Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

21 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2011

Lemon and rosemary flavor both these turkey meatballs and their velvety-rich sauce. Thyme can be used instead of the rosemary if you prefer. Serve with whole-wheat pasta or mashed potatoes.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
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  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1¼ teaspoons dried, divided
  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
  • ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine (or substitute more chicken broth)
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Place onion, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor. Add 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried) and pulse just until the mixture is finely and evenly chopped (but not mushy).
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and gently mix in turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper until combined. Use a generous 2 tablespoons each to shape the mixture into 12 meatballs (about 1½ inches in diameter). Place flour in a shallow dish and roll the meatballs in it to lightly coat. (Reserve the remaining flour.)
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add meatballs and cook, turning once, until brown, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add wine (or ½ cup broth) to the pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until almost evaporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the can of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and return the meatballs to the pan along with the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or ¼ teaspoon dried). Cover and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a serving bowl.
  5. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1 cup, 4 to 8 minutes. Whisk lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the reserved flour in a small bowl (discard any remaining flour); whisking constantly, add the flour mixture to the sauce along with butter and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Serve the sauce over the meatballs.
  • Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 3 meatballs & about ¼ cup sauce
  • Per serving: 345 calories; 15 g fat(5 g sat); 2 g fiber; 21 g carbohydrates; 29 g protein; 28 mcg folate; 78 mg cholesterol; 2 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 186 IU vitamin A; 6 mg vitamin C; 75 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 659 mg sodium; 449 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Reviews 21

August 01, 2019
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By: Mary
These are extremely tasty and have made several times. They're time consuming, so once I did the serving size portion recommended into patties to speed things up. Worked better than I expected.
March 12, 2017
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By: Jennifer87
These meatballs and sauce have amazing flavor, which is even better the next day if you have leftovers. This is a recipe that I've made several times and have added to my regular meal rotation.
April 18, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Very Tasty! Made this for dinner and it was very good. My husband recently had a heart attack so I used only pinches of salt and no sodium chicken stock. My favorite part was the sauce which I thankfully did not reduce to 1 cup. I believe I would have loved the meat balls just as much as the sauce if I wasn't t being so conservative with salt. I served meatballs over rice and paired with a fresh strawberry vinaigrette salad
January 21, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Maybe I did something wrong... I look forward to trying this again. I need up having to put my meatballs in the oven because they were not done. But that's my fault for not trusting my gut and taking them out when they were only brown (per the recipe) and not done. A misunderstanding on my part I guess. I also doubled the sauce using cornstarch instead of the flour. I added more chicken broth too. Other then that, it's a wonderful dish that I can't wait to make again. Pros: Delicious Cons: Had to make a few important modifications
December 14, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Worth the effort! The lemon flavor is strong in this, but that's not a con - just something to be aware of if you're expecting a hint of lemon. This was well worth the effort. I made it as instructed except left out the zest (i only had bottled lemon juice, no real lemons), and thought it was great. I will probably try making the meatballs smaller next time. No question i'll be making it again!
September 14, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Try this one, I have modifyed for no carbs. For a no carb alternative: add 1 egg and leave out bread crumbs, no wine but add 1 tablespoon of worcheshire. I sauted mushrooms and added a bag of fresh spinich and wilted. Cooked some cauliflower in chicken broth, with salt and pepper, 1 tsp butter then pureed. To assemble add cooked spinach, a layer of cauliflower,puree and meatballs and sauce. I used a large soup bowl. Pros: great taste, easy to make
December 27, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Not bad, but too lemony
July 19, 2014
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By: T. Allen Morgan
Terrific with minor modifications This is a terrific recipe that is now in my standard repertoire. Just a couple of comments. Like a couple of other reviewers, I double the sauce. It's delicious and there isn't enough. Also the meatballs are a bit small if you make them as called for. They are also very delicate and I found that the addition of one egg as a binder helped a good deal. Otherwise, a fantastic find! Pros: Delicious, super flavorful Cons: Not enough sauce; meatballs to small and delicate
March 12, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
A hit in our family! I LOVE this recipes, my whole family does as well, I follow the exact recipe, except for that I use Thyme instead of Rosemary. I serve with lemon garlic baby dutch potatoes. Amazing! Definitely one of my favorite meals.
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