Mediterranean Turkey Meatball Ragu
These homemade Mediterranean turkey meatballs with a rich, insanely delicious ragu that they simmer in are so easy with Mesa de Vida Mediterranean cooking and seasoning sauce! I love to use oats as the binder for my meatballs to achieve a tender meatball that isn't weighed down with heavy breadcrumbs. (Also, they're gluten-free.) To keep this recipe Paleo and Whole30 friendly substitute ground almond flour for the oats (and of course, leave out the cheese). Here are a couple of ways to switch it up depending on what ingredients you have on hand: 1) Use any ground meat of your choice to make the meatballs. 2) If you like your sauce thinner, simply add a bit more water. 3) Instead of meatballs, you can use whole cuts of meat (lamb stew meat, lamb shanks, cubed beef roast, bone-in chicken thighs, cubed chicken meat, etc.) and just proceed with the recipe after browning the meat in the healthy oil/fat of your choice. Cover and braise until the meat is fall-apart tender, or even transfer into the slow cooker on low! This transforms this recipe into a gorgeous Mediterranean braised meat recipe that is wonderful served with polenta, mashed potatoes, chickpeas, or any vegetables on the side. Enjoy!
For the Meditteranean turkey meatballs
- 2 Tb Mesa de Vida Mediterranean cooking and seasoning sauce This sauce has a little bit of a kick! Probably a little too spicy for little children, or anyone that doesn't stand any spiciness. Want to make this, but want it very mild? Swap in our North African or Smoky Latin cooking and seasoning sauce to make your own global fusion version of this with no spice!
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup oats quick oats preferably. If you have whole oats just blitz them in the food processor for a few seconds to break them down a bit
- 2-3 pinches Kosher/sea salt, or to taste
- 2 Tb Optional: shredded parmesan or crumbled feta cheese
- 2 Tb healthy oil/fat of your choice *I personally love to use ghee for this recipe, but olive oil or avocado oil also works well.
For the Mediterranean ragu
- remaining part of the jar Mesa de Vida Mediterranean cooking and seasoning sauce About 3/4 of a cup
- 2-3 pinches Kosher/sea salt, or to taste
- 15 oz canned crushed tomatoes tomato puree works as well
- 1 cup water
- Fresh basil and shredded parmesan or crumbled feta cheese for topping, optional
To make the Mediterranean turkey meatballs:
Place in a large bowl: 2 Tb of Mesa de Vida Mediterranean cooking and seasoning sauce, ground turkey, egg, oats, salt, and cheese (if using). Using a fork, gently mix the ingredients until just combined. Use your hands to turn the ingredients a couple of times in the bowl to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
Pick up about 1-1/2 Tb of the meat mixture (or use a large melon baller) to form meatballs about the size of a ping pong ball (slightly smaller than a golf ball). Gently pat and roll between your hands into a round shape.
Place the meatballs onto a baking sheet as you make them. Optional: refrigerate the meatballs for 15-30 minutes, or up to overnight. This will make sure the meatballs retain their perfect shape when frying. (Honestly I rarely do this! A few of my meatballs may crumble a bit, but it just cooks up into the sauce and still tastes delicious!)
Heat a large non-stick or seasoned cast-iron skillet, or enameled cast-iron skillet, or Dutch Oven over medium heat. When hot add oil, swirl to coat. Working in batches so you don't crowd the pan, add the meatballs to the pan and brown on at least two sides until golden brown. (*Tip: When you add the meatballs to the pan, or flip them, leave them alone until a crust forms, and the meatball easily releases from the pan to turn them.) Remove the browned meatballs back to the baking sheet after cooking (they will not be fully cooked) and proceed with the remaining meatballs.
To make the Mediterranean ragu:
After all of the meatballs (or pieces of meat of your choice) are browned and the skillet is empty, spoon off any extra fat, leaving 2 Tb of fat in the pan.
Add the remaining jar of your Mesa de Vida Mediterranean cooking and seasoning sauce, and salt to taste. Stir and cook for about 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the canned crushed tomatoes, and water to the pan. (I like to add the water to the Mesa de Vida jar and give it a good shake to get out all of the thick, rich cooking sauce.)
Gently add the meatballs back into the pan, and spoon a bit of sauce over each meatball to submerge them. (At this point add a bit more water if you want a thinner sauce, or if you're using larger cuts of roast that need to braise a long time to get tender.)
Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Add fresh basil and/or cheese to taste, serve and enjoy!