Red sauce with garlicky turkey meatballs.

I’m very much an Italian girl.  Grew up eating pasta, sauce & meatballs my entire life.  It is, without a doubt, one of my comfort foods.  Memories of my family gathering around the table, fighting for more meatballs (I remember one time someone “accidentally” getting stabbed with a fork, are part of my fondest memories.)  Being a Gambino – you can understand why.

But as I got older, and adopted healthier eating habits, I revamped the old school recipe to be a bit healthier.  The sauce has remained the same… the meatballs have undergone a huge change & white pasta has been replaced with whole wheat.  All in all, still very tasty and comforting.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.


1/2 c olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 (28 oz) can of Furmano’s diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can of Furmano’s chopped tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 pinches of red pepper flakes
2 tsp of Italian Seasoning
1 tsp of Oregano

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over a medium flame.  Once hot, add the onions and stir for about 8 minutes.  Add garlic for 30 seconds.  Add salt and pepper, both cans of tomatoes, paste, bay leaves, and the remaining seasonings.  Turn the flame down as low as it goes, cover and simmer.  Stirring occasionally.


1/2 c of Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c of parsley, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c of Parmesan Reggiano cheese, grated
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb of 85/15 ground turkey
1/4 c of olive oil

Combine all ingredients (except for the olive oil) in your mixing bowl.  Mix by hand until incorporated, avoid over mixing.  Roll into balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet.  Your going to work in batches browning them.  Once complete.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame.  Once the oil is hot, add several meatballs to the pan.  Allow for room to roll them around for growing.  Avoid overcrowding.  This process will take about 10-12 minutes  Once browned on the outside, gently place the meatballs into the sauce.  Be careful when adding and stirring the sauce as you can break up the meatballs.  Work in batches until all of the meatballs are browned and added to the sauce.

I let the sauce simmer on the stove for about 4 hours or more.  Keep a watchful eye and stir occasionally.  Serve over your favorite pasta and enjoy!


4 thoughts on “Red sauce with garlicky turkey meatballs.

  1. I love this recipe! It’s my “go to” pre-race meal! It’s gotten me through 2 marathons, several halfs and 2 ten mile races :) Thanks Robin!!

  2. As you may or may not know, I am not that domesticated in the kitchen. I did however, make this sauce for my family today. The girls and John loved it, in fact came back for seconds! Woo hoo, thanks Robin!

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