Baked Turkey Meatballs with Pumpkin BBQ dipping sauce

4 years ago

Oh Heyyy.

Are you all candied out? I am! I stuck to the ol’ give one out, eat one, rule last night and while I enjoyed my Halloween binge immensely, I am paying for it today! Feeling in the mood for some good, clean, non-chocolate covered food!

These turkey meatballs will make a perfect like supper tonight paired along side a much needed green salad. :)

These meatballs pack lots of the big flavors of Thanksgiving into a perfect little bite. They are filled with earthy herbs and coated in breadcrumbs to make them extra crispy, they’d be fantastic by themselves, but then you dunk ‘em into the Pumpkin BBQ sauce and you’ve got an over-the-top flavor blast that will keep you coming back for more.

These meatballs are baked, which gets us all the crispiness we want without the fat and oiliness that frying brings. There are two keys to making these meatballs cracklin’ in your mouth crispy. #1 In addition to using breadcrumbs as a binder, you roll the meatballs in breadcrumbs before cooking, and #2 you sear the meatballs in a skillet before baking them. Both of these steps are essential in getting the perfectly crunchy exterior I’m always looking for in a meatball.

While the meatballs are in the oven, you can make the pumpkin BBQ sauce. Don’t gimmie that face! It isdelicious.

I’ve really been working to try to increase my use of pumpkin in savory dishes. I use it all the time in sweet dishes and baked goods, as evidenced here…and here…and here! But I know it can be great in savory applications too, so I’ve been experimenting. This is one experiment that turned out very very well!

Plain pureed pumpkin is only slightly sweet, so it can really morph into whatever you need it to. Plus it has such a rich velvety texture it is perfect for this dipping sauce that needs to hold up to hearty turkey meatballs. You get some tang from the BBQ sauce, kick from the hot sauce (you can use any kind you like-I love Tapatio), and just a bit of sweetness from the honey. This sauce is a fantastic counterpoint for the herby (have I mentioned crispy?) turkey meatballs.

Perfect party appetizer, light supper, afternoon snack, any way you roll ‘em, I think you’ll love these flavors-of-Thanksgiving meatballs!

I’ll be enjoying them for dinner tonight, with NO just one ok maybe a few pieces of candy for dessert ;)


Recipe: Baked Turkey Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground turkey meat
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for frying)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients (except olive oil) in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined – hands are a great tool for this!
  3. Shape into small meatballs. Roll in breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet. Continue until all meatballs are coated.
  4. Prepare a wire rack set over a large baking sheet.
  5. Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in two batches, sear the meatballs in the skillet (adding the 2nd T of oil after the first batch), and place on the wire rack.
  6. Bake meatballs on the wire rack 15-20 minutes, until cooked though.
  7. Serve with Pumpkin BBQ dipping sauce.

Recipe: Pumpkin BBQ dipping sauce


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 T hot sauce*
  • Up to 1 cup water
  • *optional


  1. Comine pumpkin, BBQ, and hot sauce in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir together.
  2. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in honey.
  4. Add water 2 T at a time until you reach your desired consistency (I added about 8 T water total)
  5. Keep warm (adding water if sauce becomes too think) until ready to serve.
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