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Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs…with all the spaghetti you can eat.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Because really, is there any other way to eat meatballs?

Well, yes, there is, but pasta is the best way to serve up saucy meatballs like these. And pasta with a good dusting of parmesan cheese, because if you’re eating meatballs and pasta, you might as well add on the parmesan too.

It’s kind of the only way.

Seeing as though it is finally Thursday, and the weekend is right around the corner (yes, yes, yes), I thought I’d share this plate full of cheesy meatballs and pasta with you guys. I don’t know what it is about Friday and Saturday nights, but they always leave me craving some kind of Italian like pasta or pizza. This is probably because when I was a kid my dad would make pasta and pizza on Friday and Saturday nights. In fact, there’s a recipe in the HBH cookbook titled Dad’s Friday Night Pasta. Have any of you tried it? It’s one of my all time favorite recipes. If you have not made it yet, I’d make it soon.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Moving along…

Today I’m sharing a lightened up version of everyone’s favorite Italian comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs!

To be honest, meatballs are not my most favorite food on the planet. I have never really loved them, but I think that’s mostly because I’m not a huge ground beef person. Which is probably why whenever I do make meatballs, they are never very traditional. Enter these ricotta meatballs made with ground turkey (or chicken), lots of ricotta cheese, and flavor packed sun-dried tomatoes. Nothing traditional about these, but oh my gosh, they are so good.

Especially when tossed with a quick homemade basil and white wine tomato sauce…along with pasta and parmesan, of course.

Again, again, SO GOOD.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

The meatballs balls are a pretty simple mix of ricotta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and parsley. There are no eggs and no breadcrumbs. The ricotta cheese acts as a binder, helping to hold the meatballs together, while flavoring them at the same time. While the ricotta is delicious in these meatballs, the key ingredient in this recipe is really the sun-dried tomatoes.

It’s probably no secret that I love sun-dried tomatoes. They hold so much delicious flavor and I often add them to my recipes to add in an extra layer of color and flavor. The tomatoes not only add flavor, but the oils in them help to keep the lean ground turkey from drying out, which is awesome seeing as most of the time meatballs can tend to be on the dry side.

To keep things easy and simple, I prefer to bake my meatballs rather than pan-fry. This just creates less of a mess, it’s also much healthier. Plus I don’t have to stand over the stove and tend to tiny meatballs for thirty minutes. Trust me, baking is the way to go.

While the meatballs bake up in the oven, I like to make a quick tomato sauce using ingredients straight outta my pantry. It’s amazing what a couple of cans of good San Marzano tomatoes, some white wine, and a few handfuls of fresh basil can do.

Put it all together, add some pasta, and a few gratings of fresh parmesan, and dinner is done. Simple, yummy, and a pretty healthy…ish.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories Per Serving: 228 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken
  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup marinated oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 cans (28 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • spaghetti, for serving

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
    2. Add the turkey, ricotta, parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup basil, the parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a bowl. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into 2 tablespoon size balls (will make 10-12 meatballs), placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside, but not yet cooked through on the inside.
    3. To a large pot set over medium heat, add the tomatoes - crushing them by hand as you add them, the wine, remaining 2 cloves garlic, oregano, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stir in the meatballs and cook stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup basil. 
    4. Divide the pasta among plates and spoon the meatballs and sauce over the pasta. Top with fresh basil. 

Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com #pasta #Italian #easy #healthy

Now, is it Friday yet?  I can’t wait to eat all the turkey meatballs and pasta?!?! Soon. Soon.

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Comments

  1. I am prepping for a big friend dinner later in the week and trying to do some “pre-cooking”. Can the meat balls be made/baked in advance and then finished off in the sauce day of? If so, how many days in advance can this be done?

    1. Hey Cristina,
      Honestly, I would probably assemble toe meatballs and then freeze them uncooked. I think this will prevent them from drying out in the sauce. You can then thaw and finish the recipe off the day of. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  2. Question: is it two 28 ounce cans of tomatoes, or a total of 28 ounces of canned tomatoes? The recipe isn’t clear. And unfortunately I’m cooking it right now!🤷🏼‍♀️🥴

    1. Hey Karen,
      The recipe calls for 2-28 ounce cans of tomatoes. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    This is yet another winning recipe from HBH! The meatballs are lovely and tender with a rich, yet fresh, flavour. We had them with a spaghetti squash and it was just right.

