Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe

mini turkey meatballs with penne


there is something so irresistibly adorable and tasty about miniature food;  for some reason, mini cupcakes, tiny sliders, finger sandwiches… are just so darn delicious and CUTE!  like these bite-sized meatballs—and i don’t even like meatballs that much, to be honest.

surprisingly, these meatballs were so easy to make and weren’t too time consuming.  they also smelled amazing when they were baking in the oven.  i’d imagine that they would be delicious and adorable as hors d’oeuvres too on a skewer…with a tiny mozzarella ball, fresh basil slivers, and a small grape tomato ; )


adapted from: how sweet it is

time: ~50 mins

servings: 3-4


for the meatballs:

  • 1/2 lb ground turkey breast*
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup grated romano cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 cup panko bread crumbs

for the penne

  • 3-4 servings of whole wheat penne (~1 cup dried pasta?)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) of low sodium diced tomatoes
  • splash of white wine (optional)
  • 1 heaping cup of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • grated romano cheese, to taste
  • olive oil

* you can also get ground turkey thigh which will have more fat content and will yield juicier meatballs.  Chicken would also work but beef might be a little too game-y tasting.


  1. preheat oven to 400 F.  line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. in a large bowl, mix all the meatball ingredients until everything is evenly incorporated (but don’t overmix or you will end up with tough meatballs!)
  3. use a measuring spoon and portion out meat mixture onto your hands (i used a heaping 1/2 teaspoon).  gently shape the mixture into a ball and place on baking sheet.
  4. bake for ~15 mins until edges are golden brown
  5. while the meatballs are baking, begin to cook pasta in boiling salted water.
  6. heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic and stir until fragrant.  add diced tomatoes (along with juices) and a splash of white wine and cook for ~1 min.  add dried herbs, chopped parsley and grape tomatoes and stir until everything is heated through.
  7. toss cooked pasta and meatballs with the tomato sauce.  top with grated romano cheese, additional chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper.

enjoy with a glass of white wine & a side salad!


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