My family is Italian, so we love anything with pasta — especially meatballs! But I wanted to make something different and fun, because let’s be real, spaghetti and meatballs can get old.
Also, red sauce may contain a ton of sodium, especially if you are buying sauce from the jar. This led me to create these healthier Swedish Meatballs with pasta!
So in this recipe, I did not use any salt but I did use soy sauce in place of salt to boost the flavor. You’re probably thinking I am crazy. Soy sauce? In homemade Swedish meatballs? With pasta? Yup!
I used 1 tablespoon when making the meatballs and another tablespoon in the sauce. By using 1/2 tsp. Soy Sauce in place of 1/2 tsp. table salt, you can cut the sodium content of the recipe by 1000mg. #funfact
Ground turkey Swedish meatballs ingredients
For the easy Swedish meatballs, you’ll need:
Plain breadcrumbs (or you can use white bread)
Soy Sauce (or sub salt)
Fresh parsley (or dried)
Egg or Flaxseed egg
Spices: All-Spice, Cardamom, White pepper, salt, pepper
Olive oil (if needed for your hands when rolling meatballs)
And for the Swedish meatball gravy, you’ll need:
Plain Greek yogurt, full fat
Soy Sauce (or salt)
How to make ground turkey Swedish meatballs
To make these ground turkey Swedish meatballs, simply add all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and mix everything together with clean hands or a spoon.
Form the mixture into small balls. You can use acookie scoop to make uniform balls and use a little olive oil on your hands if they get sticky. 1lb. of meat typically yields ~20 meatballs.
Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes in a 400°F oven.
Then, make the Swedish meatball gravy. You’ll first need to whisk together the butter and flour in a saucepan to make a roux. Simply start by adding the butter to a nonstick pan and let it melt, then whisk in the flour.
Once the mixture becomes a roux (~1 min), add in the rest of the gravy ingredients and simmer until thickened.
Carefully transfer the meatballs to the gravy and stir to coat them in the sauce. Serve immediately over rice or pasta.
Do I have to use panko breadcrumbs?
Yes, the panko breadcrumbs or regular plain breadcrumbs are essential in this easy Swedish meatballs recipe.
The breadcrumbs help bind everything together, and if you omit it the meatballs will fall apart. You can also use 2 slices of white bread with the crust trimmed off.
Can I use another type of meat?
If you don’t have ground turkey on hand, you can use plain ground beef, ground chicken or ground pork (avoid any meat that’s spiced, like Italian sausage, as that would alter the flavor of these meatballs).
Tips for making ground turkey Swedish meatballs
For the best flavor, pick a ground turkey with a little extra fat in it. Turkey is naturally quite lean, but that additional fat will add flavor to these meatballs.
Cook the meatballs in the oven for ease and minimal clean up. You can cook the meatballs on the stove with some olive oil, but sometimes things get messy and the meatballs can fall apart.
The smaller your meatballs are, the quicker they’ll cook. Be careful not to overcook the meatballs in the oven, otherwise they’ll become tough and dry.
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In a medium sized bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, white onion, soy sauce, parsley, egg, spices and water until combined. Roll meatballs into a small/medium size. Using a cookie scoop helps to make uniform meatballs and use a little olive oil on your hands if the meatballs are sticky. You should have ~20 meatballs.
Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
Next, make the gravy. Using a nonstick skillet or cast iron, start by making the roux with the flour and butter. Over medium heat, allow the butter to melt and then whisk in the flour. Then in increments, slowly whisk in the beef broth. Let the roux and broth adequately mix before adding in more broth.
Then whisk in the heavy cream and yogurt. Then add in the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and simmer until sauce thickens, ~2-3 minutes.
Lastly, transfer the meatballs to the sauce and spoon the sauce over the meatballs. Serve over pasta or with rice. I love this recipe with wide egg noodles.
Substitutions:Flaxseed egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2.5 tablespoons waterMay sub 1 egg for the flax egg.May use 1/2 lb. ground pork and 1/2 lb. ground beef in place of ground turkey.May sub salt for soy sauce. May sub 2 slices of white bread with the crust trimmed if you don’t have Panko.