    Thank you for keeping my meal rotation fresh and interesting.

    1. Hey Darcy,
      Happy Wednesday! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    We love this recipe as well as the ‘meatball bake’ using red lentil pasta; and have made it several times. Is it possible to cook the meatballs and freeze them before putting them in the sauce?
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. Hey Lydia,
      Awesome! I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed and truly appreciate you giving it a try! Sure, I think that would work well for you! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    While I have yet to find a HBH recipe I don’t love, this one tops the cake!
    The meatballs are light, but filling. The sauce is amazing – I made the recipe from Super Simple with the pasta in it. Cannot wait to make again!

    1. Hey Johanna,
      Fantastic! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks so much for making it! Happy Friday:) xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Incredibly delicious! I used feta instead of ricotta as it was all I had on hand – still turned out amazing! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hey Spencer,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Another HBH victory! I made this last night and it was delicious. The whole pan was gone by lunch today, and there are only three of us here! I did lighten it up slightly by using parts kim ricotta and part skim mozzarella with no problem. Very easy, and very little to clean up!! This will be part of our regular dinner rotation. Will try chicken tortilla soup recipe tonight! Thanks!

    1. Hey Renae,
      It is 28 oz per can. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  8. Thanks for the delicious sounding/looking recipe! I love your food photography!
    I am fine with white wine, but in a pinch, can I use Marsala or red wine instead?
    Thanks!

    1. Hey Camille,
      Yes either of those would work or chicken broth! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  9. 4 stars
    I made these meatballs the other night for my brother and sister in law. I used fresh basil from our garden. I’m in love with basil 🌿 so any recipe I get to use it in is muy bueno.

    I think I’d like to try this recipe with beef. It was a great recipe for a turkey meatball but I found myself wishing it was the real deal.

    I also eyed some of your Thai looking recipes the other day so I’ll be trying those soon as well. Keep up the good work!

  10. I dont have any ricotta cheese – can you recommend something else? Mozzarella or should I use breadcrumbs? Thank you!

    1. Hi Therese,
      I would recommend using an egg. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  11. 1 star
    I just made these from the new Super Simple cookbook recipe which is slightly different than the one posted here. This one may be better as the meatballs cook at 450. In the Super Simple recipe it calls for 375 temperature and the meatballs release a ton of liquid and do not crisp. The overall texture was mealy and lacked flavor. I would not make these again. Im really surprised by how these turned out because I’ve loved all other HBH recipes!

    1. Hi Janelle! I am really sorry to hear that! Are there any questions I could help you with or anything that could have gone wrong? Please let me know! xTieghan

    1. Hi Melissa, yes the pasta should be included. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  12. I see sundried tomatoes and I click. This is such a comforting meal and can be a quick weeknight meal if you freeze the meatballs in batches and then just heat up in sauce when you want.

  13. I made this today, and it is AMAZING! I’m not a big pasta fan, but this a keeper! It is full of flavor and surprisingly light. You won’t feel stuffed on a hot summer night, even though this is “spaghetti and meatballs.” The sauce is fresh and not the typical heavy spaghetti sauce. The meatballs are also light, tender and so brightly flavorful. They were also the easiest, quickist meatballs I’ve ever rolled, likely due to the ricotta. They browned nicely on parchment paper, but I did decide to drain some of the liquid off the pan to allow them to crisp up a bit more before adding to the sauce. I followed the recipe exactly (be sure to use FRESH basil!), and doubled it. Perfect! As always, though, it took me a bit longer to prepare because of the chopping of ingredients. I highly recommend giving this one a try; you won’t be disappointed.

    1. It is the best not feeling like a pasta dish is heavy! I am so glad you enjoyed this Beth! Thank you for trying it! xTieghan

  14. 5 stars
    I made these but my husband doesn’t eat ground turkey so I used half Italian sausage half ground beef and doubled the the quantity.
    These were the best ever!!!! Thanks for the recipe.

  15. 5 stars
    I LOVED these meatballs SO MUCH that i made them twice in one week! I love the ricotta in them! They’re definitely getting added to the rotation 😉

  16. 5 stars
    YUM! I had some leftover sun-dried tomatoes from the super green salad of yours that I made. This recipe was so delicious! My husband raved about the meatballs. Thank you for another superb recipe!

