No Breadcrumb Turkey Meatballs with Chunky Tomato Sauce

4 years ago

Hey there!

 It seems like after a few years of lying a bit dormant, the low carb craze is back. I can't tell you how many pictures are on my instagram/facebook feed/etc. of various Paleo meals. To be completely honest, I am not very clear on the rules of Paleo, but I know it limits (eliminates?) carbs. There is also this thing out called the Four Hour Body which I saw on Dr. Oz and heard about from my Dad, so it must be legit. It's sounds pretty similar to Paleo but totally eliminates fruit. Sorry, Charlie. Not gonna happen. I mean, I can go along with not having a big bowl of pasta at every meal, but don't come between me and my fruit. It's not gonna be pretty.
Anyway, this is a very long winded way of saying I decided to try making these meatballs without breadcrumbs. I was a little worried about how they would turn out seeing as I've only every made meatballs with breadcrumbs, but they actually turned out great! I think there was just a very slight textural difference in that they were a teeny bit more dense then traditional meatballs (because they were jut meat!), but it was workin' for them. They were moist and flavorful and I didn't miss the breadcrumbs at all!
I used ground turkey for this version, so I knew I had to kick up the flavor in the meatballs in other ways. I love ground turkey, but it doesn't have much flavor on it's own. So, pile on the herbs and spices!
When you roll these meatballs up, you'll notice that they are much stickier then ou're used too (duh, there's no breadcrumbs!), so be sure to de-ring your hands and roll up your sleeves. While the meatballs are baking, you can get started on the chunky tomato sauce. This is a super quick and easy semi-homemade version. Perfect for a weeknight meal, but feel free to go full fledged homemade if you have the time! In a medium pot, sauté onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, then add one jar of your favorite marinaria sauce (I like tomato basil from Trader Joe's) and one can of diced tomatoes. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked.
Then transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and douse in the chunky sauce. Bake until the tomato sauce reduces and begins to brown on top. Also, feel free to throw some cheese on here, I put mine on after baking which I now consider a huge mistake!
If you're going low carb, this is a perfect dinner along side a big salad. Or pile these on top of some whole wheat pasta or between the slices of a sourdough roll. However you serve them, you're going to love them and be really glad you made enough for leftovers. :)


Recipe: No breadcrumb turkey meatballs with chunky tomato sauce


  • For Meatballs
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • For Tomato Sauce
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 25 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Use your hands to mix well. Form into balls and place on a prepared baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Bake for 25 minutes, until cooked though and just starting to brown.
  3. While the meatballs are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot. Saute carrot, onion, celery, and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir in salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven to 350.
  5. Transfer meatballs to a baking dish and cover with tomato sauce. Bake 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
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