Baked Turkey Ricotta Meatballs

Warning: These meatballs require 2.5 hours of baking time. And having the oven on at all, let alone that long, during these hot summer days seems like borderline insanity. Which is why I baked these in the morning over the weekend and had them for lunch, before the temperatures rose up too high for my A/C to successfully ward off from entering my apartment. However, any spike my A/C bill was worth it to produce these tender, flavorful meatballs. And yes, I am still the very broke grad student who just paid a $500 deductible for car repairs. Sometimes I fail at being frugal when I comes to delicious food.

But I am getting a break from the heat this week. The highest high predicted for the next 7 days is 88 which is almost twenty degrees less than what I’ve been plagued by for the past month. Hooray!

In other hot-weather-related news, I bought a slip ‘n slide at Target for $4.91. Best $5 purchase ever?! I thought so too. Now to convince a friend with a yard and hose to let me frolick around…


Makes 20 meatballs


2 lbs ground turkey

1 small red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

1/2 cup bread crumbs

8 oz. part skim ricotta cheese

4 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp prepared pesto


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium low heat; add the oil and onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach; it will wilt with the carry-over cooking from the onions and garlic. Let the mixture cool for about 4-5 minutes off the heat.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, ricotta and Italian seasoning. When the onion mixture has cooled fold that in. Add the turkey and, using your hands, mix until everything is well combined. Form into 20 meatballs (about 2 inches in diameter). Wash your hands. In another bowl mix together the tomatoes and pesto.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup of the tomato mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, then evenly place the meatballs on top – you may have to squish them together some, but they’ll shrink a bit during the cooking. Top the meatballs with the remaining tomato mixture. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 2.5 hours. Let sit for a few minutes when done baking to let them cool and to allow the juices to stay in the meatballs. Serve hot over whole wheat pasta topped with Parmesan cheese.

Source: Heather’s Dish

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