    1. Sure! That will be just fine. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! xTieghan

    1. Hey Leah, it is 2x (28 ounce) cans of tomatoes. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! xTieghan

  17. 5 stars
    I love these meatballs so much ? I’ve always for no particular reason been lukewarm on meatballs and this recipe woke me up. As a very amateur cook, this has fast become one of my favorite things to make for friends n fam. So thank you!

    Question though: I first made these in March when you posted and they were SO good out of the oven but now it’s reached 90 degrees daily where I live, and I want to make them again in my cast iron enamel pot (if I turn on the oven, my small home will get hot af.) You mentioned tending to these on the stove – if I used a dutch oven, would it take around the same time, 30 minutes?

    1. Hey Kim! I would say it should take 20-25 minutes on the stove top in your dutch oven. just roll them around every 5 minutes or so to make sure they are not sticking and re cooking evenly. Please let me know if you have other questions. So glad you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  18. Can I use red wine instead for the sauce? Do you think it would still be good? I have a leftover bottle I need to use up.

    1. Red wine will be great! Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  19. 5 stars
    This recipe is great! I have made it twice and everyone loved it! I mixed in a little homemade pesto into the meatballs as well.

  20. 2 stars
    Hi I noticed when you added the tomatoes in the pot you didn’t add any oil and garlic or onions in it first

    1. No, there is no need for those ingredients in this recipe. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  21. Hi Tieghan!
    Do you have any substation recommendations for the white wine?
    Also, I got your cookbook in the mail last month and I cannot say enough good things about it! My sister and I do a weekly recipe swap and we joked the other day that it should just be a HBH recipe swap because the last 6 recipes have been from your book!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Leah

    1. HI! You can use an equal amount of chicken broth. So happy you and your sister are enjoying the cookbook! 🙂

      Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  22. 5 stars
    I’m a meatball connoisseur (that’s kinda scary to admit out loud) and these are by far the BEST meatballs I’ve ever eaten. Goodbye old traditional beef meatball recipe. I’m in love with another and never coming back!!

  23. Quick question – for the tomatoes, do you mean 2 cans that are 28oz each? Or 2 cans for a total of 28 oz? Thanks so much – I can’t wait to try these!

  24. 5 stars
    Hi Tieghan, we made these meatballs on Saturday night and LOVED them. I love the use of the sun dried tomato to brighten them up, such a good addition! Small world coincidence, we knew we wanted a good turkey meatball recipe, something warm and cozy after a day of skiing at Keystone and my husband was looking up recipes, came across yours. I found myself looking at your blog this afternoon and just read that you live in Summit County, too! We made these epic meals while at my parents house in Silverthorne… how neat is that!? Keep up the amazing food and photos. xo

    1. Hi Janna! That is so awesome, I am really glad you enjoyed this recipe and hope you enjoy others as well! Thank you!!

  25. 2 stars
    I have made some of your recipes before and loved them. This one – not so much. I picked up ground chicken instead of turkey first off. I figured that the ricotta must go in the meatball mixture so I added it. The meatballs were VERY soft and didn’t have a whole lot of flavor even though I followed your recipe exactly. The sauce was very acidic so I added a pinch of sugar. If I try this again, I think I will add some olive oil to the sauce to round it off. Maybe I’m so used to ready made sauce that I don’t know a good fresh sauce if I taste it? I’m going to give this another try in a couple of weeks using ground turkey and a heavier hand with the salt. Oh well…

    1. Hi Kim! I am so sorry this did not work out for you. Please let me know if it works the next time you try it or if you have any questions regarding this recipe! Thank you!

  26. This looks amazingly yummy and balanced.. I have now found a way of eating my meat balls and liking them at the same time… thanks for the recipe.

  27. I’ve tried a few turkey meatball recipes, and these are at the top. I really like the flavor that the sun-dried tomatoes and basil bring to the party. I’ll definitely make these again.

  28. Can these meatballs be prepared separately from the sauce? How would you cook them? Would you suggest freezing meatballs after shaping them or after cooking them?

    1. I would freeze the meatballs after cooking and then just stir into the sauce before serving. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  29. 5 stars
    Loved the meatballs, very flavorful. And this was quick and easy. Love all your recipes. Thanks for all the hardwork you put into creating such great food.

