Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs — folks can work up a passion about these babies. The recipe I made tonight would be a major assault to Italians in the area, not to mention their grandmother’s.

I do have recipes that are true to the old school, but I made a lean version tonight and paired it with a hefty whole wheat pasta.

It was a test, of sorts. I wanted to see if the kids liked my healthier take on a good old fashioned favorite. In the recipe below, I give lots of options to make your own version of this classic.

I used 100 percent whole wheat spaghetti and used ground turkey, exclusively, in the recipe. I omitted the garlic and basil (“…what are those green things?). The result was different, but there were no screams of protest; only clean plates. To my palate the meatballs were a bit dry, but cooking them in the sauce helped immensely.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs


  • 2 pounds ground turkey, beef, pork, veal or any combination
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshy ground pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1-3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra leaves for garnishing
  • 1/2-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese or asiago, plus extra for grating
  • 1 cup breadbrumbs
  • 1-1 1/2 (36-54 ounces) good quality jarred pasta sauce
  • 1 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Combine ground meat with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add egg, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 cup grated cheese, breadcrumbs and chopped basil, if using. Combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don’t overwork, or the meatballs will be tough. Remove a teaspoon of the mixture and saute in the skillet or microwave 1 minute or until cooked through. Taste meat and add additional garlic, grated cheese, basil or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  3. Form meatballs, about the size of golfballs. You should have about 25.
  4. Over medium heat, heat 36 ounces tomato sauce in a large-lipped large saute pan. Whisk milk into sauce.
  5. Place meatballs into tomato sauce and let simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add additional tomato sauce to the pan if you desire. Turn meatballs and let simmer an additional 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  6. While the meatballs are simmering, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and place spaghetti onto a large serving platter or individual plates. Ladle meatballs and sauce over pasta and serve, passing extra Parmesan for grating.

Time: 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4-6

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

More Recipes Filed Under "Feed Your Children"

I welcome your comments!(This site was recently transferred but, unfortunately, I did not have privileges to include past comments. I would love to see a conversation started!)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *