Comforting spicy, juicy turkey meatballs with a crunch from pine nuts, a citrus kick from aromatic zests, and a fresh flavor from herbs and jalapenos made in the air fryer.
Without the Stress
Are you craving warm and mouthwatering comfort food that's completely packed with healthy ingredients? Check out these Lemon Pine Nuts Turkey Meatballs! But before we get started, let's talk about the mess that can come with making meatballs. They get sticky and can take a long time to cook. Have you ever tried to scoop them out, only to have them crumble in half or fall apart entirely?
Furthermore, dry meatballs can be frustrating, to say the least. But don't worry. With these easy steps and a few key ingredients, you'll be ready to reduce the stress and enjoy your yummy meatballs in no time. So let's start this mouthwatering journey that will fire up your taste buds!
If you love meatballs, then you'll have to try Turkey Meatball Wraps - Lemon pine nuts turkey meatballs with fresh tomatoes, zhug, olives, feta cheese, pickled cabbage, and tzatziki sauce on a warm whole wheat flatbread. Chicken Meatballs & Israeli Couscous Vegetable Soup - The Mediterranean spiced savory meatballs and couscous pasta pearls with carrots, zucchini, spinach, and mushrooms in a harissa lemon chicken broth.
To prepare the meatballs, small chop the garlic, jalapeno, parsley, and onions using a food processor. Then in a mixing bowl, you'll combine the herb onion mixture with ground turkey, an egg, panko breadcrumbs, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Then you'll form them into balls and fry them in the air fryer for only 10 minutes! If you don't have an air fryer, don't worry, I included instructions for the oven.
The food processor helps speed up prep time for the turkey meatball recipe instead of wasting time and labor chopping up the onion, garlic, and herbs by hand. Once chopped, add the herb mixture into the mixing bowl with the rest of the meatball ingredients, mix, scoop, and fry.
Add 1-inch pieces to the food processor and remove large stems for better blending.
Blend to coarsely chopped pieces to ensure incorporation to distribute the flavor evenly.
Mix everything in a stainless steel bowl to prevent sticking.
Use your hands to combine everything well.
Leave enough space to ensure even cooking. Crowding can cause steaming.
Refrigerate in a glass air-tight container to keep them fresh longer.
Busy Folks: Become a better home cook with tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. You'll also find more detailed steps for the instructions above.
- Quick Seasoning - You can also use Italian seasoning to substitute herb seasonings.
Change the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Food Processor - Used to small chop the garlic, jalapeno, parsley, and onion quicker for the turkey meatball recipe. If you do not have a food processor, you can small chop by hand. If you are looking for a food processor, I suggest the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper. Also, it's super easy to use with a simple press down, and now the new model comes with a drizzle basin, great for making dressings and pesto.
- Mixing Bowl - A medium mixing bowl will be large enough to combine all the ingredients.
- Medium (2.6 tablespoons) stainless steel scoop - I brought the Fayomir Cookie Scoop Set, which comes with three, and you would use the medium-sized one, which is about two tablespoons.
- Refrigerator - To store in the refrigerator, you can place the meatballs in a shallow 2-inch pan to cool down quickly. Then store in an air-tight sealing container. They will last up to four days.
- Freezer - First, follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Then you can place it in a labeled, airtight container or freezer-sealing bag in the freezer.
Serve them with a side of rice and vegetables, in a pita, as a flatbread wrap or pizza, or even in soup. Such as, try serving them with Easy Spiced Brown Rice with Quinoa, steamed broccoli, Harissa Carrot Salad, cumber, and tomato salad with fresh lemon tahini sauce.
Also, use them to make a pita sandwich with hummus with Quick Zhug Sauce. Alternatively, try a Turkey Meatball Wrap with fresh tomatoes, zhug, olives, feta cheese, pickled vegetables, and tzatziki sauce on a whole wheat flatbread.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kofta recipes differ slightly depending on the Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian, and European regions. For example, you'll find them prepared in Turkey, all the way to Lebanon. The word itself means pounded meat, from the Urdu language.
You'll notice the different variations and form shapes into balls or cylinder shapes on a metal rod. However, one constant thing is using ground lamb or beef mixed with herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, parsley, and mint. The mixture is then shaped into small balls before being grilled or baked until perfectly cooked.
Ground turkey is a great healthy alternative to beef! Therefore, these make great low-calorie meatballs that are healthy, easy to make, and robust in flavor. It's lean and packed with protein, making it perfect for those looking to watch their waistline. Not only that, but it's incredibly versatile in the kitchen. Making them a win for meal prep - you can use them in everything from burgers to tacos.
Use a perfect combination of binders, such as eggs and panko. Panko is Japanese breadcrumbs that are lighter than traditional breadcrumbs that can be lower in sugar and sodium. So you get the binding without the extra stuff you don't want. Also, when combining the ingredients, ensure there are no areas with only turkey meat. You want to ensure every piece is evenly seasoned to make excellent meatballs.
You can oil the rack with avocado oil if needed to prevent any sticking.
Zesting is the process of peeling only the skin of the citrus fruit without the white flesh, referred to as pith. For example, the skin contains aromatic oils and is an excellent addition to recipes to intensify the flavors of a dish. A fine grater is the most convenient way to obtain the zest of the citrus fruit, usually referred to as zester or a Microplane. Visit Cook's Notebook: Zesting to learn more.
Oils that can withstand high heat at 400 degrees or more before smoking. I recommend Avocado or Canola Oils for the air fryer. Visit Cook's Notebook: High Smoke Point Oil to learn more.
Looking for other Mediterranean recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other Mediterranean recipes like this? Try these:
Mouthwatering Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Pine Nuts Turkey Meatballs
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium jalapeno cut into large chunks
- 1 bunch of parsley 1-inch of the bottom stem removed
- ½ cup onion large chunks
- 1 pound ground turkey 93% lean, 7% fat
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- Save time in the kitchen: Read the instructions thoroughly, then gather and prep all your ingredients before cooking! Learn Prepping Tips.
- Make Seasoning: Small chop the garlic, jalapeno, parsley, and onion in a food processor.
- Make Mixture: In a medium 3-quart mixing bowl, add all the ground turkey, egg, panko, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, turmeric, cumin, lemon juice, lemon zest, including the processed herb mixture, and combine well.
- Set Air Fryer or Oven: Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and set the cooking timer for 10 minutes. If using the oven, preheat to 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Form: Using a medium (2.6-tablespoon) stainless steel scoop, about 1 & ¾-inch in width, scoop and form equal size balls, about 15 pieces.
- Cook: When the air fryer is ready, place it directly in the basket or on an air fryer liner, equally spacing them out about half an inch. If using the oven, bake for 20 minutes on a half-sheet pan with a rack. You might have to back to two bathes in the air fryer.
- Rest: When they are golden brown and the internal temperature is safely around 165 degrees Fahrenheit, remove them from the air fryer or oven. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes before consuming.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.