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Pasta with Homemade Turkey Meatballs

THIRA Health / community  / Pasta with Homemade Turkey Meatballs

Pasta with Homemade Turkey Meatballs

Who doesn’t love a homemade pasta meal? THIRA Health’s team of dietitians has approved this healthy recipe, and elaborated on why substituting whole grain noodles or zucchini spiraled noodles and making your own homemade marina is such a great choice.

Tomato sauce is not only delicious and versatile, it also contains lycopene which is the pigment in red fruits, including tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.  Lycopene is plant-based antioxidant and studies have linked it to having decreased the risk of some cancers and contributing to heart health.  The mashed tomatoes in tomato sauce, as well as the presence of a fat (olive oil in this recipe), make it easier for the digestive system to absorb the lycopene.

Whole grain noodles contain the entire grain kernel, meaning they contain a higher amount of dietary fiber versus white pasta.  Why do we love fiber?  Because it promotes digestive health, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, it also may help prevent certain cancers.  In addition, whole grain pasta is low in sodium and high in the following:

  • B Vitamins: contribute to energy metabolism and important to keep the nervous system healthy.
  • Magnesium:  crucial in the formation of bone and regulating blood pressure.
  • Selenium: supports the immune system (to get us through cold season) and shows the thyroid some love.
  • Manganese: also contributes to bone formation as well as in the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates.

Finally, whole grain pasta is an excellent source of carbohydrates which is the primary fuel to feed our brain, muscles, red blood cells, and our nervous system. 

Marinara Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • (1) 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (sugar and salt free)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional 1-2 tablespoons honey


  1. In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add your minced garlic and sauté just until garlic becomes fragrant and slightly golden. Be very careful not to burn the garlic, as this can happen quickly.
  3. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and reduce your heat to low.
  4. Cover the pot and simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.
  6. Optional, stir in 1-3 tablespoons of raw honey to balance the acidity.

Meatballs and Noodles


  • 1 pound (3 medium-sized) zucchini, spiralized or half a box of store-bought whole grain noodles
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, Panko, Parmesan, egg yolks, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-to-2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.
  3. Place meatballs onto the prepared baking dish and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until all sides are browned and meatballs are cooked through; set aside.
  4. Place zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and gently toss to combine; let sit for 10 minutes. If you are using whole grain noodles skip this step.
  5. In a large pot of boiling water, cook zucchini for 30 seconds to 1 minute; drain well. If you are using whole grain noodles follow instructions provided on box.
  6. Serve zucchini and or noodles with marinara on top and 2 to 4 meatballs.

Recipes found on:

https://dearcrissy.com/clean-eating-marinara-sauce-recipe/ and https://damndelicious.net/2017/01/20/zucchini-noodles-with-turkey-meatballs/


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