Thursday, October 16, 2014

80--- Simple Turkey and Bean Meatballs

Do you know what meat extenders are? They are high protein non-meat ingredients that are used to reduce the cost of meat products.  Often, in processed foods, this refers to soy.  Soy beans are less expensive than 100% meat, and are added to products, such as sausages, and most people never know they were added.

This simple recipe calls for the addition of your own meat extender, but also adds fiber and plant protein too!  You can turn 20 oz of turkey into 50 meat balls by adding a few beans, without sacrificing flavor! The total cost of this creation was $10.06, assuming you have a few spices on hand, and from that you will have several meals and options.

Add different ingredients for different flavors.  In example, add a few fennel seeds, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, and capers for Italian flavor.  Or, add some feta cheese, chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes for a Mediterranean meal.

One recipe, many options.

Simple Turkey and Bean Meatballs
Makes 50 meatballs

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
20 oz lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs (try gluten-free)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped spinach
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large food processor, combine all ingredients except for turkey.  Mix until a smooth puree is formed.

Transfer puree to a large mixing bowl.  Add ground turkey and use your (clean) hands to mix well until evenly distributed.  

Roll mixture into 1 1/2 - 2" balls.  Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil spray.  Over medium-high heat, sear the meatballs for 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer seared meatballs to a large baking pan or sheet.  Once all meatballs have been seared, bake meatballs for 17-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve with marinara sauce and pasta, on a salad, or with roasted vegetables and brown rice (or any other option).  If freezing meatballs, place on a plate and place in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to transferring meatballs to a Ziploc bag (so that meatballs don't stick together in the bag).

Nutrition Info per 1 meatball: 41 calories, 1 g fat, 3.5 g protein, 3.5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

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