  30. Going to make these today and freeze some as I am due with our first baby any day and think it would be an easy meal for those busy newborn days!
    Also, had people over last week and made your Dad’s Friday Night Pasta. I loved all the flavours, however, and this may have been totally my fault, the spaghetti ended up really crispy. We actually had to cut it with a knife and fork. Did I just overcook it?? Or is it supposed to be crispy?
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Kim! The pasta is supposed to be crispy one the edges, but softer towards the cents. I actually use a fork and knife to cut it as well. If you prefer a softer pasta, just bake it 10 minutes or so less. Please let me know if you have other questions. Glad you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  31. So in love with your lightened up version of spaghetti and meatballs! The meatballs sound so delicious! I would totally love these over some gluten free spaghetti noodles! Perfect healthy comfort food for the weekend!

    1. These look wonderful and I’m going to give it a try. But I may sub cottage cheese for the ricotta (i think it’s higher protein/lower fat). Have you ever tried that kind of substitution?

      Thanks
      Elizabeth

    2. Hi! It is 2 (28 ounce) cans of tomatoes. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

    1. I have not tried that, but I think it could work. Again, I have not tired it so I cannot say for sure. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  32. 5 stars
    Just wanted to let you know your food photos are excellent. Much sharper and better composed than most blogs.They make your recipes look very delicious.

  33. I can’t wait to try this! I am not a huge fan of sun dried tomatoes on their own but love them hidden in things! They always provide a secret boost of flavor!! Pumped about this one!

  34. 5 stars
    When do you add the ricotta? I guess it is at the same time as the other ingredients in the meatballs and combine before making the balls.This is an omission I’m sure. Sounds great though.

    1. The ricotta is added with the turkey. recipe is fixed. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  35. Love your blog and just got the cookbook. It is stunning. I was wondering if there is any substitute for ricotta here? We don’t mix meat and dairy.
    P.S. I made the crinkle top brownies with my six year old son last week and they were insanely delicious and so easy.

    1. HI Jess, you can omit the ricotta, but I do worry the meatballs might be on the dry side. Could use use a vegan ricotta? Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

      So happy you loved the brownies!

  36. Trying this evening. Looks awesome, but as an FYI the ricotta is not in the instructions. I assume they are part of the meatball mixture. Thank you.

  37. On my way to the store to purchase everything needed for this recipe. We usually make turkey meatballs, but this idea sounds fabulous. Can’t wait to make this for our Sunday Supper, along with homemade pasta and homemade garlic bread.
    Thank you so much.

  38. These meatballs sound and look amazing, Tieghan! I bake turkey meatballs and make homemade sauce all the time, and I keep them in the freezer in single serving dishes so I can pull out 2-3 meatballs with sauce as my lunch at least one day a week. This has been a great option as I try to boost protein and watch carbs. When I do add the carbs, I roast a spaghetti squash and load it up with the meatballs and sauce. Will definitely be using this recipe the next time I make meatballs – I love the idea of the ricotta being the binder instead of breadcrumbs. Homerun again!

  39. Is the ricotta cheese mixed in with the ground turkey? I did not see it in the instructions. Thanks.

    1. Yes, the ricotta is mixed into the turkey. Recipe is fixed. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  40. 5 stars
    I love this lightened up version Tieghan! Perfect for any night of the week!

  41. Our boys would love on meatballs. Love the flavors here so definitely need to make these for them.

  42. I am a fan of meat balls or meat loaf. I really can’t stand the thoughts of either in my mouth. I do love ground beef though.

    The added ricotta and sun dried tomatoes does make it more appealing. I don’t like ground turkey either. Can’t get past the smell of something I made with it one time. HA!!

    How did Red place in Big Air? I know he didn’t win a medal but haven’t heard how he did.

  43. Yum!. I’m totally with you on the meatballs, they’re not something I make often. Although the ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes in these is totally a must try. Sounds amazing! Thanks for another awesome recipe Tieghen!

    1. Yes, it gets mixed in with the turkey meat. Recipe is all fixed. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  44. I agree! Baking meatballs is definitely the way to go! I am an avid meal prepper and always have a batch of turkey meatballs in the oven to add to lunches through the week! But I LOVE the idea of adding ricotta and turkey together!

  45. Unlike you, I make meatballs all the time (husband and I love them) and I always have some in my freezer for an impromptu meal. Like you, I bake them too – indeed healthier and cleaner. Your meatballs look delicious! I don’t find turkey very easily here in Brazil, so I might try these with ground chicken.