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Recipe: Lamb and Turkey Meatballs in Passata

These meatballs are satisfying and easy to make. The fact that they are a mix of turkey and lamb means they are somewhat lighter in fat and calories, and you still get the lamb flavor but without the stench or the gaminess. Serve with some fresh arugula tossed lightly in olive oil and lemon, and you will hate yourself for loving something so healthy.

Total prep and cook time: 20 minutes prep, 2 hours baking.


35-40, depending on shape/size


  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey

  • 1 lb ground lamb

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (if not using homemade, use the boxes that claim to be ‘Italian style’)

  • 2/3 cup fat-free milk

  • 3 tablespoons minced or grated yellow onions (from a half small onion)

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, or to taste

  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped

  • 28 ounces passata (*) or crushed tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 2 small onions, peeled

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • Rice and shredded parmesan cheese, to serve (OPTIONAL)


Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Combine the turkey and lamb with breadcrumbs, milk, minced onion, garlic, cumin and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Do a test run in a small pan, cooking a small piece to see how you like it. Adjust seasoning.

Shape the mixture with your hand into little fat sausages or balls (or whatever shape you’d like), about 2 inches long if making them look like sausages and then spread them on the parchment ½ inch apart. Bake for 25 minutes. Set aside.

While the meatballs are baking, put the passata, bay leaves, sugar and the whole onion in a heavy bottom sauce pan (4-5 quarts) and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce oven heat to 350F. In a 9×13 oven safe dish, arrange the meatballs in a single layer and then pour over the passata mixture. Bake for 40 minutes.

Remove tha bay leaves. Serve with rice, topped with shredded parmesan cheese. Or with arugula salad. Maybe AND arugula salad. Either way, these puppies will last 7 days in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.

(*) Passata is strained tomato pulp which can be bought in cartons or jars. Use crushed tomatoes OR blend two cans of canned tomatoes in a food processor.

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