Turkey meatballs are slowly cooked in a homemade tomato basil marinara sauce until tender. Made without any breadcrumbs, this meatball recipe is gluten free.
My husband and I recently had our DNA tested and while the results weren’t too entirely surprising, I did discover that I’m 8% Italian/Greek. With a last name like Della Croce, I already knew my husband was Italian but I had no idea I might be too! Needless to say, I’m starting to figure out why our boys can’t seem to get enough pasta these days.
Turkey meatballs have always been a family favorite but recently I’ve started making them in the slow cooker to save time during the busy dinnertime rush. With school back in season, our schedules have never been busier so I love relying on my Crock-Pot slow cooker to help get a healthy dinner on the table.
For the sauce, I simply sauté olive oil with onions and garlic before stirring in whole peeled tomatoes and tomato sauce. If you want to give it an added kick, sprinkle in chili flakes and/or stir in a little dry red wine.
To keep the naturally dry, lean turkey breast moist and flavorful, I add sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, Parmesan cheese and minced garlic. As they slowly cook in the marinara sauce they become more and more tender over time.
Another great time saver: make a double batch of these slow cooker turkey meatballs and freeze leftovers for a busy day down the road. There is nothing more thrilling than having a healthy, homemade dinner waiting for you in the freezer.
Serve over spaghetti or keep it low carb and serve with zucchini noodles. Or heck, skip the pasta and dunk the tomato sauce with crusty bread. The world is your oyster.
Your fork is waiting.
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
Quick Marinara Sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes
- 29 ounces tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound Natural Ground Turkey (93% lean)
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 3 pieces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons parsley (minced)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
Pasta to Serve – Optional
- ¼ cup basil (minced)
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep skillet. Add garlic and heat until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir in onions and a pinch of salt. Saute until tender, about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
- While the onions are sautéing, use a pair of kitchen scissors to carefully cut the whole peeled tomatoes. Pour can into the pan along with the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring sauce to a boil then remove from heat; set aside.
- To prepare the meatballs, place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and use your hands to mix until evenly incorporated. Begin rolling meatballs using a small ice cream scoop and place inside your Crock-Pot slow cooker.
- Cover the meatballs with the marinara sauce and place the lid on the Crock-Pot slow cooker. Heat on Low for 4 hours or High for 2 hours. Garnish with fresh basil before serving over pasta if you wish.
Check out more healthy slow cooker recipes on my Pinterest board!
it looks so sweet and healthy. thank you for the recipe.
Of course! Enjoy!
This sounds SO good! Can’t wait to try it.
Cooking meatballs in the slow cooker was a game changer for me! Makes school night dinner a little extra special! :) I love that you are 8% Italian / Greek :)
Yes!!! Couldn’t agree more!! hahaha I do too!! And who knew Rich was so Irish?!
Love homemade meatballs! I use ground turkey quite a bit and usually add either tomato sauce or a little olive oil for extra moisture. We have been lucky with growing fresh herbs in our backyard and they make everything better!
Couldn’t agree more!
I always have trouble with meatballs coming apart when I make them in the slow cooker, so I’m hoping this recipe will help! Do you think we should brown the meatballs first? I have ground pork and beef on hand so I may try with that combo. Love reading your blog, thank you for sharing.
Mine didn’t fall apart and I didn’t cook them beforehand but you certainly can if you wish – great way to add a nice crust. Thanks so much let me know if you try any of my recipes!
I love slow cooker recipes! Great one to add to my list!
Could the parmesan be left out or replaced with something that doesn’t have dairy? I imagine it helps tremendously with structural integrity…
Hmm…the cheese adds moisture since the turkey can be lean so I would use a higher fat meat like bison or beef OR maybe add a little olive oil or grated onion? Be sure to add a bit more salt too.
I do like me some olive oil and onion… Those sound like some tasty alternatives. I’ll let you know when/if I try them out!
I can’t wait to hear what you think!