The Simple Way To Upgrade Turkey Meatballs

The spaghetti and meatballs combination has been delighting pasta lovers, including "Lady and the Tramp," all around the world for centuries (via Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts), but many would argue that it's the meatballs that give the spaghetti the magic. They're traditionally made with ground beef, but this isn't exactly the healthiest option for meatballs, especially if you're trying to lose weight. 

The good news is, you can make delicious meatballs with ground turkey instead of ground beef as a healthier alternative. Healthline claims that 99% fat-free turkey has fewer calories, less fat, and less saturated fat than 95% lean beef per serving.

Although people have been eating whole turkeys for hundreds of years (per FoodPrint), ground turkey is much newer. The meat started to become more available in supermarkets in the United States in the early 1970s, according to Poultry Science, and meatballs are just one of the things you can make with it.   

With the photo staring at you above, you can probably taste the meatballs now. The soft and juicy texture, the warm temperature, and the best part — the flavor, of course! Some of the most common ingredients to add flavor to turkey meatballs include garlic, salt, pepper, onions, and chili powder, but there are a few other ingredients that can give your turkey meatballs an upgrade.

Kale can upgrade your meatballs in the health department

Whether you're a fan of kale or not, you can't deny the benefits of this superfood. This leafy vegetable is rich in vitamins that benefit various parts of the body, including the eyes and brain (via WebMD). It also contains several minerals as well as nutrients that protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.

Raw kale doesn't exactly offer the most flavorful experience when it comes to vegetables. If you've never had kale, it's more on the bitter side. However, the other ingredients in the meatballs will likely mask the bitter flavor if you're not a fan of it. If you are a fan, hey, feel free to add more.

Willing to try adding kale to your next tray of meatballs? Follow the turkey meatball recipe of your choice, adding your typical spices and other ingredients, and include some chopped kale, too. For a serving of four, one cup of kale should suffice. But, again, if you prefer to add more to give the meatballs more of the traditional kale flavor and texture, go for it.

Honey garlic can add massive flavor

When you mix honey with garlic, it's like a match made in heaven. The combo can do wonders for your ground turkey meatballs, which you already know if you've had honey garlic on other foods, like chicken breast or chicken wings. That sweet-and-sour flavor, combined with other spices and the natural salt of the turkey, will give your meatballs a nice flavorful kick and consistency. 

Just like kale, honey and garlic can also add some nutrients to your meatballs. It's widely known that honey provides a number of benefits for the heart and brain as well as to the throat to provide relief for upper respiratory infections (via Mayo Clinic). And perhaps the most obvious benefit is the sweet taste. After all, honey is made primarily of sugar, according to Food Insight

Garlic also offers a range of health benefits, including boosting the immune system, lowering cholesterol levels, and supporting heart health (via Spice World). In terms of flavor, garlic can be described as spicy and pungent; a little goes a long way.

These are just a few of the many ingredients you can add to give your turkey meatballs an upgrade. You may also want to try Rachael Ray's super-size turkey meatballs with spinach and cheese, or Emeril Lagasse's buffalo turkey meatballs. You could just experiment with different spices and ingredients and discover an even better flavor combination!