Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs

Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs |

This is my love language.

Everything good (in this case: lean turkey veggie meatballs and smooth, tangy tomato sauce with fresh green herbs) tangled up in hot pasta and just exploding with color and texture. *closes eyes and purrs* I seriously love it.

I don’t often make spaghetti and meatballs but I’ve had it on my overcrowded food idea board for a looong time now and I may or may not have just gotten tired of looking at it. Know what I mean? One of the advantages of listing your ideas: getting tired of looking at all the things you haven’t done yet which forces you to follow through. And I’m so so glad this recipe actually happened because both Bjork and I could eat it for every meal all week forever. Well, we ARE eating it all week. I made the recipe twice which resulted in at least 900 little containers of skinny spaghetti and meatballs in the fridge waiting to be packed into a lunchbox.

Not. Complaining.

Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs |

Here’s the deal on the skinny.

The reason this recipe is skinnier than your average spaghetti and meatballs is because:

  1. Half of the meatball mixture is chopped veggies.
  2. The other half of the meatball mixture is lean ground turkey.
  3. I spy a few whole wheat breadcrumbs, too.
  4. Unrelated to the meatballs, this is a good time to try low glycemic or gluten free noodles. I’m usually all over the whole wheat pasta but I just can’t do it with spaghetti. But I’ve tried like three different “healthier” spaghetti varieties lately and I’ve been impressed by all of them. SCORE.
  5. Somebody is going to be ultraskinny and use spaghetti squash in place of the pasta. I am not that person but more power to you, health nut.

Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs |

So to make this happen, you’ll have to chop up your veggies really small. Like, food processor or bust small. I used those teensy tiny red peppers that everybody loves right now and I just chopped the heck out of them with my food processor. In addition to cutting some calories and packing some nutrition into the meatballs, you are going to get some rockin’ sweet red pepper flavor in your meatballs and you are not going to complain. Because YUM.

Veggies + turkey + whole wheat breadcrumbs + cheese = these.

Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs |

You guys, the meatballs. Excuse me for yelling but BJORK LOVED THEM.

I loved them too, but I guess I don’t fall for meatballs quite as extremely as he does? I don’t know. It was just ridiculous; he kept walking by the meatball bowl and just popping those little things like candy. And again. And again. And after we completely inhaled our hot plates of spaghetti and meatballs for a nice little Saturday night dinner date at home, he went back for… more meatballs. Just meatballs on the plate.

Okay then.

Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs |

Between the turkey and veggie meatballs, the sauce (storebought all the way! there’s a generic brand that I love with a short ingredient list, no added sugar, and a super smooth texture so why the heck not?!), the hot sticky spaghetti noodles, and the fresh herbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, there’s a lot to luv about this meal. If we were normal people who made recipes more than once, this would forsurely make its way into the permanent weeknight dinners category.

Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs |

Just so many good vibes right now.

Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs |

4.5 from 11 reviews
Skinny Spaghetti and Meatballs
Serves: 8
  • 1⅓ lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups minced bell peppers (about 15 mini peppers)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus extra salt and pepper
  • 35 ounces super smooth spaghetti sauce (my preference)
  • 16 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • fresh minced parsley and additional cheese for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep the peppers. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and stir until thick and sticky. Add the bell peppers, turkey and salt. Mix with your hands to really get the mixture incorporated.
  2. Roll the mixture into meatballs (I did smaller sized meatballs and I was able to make about 50) and place on a greased baking sheet. They WILL stick and brown on the bottom as they bake. Sprinkle the meatballs generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Heat the spaghetti sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and some fresh parsley; stir gently and cover. Let the mixture simmer until the noodles are done cooking and the sauce is warmed through. Combine the sauce and noodles directly in the pan, or just scoop the sauce on top. Sprinkle with a little cheese for good luck. ;)
I've been buying low glycemic noodles (usually found in the small organic section of my regular grocery store and so so delicious!) and I've been buying spaghetti sauce with a short ingredient list and no added sugar. If you can make 50 total meatballs out of the recipe, one serving includes roughly 6 meatballs.

Nutrition Meatballs

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  1. These pictures make me want to dive into a tub of that pasta and meatballs! Yum, yum, yum!

