Turkey, Habanero and Sun-Dried-Tomato Meatballs


Today, it’s time to talk meatballs. Sweet, savory, tangy, spicy – whatever you’re craving, you can pretty much go in any direction and come out with a very flavorful bite. For this recipe, I decided to make a spicy meatball, and incorporate the spicy mustard habanero pepper with earthy sun-dried tomatoes and mild ground turkey. I knew the amped up flavor profile with the turkey would work well together, and they turned out just as I hoped. The meatballs were tender and juicy, and they had a nice low heat at the finish. The tangy sauce had a little heat of its own as well so overall, this turned out to be a hit. Evidence of that was the lack of portion control I had at dinner that night! There were no survivors.


4 cups tomato puree
3 cloves of garlic
1 pound ground turkey
1 spicy mustard habanero pepper, seeded and minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


1) Place 1 clove of garlic, the sun-dried tomatoes, the habanero pepper and a dash of salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped and incorporated.

2) Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and milk. Using lightly moistened hands, roll the mixture into 1-inch round meatballs.

3) Add the remaining clove of garlic, tomato puree, oregano, red pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper to the food processor and pulse the ingredients together until smooth.

4) In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over moderate heat, turning, until golden but not quite cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.

5) Add the tomato puree to the pan, cover and simmer until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 – 7 minutes.

6) To serve, transfer the meatballs to a bowl, and spoon the sauce on top. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

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