Healthy turkey meatballs spiced with cumin, paprika and cilantro. Make these for a quick, protein-packed meal or snack.
The best turkey meatballs are packed with flavor, with one bite leading to the next one.
Ideally, they are juicy little nuggets, perfectly sized for popping into your mouth.
It turns out that the turkey meatballs we like best are always seasoned with just the right amount of things to keep them interesting, never making you think of the words “bland” and “dry.”.
I’m forever craving bold spices and flavors, especially when pulling a meal together with just a few ingredients.
These Middle Eastern-spiced turkey meatballs are my latest coup in the family dinner department.
By which I mean they make a dinner option that’s far from boring, and get both the adults (and almost-adults) in the house excited about eating.
My recipe makes about two dozen gluten-free turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs.
They’re perfect to serve as a simple meal or as a snack or appetizer (make a batch and watch them disappear).
I cook them in one batch in a single pan — I use my favorite 12-inch nonstick skillet — but they’re just as easy to make in two batches in a slightly smaller pan.
Because they’re not oversized, the meatballs will cook through in about 10 minutes on the stovetop.
You can also double the recipe and add to your weekly meal plan.
All they’ll need is a quick reheat and you magically have a quick, healthy dinner or lunch with a good hit of tasty protein.
I love to plop them in a bowl for a quick salad I can throw together with a handful of refrigerator staples:
- A small pile of arugula greens
- Sliced cucumbers
- Salad sprouts
- Crumbled feta cheese
- A smear of thick, plain yogurt
- My favorite Simple Green Sauce.
Meatballs are definitely a hands-down menu fave in our family (and yours too, I’m guessing).
There’s something about their spherical shape that makes them especially appealing and friendly-looking.
When my kids were younger, I would serve them meatballs with tooth picks on the side and they couldn’t have been happier.
They thought stabbing each meatball was hilarious!
Somehow, it was even better than eating with their fingers, and it got them to clean their plates.
What to serve with Cumin Cilantro Turkey Meatballs:
The combination of seasonings and spices in this meatball recipe — including ground cumin, paprika, grated onion and cilantro — would also make a very fine and tasty meatball if you substituted ground beef, pork or lamb in place of turkey.
Serve them in bowl on top of your favorite healthy whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, etc.) and some roasted vegetables.
They’re also really delicious in a sandwich, stuffed into warm pita bread along with some salad greens and tangy yogurt sauce drizzled over them.
For the juiciest meatball, I recommend using ground turkey thigh in this recipe if you’re not counting calories.
That extra bit of fat in turkey thighs adds more flavor compared to breast meat, and keeps the meatballs from becoming too dry.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (thigh preferred)
- 1/2 red onion, grated on a box grater
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
In a large bowl, combine turkey, onion, cilantro, garlic, egg, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix until combined, then form 1 1/2-inch diameter meatballs.
Heat the oil a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Arrange meatballs in pan and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
When the meatballs are cooked through, stir in the sriracha and a tablespoon of water to make a quick pan sauce.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
Meatballs will keep in the refrigerator 3 - 5 days.
Wet your hands with a little water when forming the meatballs to make it less sticky.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 38mg Sodium: 163mg Carbohydrates: 1g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 7g
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Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!