  2. This recipe just reminded me I have some grass-fed ground beef I wanted to use up. Which is even healthier than turkey. (sorry, the nutritionist in me had to say it)

  3. These look so good! Your picture are killing me! Love them!

  4. I love how you substituted all those peppers in with the beef- such a smart idea! Are you gonna give a shout-out to this awesome store-bought brand of tomato sauce? Inquiring minds want to know :)

    • I’d love to know too! I have the hardest time finding spaghetti sauce that tastes juuuust right. Perhaps the no-sugar-added is the key.

      • I’m not super picky but I am always surprised how much I love just the generic store brand. All natural ingredients and no added sugar and suuuper smooth. I’d love to make homemade but I hardly ever have the time! Hope you can find a brand that you like (or a good homemade recipe)!

    • I think it was the Cub generic brand, or just some random off brand, and it’s like the most basic variety! Not the three cheese or anything like that. Just check the labels on whatever sauce you want to buy.. I was really impressed with the ingredients/flavor!

  5. Thanks for this recipe! I’m looking forward to cutting some calories on a basic, comfort food recipe. I’ve done the turkey meat spaghetti before, but never thought to add finely chopped peppers. I’ll be sneaking some veggies in my fiance’s dinner now! πŸ˜‰

    The Flair Society

  6. I am going to have to buy your photography book because your pictures are stunning. I don’t eat meat but if something were to sway me it would be your vibrant, perfect photography. :)

  7. I’ve tried turkey meatballs before but found them dry and not as rich as my beloved beef meatballs. But I think you’re onto something with all of those peppers, they must add a great flavor and keep them moist too!

    • They were seriously so surprisingly moist, probably because of the juice of the peppers being in there. I was not expecting that at all but was super happy about it :) :)

  8. Do you grind your own turkey? Been trying to buy it but i couldn’t find it anywhere, because of salmonella, but don’t own a grinder and don’t know if chopping it with a knife will be enough.

    • No, I buy it already ground from the grocery store just like you would buy ground beef. Can you buy it from a local meat market? It does need to be pretty well ground to form the meatballs.

  9. I think I have pretty much all the ingredients which makes this an easy decision of hopping to it to prep for dinner this week. I’ve never made meatballs before so this is my perfect opportunity!

  10. Skinny spaghetti? I love it! I’ve been known to sneak veggies into turkey meatballs as well – it’s an easy way to up your veggie consumption and makes the meat go further!

  11. These sound great! Do you think they would freeze well?

  12. I am seriously making this!

  13. I love making ‘skinny’ versions of the classics, not only is it good for you, it is actually better on the budget!

  14. Not that I’m officially on weight watchers skinny is what I need in my meals. Love this one with the meatballs.

  15. This looks so perfect! As someone who doesn’t eat beef, I’ve always had a hard time finding a good meatball recipe. Thanks!

  16. Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my favorite things, ever. I haven’t made turkey meatballs in a while, so glad you reminded me. Great recipe – and your photos are making my mouth water!

  17. I totally made skinny turkey meatballs this weekend too…I love them! Yours look so perfect! love using all the veggies in the meatballs
    P.s This “If we were normal people who made recipes more than once, this would for surely make its way into the permanent weeknight dinners category.” made me laugh.

    I think I have maybe made me and the hubs the same dinner twice since we have been married…9 months. I relate!

  18. Oh my, looks amazingly good. Comfort food all the way.

  19. I love these. You made me laugh when you said if we were normal people that made the same thing more than once. My family said I should make something and I forget when the heck they are talking about.

  20. Oh wow. Love the addition of peppers and baking the meatballs. I recently made Thai turkey meatballs and added shredded zucchini. So juicy. Love healthy recipes and these leftovers I would eat every day for a week too.:)

  21. funny…. when I read that line about someone using spaghetti squash, the health nut…yup that’s me! I love spaghetti squash with my meatballs and sauce! Yours look delish..I’m drooling :)

  22. Yummy! I don’t eat meat but this gives me some ideas for some mashed beans and veggies and cheese as “meatballs”? Hmm. :) But regardless, sounds yummy! I just recently uploaded a homemade spaghetti sauce to my blog! :)

  23. Your spaghetti and meatballs are perfection! This is one of my husband’s fave meals. I have to try your recipe as well.

  24. This week I have been specifically looking for healthy recipes that sneak in some extra veggies for the 2 year old, this is perfect! The kiddo loooves spaghetti. :)

  25. My husband and sons are really gonna love these meatballs (actually I will too :). ) Spaghetti is already a hit with them – so they’ll love it if I make meatballs too!

