Red Sauce and Turkey Meatballs Over Whole-grain Spaghetti

Up your pasta game by adding these turkey meatballs for an extra boost of filling protein.

Spaghetti with red sauce and turkey meatballs in pot
Christopher Testani

Whether you’re using beef meatballs or, in our case, the lighter turkey variety for this hearty classic, you shouldn’t use just any whole grain. Because marinara—yes, good old “red sauce”—has a sweet taste to it, says Tallulah’s chef Walter Edward, who specializes in vegetable-and-grain-driven comfort food.

We recommend pairing it with a pasta packed with a tasty, nutty flavor, and Racconto 8 Whole Grain Spaghetti—blending eight healthy grains, including rye, buckwheat, and millet—fits the bill perfectly.

When you’re prepping your meatballs, says Edward, squeeze them just enough to hold their shape, to give them the perfect amount of tenderness. And if you’re still pan-frying your meatballs rather than using the (far easier) method of baking them, this recipe will cure you of the habit.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Chef Walter Edward at Tallulahs.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!

Prep time

30 min.

Cook time

20 min.

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, drained and pulsed in food processor
  • 2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • For the meatballs:
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 slices stale whole-grain bread (crusts removed), soaked in . cup nonfat milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce: Put garlic, onion, carrot, and celery into a food processor and pulse until minced. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the minced vegetables and cook until translucent. Reduce heat, add the remaining ingredients, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours.
For the meatballs: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, break up ground turkey with your hands, then add the bread and mix gently until the bread disappears in the meat. Gently mix in the other ingredients. Shape meatballs (about the size of an ice cream scoop) with your hands and place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes, or just until golden brown and cooked through.