballs recipe is perfect for summer. Tender meatballs filled with corn, scallions, parsley, garlic and spices. On the side is a sweet, tangy, mildly spicy roasted red pepper sauce for dipping.
This turkey corn meatballs recipe comes from chef Yotam Ottolenghi, from his first cookbook, entitled Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. published in 2008. Still one of my favorites, by the way. I made very minor tweaks to the recipe. I doubled the garlic in the meatballs and slightly increased the amount of scallions; offered a sweet chili sauce substitute for the red pepper dip; and added the option of an alternate dipping sauce that's quick and easy to throw together.
I love turkey meatballs. If you follow me, you've seen the growing collection of turkey meatball recipes on this site. I also love meatballs made with lamb or beef, but I tend to save those for special occasions, and make turkey meatballs more often because they're lighter and healthier.
You’ll find these Ottolenghi turkey meatballs are moist and flavorful enough that you’ll be eating them straight from the pan, and not missing the dipping sauce. However, I do love the complex flavors in Ottolenghi's roasted red pepper sauce, and it adds good color and pizzazz to this dish.
The roasted red pepper sauce takes a bit of effort so if you're short on time and want a great substitute that's quick and easy, make the lemony yogurt sauce in this recipe. It'll take you about 5 minutes to throw together and it's divine with these turkey meatballs.
It's great to have something with contrasting flavors to dip into, especially if you're serving these turkey corn meatballs as an appetizer.
How to make Ottolenghi's Turkey Corn Meatballs
Here's how to make Ottolenghi's turkey corn meatballs:
- First sear the corn in a dry skillet. Whether you use fresh or frozen corn, a quick toss in a hot dry skillet gives the corn a smokiness that enhances the flavor of the turkey meatballs.
- Next, soak the bread in warm water for a minute; squeeze out most of the water; and crumble the bread into a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients and gently combine them, using your hands.
- With wet hands, form the mixture into ping-pong sized balls.
- Heat up a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) with ¼-inch of vegetable oil and fry the meatballs in small batches, turning them often, to brown them on all sides, transferring them to a foil-lined baking tray as you go, and adding more meatballs to the skillet.
- Put the tray of meatballs into a 400ºF oven for 4-5 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
To make the red pepper sauce, 4 red bell peppers are quartered, seeded, roasted, peeled, and pureed with cilantro, garlic, mild chili pepper, sweet chili sauce, and vinegar.
How to Serve Turkey Corn Meatballs
These turkey meatballs make a great summer supper. All you need is a big green salad or a tricolore salad on the side to complete the meal. I also love serving these as an appetizer. Heap them into a shallow serving dish with a small bowl of dip in the center and toothpicks on the side, and let people help themselves.
"Now you see them, now you don't," is what Yotam Ottolenghi says about his Turkey Corn Meatballs, explaining that as soon as he brought them into his shop, they disappeared, as if by magic. I have experienced the same magical disappearance of these meatballs whenever I've served them.
Other delicious turkey meatballs recipes:
- Turkey Falafel Meatballs with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs
- Ottolenghi's Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Lemony Yogurt Sauce
- Italian Style Turkey Meatballs (gluten free and dairy free)
Here's the Turkey Corn Meatballs Recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you thinkPrint
Ottolenghi's Turkey Corn Meatballs Recipe
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 24-26 Meatballs 1x
These tender, light and flavorful turkey meatballs are stuffed with corn, scallions and fresh herbs and are perfect for summer. Serve them for dinner with a salad, or as an appetizer with red pepper dipping sauce on the side.
For The Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: (see notes below for an alternate, quick and easy sauce)
- 4 red bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ounce cilantro leaves and stems (about ⅓ of a large bunch)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small mild chili (red or green)
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (see notes for substitutions)
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
For The Meatballs
- ⅔ cup / 100g corn kernels (fresh or frozen)*
- 3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
- 1 pound / 500g of ground turkey (white or dark meat)
- 1 large egg
- 4-6 scallions, finely chopped (½ cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
- Vegetable oil for pan-frying
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF / 200ºC. To make the red pepper sauce, quarter the peppers and remove the seeds and white pith. Put them in a baking pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt. Roast them for 35 minutes, until tender. Let them cool for 10 minutes or so and then peel off the skin that is loose and easiest to pull off. It's not necessary to get it all.
- Put the roasted peppers in a blender or food processor along with any accumulated cooking juices. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients: the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt (1 teaspoon), cilantro, garlic, chili, chili sauce (2 tablespoons), and vinegar (2 tablespoons). Process until smooth. Taste and correct seasoning with added salt, if necessary. Set sauce aside while you make the meatballs. Note: the sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- To make the meatballs, place a heavy skillet (cast iron is perfect) over high heat. When hot, add the corn kernels and sauté, tossing constantly, for 2-3 minutes, until they're toasted and browned in spots. Transfer them to a bowl to cool. Wipe out the pan.
- Soak the bread in cold water for a minute or so, then squeeze to get most of the water out, and crumble the bread into a large mixing bowl. Add the turkey, egg, scallions, parsley, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic and mix well, using your hands.
- With wet hands, shape the mixture into ping-pong-ball sized balls and set them on a plate. In the same skillet used for the corn, heat ¼ inch of oil over medium-high heat until hot, and pan-fry the meatballs in batches, turning them frequently until they're golden brown on all sides (1-2 minutes per batch). Set the meatballs on a foil-lined baking pan, as you go. Transfer the baking pan to the oven and continue to cook the meatballs for 4-5 minutes longer (at 400F), until they're cooked through. Serve them hot or warm, with sauce on the side.
Corn: If using fresh corn, 2 ears of corn on the cob will yield more than enough corn kernels for this recipe.
Sweet chili sauce substitute: 1 ½ tablespoons of honey or maple syrup + 1 teaspoon of sriracha.
A quick easy sauce alternative: If you don't have time to make the roasted pepper sauce, make the Lemony Yogurt Sauce sauce from this recipe. It will take you all of 5 minutes to throw together and it's utterly divine with these meatballs!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Appetizer or Dinner
- Method: Pan Fry
- Cuisine: Israeli
Keywords: healthy turkey meatballs made with corn scallions and herbs
I made these with frozen corn and I used your lemon aioli from the other Ottolenghi meatball recipe on your site - so good! I served them as an appetizer and everyone loved them!
Hey Liz - I'm so glad the recipe was enjoyed by all! Thank you for coming back to leave a rating and comment. It's great to hear all the details and what worked for you!