  26. YES. Just a great big YES to this – I have been obsessed with spaghetti and meatballs lately and I love the idea of a skinner version! Except yeah, I love spaghetti squash but not with meatballs. Just sayin’ πŸ˜‰

  27. Teach me how to photograph pasta! Seriously though, this looks amazing. Sooo amazing.

  28. This is a perfect recipe for me to bookmark after all that Christmas eating I am going to be indulging in. I wonder if you can somehow adapt this to left over cooked turkey. And I love the picture of your meatballs.

  29. “If we were normal people who made recipes more than once…”
    I’m so glad we’re not alone in this. Too true.

  30. Great way to lighten up a hearty Italian meal! I love subbing ground turkey in recipes that call for ground beef…I always make sure to get the dark ground meat instead of light from the meat counter which keeps it from turning out dry.

    • Please, this is NOT italian. Here in Italy, where I’ve been born and have lived ever since spaghetti with meatballs doesn’t exist. No one would ever dream of making such a thing!!! Nor spaghetti with bolognese sauce: no no no.

  31. Comfort food in skinny form?! Where do I sign up?!

  32. I am huge meatball fan. I would be the one stealing them away before dinner. I think the carrots make them more moist too. Great recipe!

  33. These meatballs are amazingly flavorful! I used some chicken sausage made by our local grocery store, and holy cow……so so good. :)

  34. Does the nutritional information include the pasta or is it just the meatballs?

  35. hello. this looks amazing!! i’m not sure what kind of mini peppers you are referring to. are they jarred? thanks.

  36. This looks amazing!! One question: Is the nutritional info for the entire recipe, including the sauce and pasta? If so, is there any way you can provide the nutritional info for just the meatballs?

    • For 8 servings, each would have 198 calories and 8 grams of fat. I have the full label here so I’ll email it to you. :)

      • Hi Lindsay! Any chance I can jump on the meatball-only bandwagon and get the nutritional label from you? I’m planning on making these for supper tonight and serving over roasted veggies.

        • All right, go ahead and disregard my request. I made ’em and calculated the nutrition info since I made a couple changes anyway. Instead of bread crumbs, I subbed 3/4 cup cooked quinoa and I accidentally forgot the cheese (the horror!). But, it was delicious and at 6g fat, 7g carb, and 15g protein, pretty doggone nutritious too. Thanks for another great recipe!

  37. Do you mince the peppers in a food processor or by hand? I just made your blueberry sauce this morning for my pancakes. It is better than Ina Garten’s sauce! : )

  38. I want this badly. It’s 7:40am.

  39. Good, but not enough to make this recipe all that healthy as its written. Halve the amount of meat and pasta, replacing volume with diced zucchini and onions to the sauce, maybe swap half the meat balls for a bean of your choice. Add some shredded or diced carrots. Just before serving throw in chopped spinach leaves for color and extra nutrition. The flavor of the sauce should get you the spaghetti experience. You’ll have a spaghetti medley by adding more veggies. There are probably other veggies which would work. Now it’s more healthy! Don’t be afraid of trying more additions.

  40. The Rocking Rebel (aka: the boyfriend) and I loved this!! And I know this sounds weird, but we even fed some to our puppy, because she’s not been eating a lot lately and we thought maybe some spaghetti and meatballs would wet her appetite… And it did! :)

    Thanks for this great recipe!

  41. Alannah says:

    Hi Lindsay,
    I just made these tonight and they were absolutely delicious! My family devoured them. Next we’re going to try the Creamy Chicken Quinoa & Broccoli Casserole from your Everyday Healthy cookbook. Thanks for the delicious recipes,

  42. Sabrina says:

    Hello! I can’t wait to make this! The mini peppers I saw at the grocery said “mini peppers sweet” on the bag and were yellow, red and orange… is this what you used or should I just buy regular bell peppers?

  43. Wow! This looks great. I looked this recipe up after a picture appeared in an Pinterest ad. Your ingredients made my mouth water! Do you think that onions would make them pop or deter them? My mouth is salivating at the thought of one of those meatballs, I’ve got to make one! Keep those recipes coming!

  44. Is the nutrition for just the meatballs or with the sauce and pasta? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this week!

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