What is better than spaghetti and meatballs? Spaghetti and Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs. We do love the traditional meal, but my boys are big on food that is inside of other food! Hahaha!
Making meatballs, or meatloaf for that matter, can be tricky if you are gluten-free , because breadcrumbs or crackers often are used in the recipes as the binding ingredient to keep your ground meat in the pretty shapes.
One gluten-free ingredient I have found that works great as a substitute binder is oats. I use the quick-cooking oats, and I process them in a food processor or blender until they are in small bits and almost flour-like. This way, when they are ground up, they are nearly undetectable in the finished meatballs.
They also can help to ensure a nice, tender texture because they will absorb most of the liquid that would be lost if you were just using plain meat and seasonings. The other added bonus from using oats as a replacement for the breadcrumbs is the increased amount of fiber in the dish.
To make the meatballs, I took lean ground turkey and mixed it with ground oatmeal, eggs, garlic, dijon mustard, dried basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. Once that was done, I sprayed a baking sheet with pan spray and counted out my mozzarella balls. I then put on gloves and grabbed a couple tablespoons of the meat mixture. I rolled it together in my hands and then flattened it slightly.
I placed one mozzarella pearl in the middle and wrapped the meat around it. I finished by rolling it into a ball again and placing it on the baking sheet.
Once all of the meatballs were ready, I let them bake for 30 minutes in the oven, heated to 475. I then turned the broiler on high and let them roast for an additional five to 10 minutes, or until the tops of the meatballs were browned.
Once the meatballs are done, you can serve them with or without sauce. If you let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes, they will, of course, gain the additional flavor of pasta sauce.
Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
2½ pounds ground turkey
1 cup ground oats
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons garlic paste (Can be found in a tube near fresh herbs at the store.)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
30 mozzarella pearls, or ½-inch diced mozzarella pieces
Heat oven to 475. Combine all ingredients except mozzarella in a large bowl and mix gently with your hands until combined evenly.
When combined, take a small amount of meat and roll it into a 1½-inch ball. Flatten slightly and place a mozzarella pearl in the center. Roll the meat around it and shape into a ball.
Place the meatballs on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn broiler to high and broil for 5 to 10 minutes or until the tops are browned. Remove from the oven and serve.
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