june 14, 2022
Do you use your slow cooker only when the weather is chilly? Until recently, I believed this as gospel. On the contrary, the best use may be in warmer months when you want a hot dinner without cranking up the stove. Load it up, walk away, then return to a nourishing meal with minimal effort. These Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs are fluffed with almond flour, not breadcrumbs, and bathed in a tangy sweet and sour tomato sauce.
Ground turkey is a tender meat. No egg is needed and the almond flour binds well, making giant orbs of garlicky meatball goodness. Look at my archives to see that I am a big fan of ground turkey. Start at Turkey Meatloaf with Sundried Tomato, Spinach and Feta, one of my first posts (and please forgive the early attempts at food photography). Most recently, I jazzed up some pasta with ground turkey and goat cheese. Today : grain free low fat comfort in a big pot.
Here’s why you will like these meatballs :
- grain free – no breadcrumbs
- if almonds are a problem, use other ground nuts like walnuts
- egg free
- no pan frying first – simply shape the meatballs and cover with sauce
- the sauce, as written, does not need to be cooked first
- save time and use your best jarred marinara, kick in the sweet and sour components
- to make this dish paleo, or if you are watching sugars, use coconut sugar instead of brown
Don’t we love easy dinners that make it look like we’ve spent hours crafting a masterpiece? Equally important, easy dinners also need to taste like a million bucks. The secret to tangy sweet and sour tomato sauce is my mixture of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and the best spicy Worcestershire sauce money can buy.
Like a lot of people, I love a comforting hot meal even on days when the humidity and heat descend like a weighted blanket. And I also love easy recipes.
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 12 large meatballs, about 4 generous servings
1.5 pounds ground turkey
1 cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
½ teaspoon each dry oregano and dry basil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
one large clove garlic, zested on microplane grater
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, chunky or smooth
2 tablespoons light brown sugar*
¼ cup worcestershire sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
* for more paleo friendly version, use coconut sugar
- Combine turkey with almond flour, dry herbs, salt, pepper and garlic.
- With moist hands, form 12 large meatballs and place on bottom of large slow cooker/crock pot that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- For even sized meatballs, use spatula edge to divide smoothed mixture into quadrants in your mixing bowl, scoop out one fourth at a time and divide into 3 meatballs each.
- Whisk together crushed tomatoes, brown sugar or coconut sugar, Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar.
- Pour tomato sauce evenly over meatballs and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours.
- Entree may be enjoyed right away, but flavor becomes more intense after resting in the refrigerator 1-2 days (cool to room temperature before storing in fridge).
- The meatballs freeze well for enjoying later.