Spaghetti with Rosemary-Parmesan Turkey Meatballs

Fresh rosemary adds a slightly different flavor profile to classic spaghetti and meatballs. Using ground turkey makes the dish a little lighter too, and finishing them in the oven keeps the rosemary flavor fresh but not overpowering. This dish is nice served with a salad of romaine lettuce, radicchio and crispy garlic croutons, dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

Spaghetti with Rosemary-Parmesan Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti with Rosemary-Parmesan Turkey Meatballs

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Rosemary and parmesan cheese, combined with soft breadcrumbs and ground turkey are the basis for unique flavor twist on classic spaghetti and meatballs.


  • 1-1/4 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb thin spaghetti


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Place a pot of salted water on to boil.
  • Gently combine the turkey, egg, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Form the meat mixture into 2-inch diameter meatballs. You should get about 1 dozen.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add the meatballs in a single layer. Using a pair of tongs, brown them lightly on all sides (3 to 4 minutes), then transfer them to the baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.
  • While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Add a little extra olive oil to the pan and heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the garlic is soft (do not brown). Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, while the meatballs finish cooking.
  • Once done, add the meatballs to the pan, turning them several times to coat them with the sauce. Keep the mixture warm while you cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.
  • To serve, plate the spaghetti in individual portions, top each serving with meatballs and sauce and garnish with a sprig of rosemary or parsley.

Tips for Making This Recipe

The trick to keeping these meatballs light and fluffy is not to overwork the meat. Use your hands to combine the ingredients and form the meatballs gently and loosely. Use a nonstick skillet for browning, as turkey meatballs don’t release much fat and they’re rather delicate to handle. Finish in the oven to keep the texture light.
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