Gluten-Free Italian Turkey Meatballs

Getty Images // 4kodiak
  • 45 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 16 servings
Ratings (4)

 A go-to meatball recipe is always handy to have in the home recipe box. This recipe for Italian-style Turkey Meatballs has been my go-to for years. Gluten-free, lean, plenty of flavors, and simple to prepare.

In place of breadcrumbs and egg, this recipe calls for cooked quinoa, a naturally gluten-free grain, and protein-rich superfood. Quinoa helps hold the meatball together and also adds a boost of additional protein. 

Growing up in an Italian household, meatballs were made from a mixture of ground beef, pork, and veal. While Italian flavors of basil, parsley, garlic, and Parmesan are used in this gluten-free meatball recipe, the meat is different. In place of the traditional meat mixture, we use natural lean ground turkey for a lighter and healthier spin on traditional Italian meatballs. 

You can form meatballs that are "spaghetti and meatball" dinner size, or roll them into a smaller, appetizer portion. It takes less than 30 minutes to bake in the oven, or you can partially bake and finish cooking the meatballs by simmering on low in a slow cooker or a pot of marinara sauce. You can also serve these gluten-free Italian style meatballs as small party bites paired with a delicious pesto dipping sauce

These meatballs freeze well, so you can store in an air-tight container or freezer friendly Ziploc to enjoy at a later time.

What You'll Need

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup cooked white quinoa (cooled)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated) (confirm gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

How to Make It

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let cool before combining with the other ingredients. 
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat (We're a big fan of Silpat).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Using your hands, mix together until well combined.
  4. Roll about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture into appetizer size meatballs, or 3 to 4 tablespoons for dinner size meatballs. 
  1. Arrange meatballs on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a light dusting of garlic and onion powder over top the meatballs. 
  2. Bake meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven, or until completely heated through. Alternatively, you can bake for 15 minutes, then finish cooking the meatballs in a pot of simmering marinara sauce or slow cooker until cooked through.

Note: To prevent foodborne illness, be sure to cook meatballs all the way through ( for turkey, an internal temperature of 165 F). 

Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels to confirm the product is gluten-free. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.