Packed with veggies, herbs and fragrant spices, these turkey zucchini meatballs are exceptionally flavorful, light and healthy. I like to serve these scrumptious turkey meatballs as an appetizer, with lemony yogurt sauce for dipping.
There's no bread, flour or milk in this recipe. It's amazing they hold together as well as they do. Ottolenghi is a true genius. I say that to myself every time I make these amazing turkey zucchini meatballs.
Do you have any foods that make you swoon? Maybe for you it's chocolatey desserts or macaroni and cheese? Meatballs do it for me! Whether they're stuffed or glazed, Swedish or Asian or on spaghetti with tomato sauce, I find them utterly irresistible. I don't make meatballs very often because I end up eating waaaayyy too many.
The recipe comes from Ottolenghi's cookbook Jerusalem. If you have the book, you'll notice that Ottolenghi calls them burgers. I call them meatballs. They don't look quite like either one. They're small - two or three bites apiece. They're served with a lemony yogurt dip and no bun.
I like rolling them in an oblong shape because it makes them more like finger food that you can hold and dip. In fact I often serve them as an appetizers, with lemony yogurt sauce for dipping.
HOW TO MAKE TURKEY ZUCCHINI MEATBALLS
Considering that these turkey zucchini meatballs are made without bread crumbs, it's surprising how well they hold together and how nicely they brown up. However, rolling them does require a little technique. The mixture is pretty wet so you're in for some serious frustration if you try to "roll" them like you normally do with meatballs. Here are some tips:
- Scoop up about 2 ½ tablespoons of the mixture and toss it from hand to hand, giving little squeezes to form it into an oblong shape.
- Three or four tosses and squeezes per meatball should do it.
- Set each formed meatball onto a plate.
- Heat oil in a skillet. When it's hot, tip the plate towards the pan and use a spatula or a knife to gently slide a few meatballs into the pan.
- Cook the meatballs in batches, turning them until they're brown on all sides. They brown up quickly.
- Set the browned meatballs on a parchment-lined baking pan.
- Finish cooking them in a 425º oven for 6-7 minutes.
I love to serve these with lemony yogurt sauce on the side. This yogurt-based dip features sumac, a beautiful deep red spice with a lemony flavor that's very popular in Middle Eastern cooking.
When you pass by the fridge looking for a quick tasty snack, these are hard to resist. They even taste great cold.
Here's the Turkey Zucchini Meatballs recipe. If you try this, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Ottolenghi's Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Lemony Yogurt Sauce
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 6-8 1x
Healthy, delicious, gluten-free turkey meatballs that work well as a main dish or as an appetizer, with lemon dipping sauce.
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Yotam Ottolenghi in his cookbook Jerusalem
- For The Yogurt Sauce
- ½ cup sour cream *
- ⅔ cup low-fat plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- For The Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey (white or dark meat)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 6 scallions, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil for sautéing
- Make the Yogurt Sauce Combine all ingredients. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 days, until needed.
- Make The Meatballs Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine turkey, zucchini, scallions, egg, mint, cilantro, garlic and spices. Using your hands, shape the meatballs (about 2 ½ tablespoons per ball) by gently squeezing them and tossing them from hand to hand. Set formed meatballs on a large plate. (makes about 18)
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Slide half the meatballs into the pan and brown them on all sides, about 4 minutes. Carefully transfer them to the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the meatballs, adding extra oil to the pan, if needed. Slide the tray into the center of the oven and cook for 6-7 minutes, until cooked through. Serve with lemony yogurt sauce.
* For a lower fat sauce you can swap out the sour cream for low fat yogurt. The taste is a bit more tart but still delicious.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Appetizer or Main Course
- Method: oven baked
- Cuisine: Israeli
Keywords: meatballs, gluten-free meatballs, ottolenghi meatballs
excellent. made with chicken breasts.
Great taste but I would deff squeeze out the water for the zucchini next time! Maybe my zucchini was too large but when I was pan-frying them it was hard to get them to brown because of the excess water coming out. Other than that it was delicious.
Hi Isabella - Squeezing out the water is a great idea. I haven't had that problem but I can see where it could happen with a particularly large juicy zucchini. I'm glad that you enjoyed the meatballs, despite the watery zucchini. Thanks for circling back to leave a rating and comment.
I'm back to the market for the ground turkey. Can't wait to try this one!
Great - I hope you enjoy!
DELICIOUS just as is!! Tender, light meatballs, interesting sauce. Instead of four minutes to brown, it probably took me six. I also took others advice and squeezed liquid out of the grated zucchini. I think that was a worthwhile step because the raw mixture is quite loose and wet as it is. This goes into rotation and I’ll make enough to freeze too. As someone who doesn’t eat dairy or flour, this is a great meatball recipe to have in the lineup.