Turkey Meatballs are simple to make, delicious to eat, and are grain free! You can make this recipe in either your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot for an easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love!
*Recipe has been updated with new photos and Instant Pot instructions
This goes down as one of Amy’s favorite dinner recipes. And I have A LOT of dinner recipes. The sauce is boss, I can’t get enough!!! Luckily, it’s also a HUGE hit with everyone in the family. With summertime under way, and this mama not wanting to heat up the oven or stove, these meatballs are a lifesaver! Definitely a dinner I make all the time.
And….If you still need to jump on the Instant Pot train, DO IT!!! I use mine all the time and it is a lifesaver. The Instant Pot that I love is this one.
If any of my Paleo or Gluten Free friends ever try to eat or buy meatballs, you’ll notice that they almost ALWAYS contain breadcrumbs. It drives me crazy, really. I love all the spices, but can do without the many additives and fillers in most store bought meatballs. These meatballs are without the crap, but full of taste! These can be made pretty quickly, and the best part is they slow cook in a delicious and easy marinara sauce all day to let the flavors meld and develop. One of my favorite ingredients in any italian meat recipe is to add in sausage. I used turkey sausage in casing, and cut the casing to get it out. Ground turkey sausage is also a great option, but not always easy to find.
Typical italian spices in this recipe include: basil, oregano, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, and onion powder. I used almond meal as a grain free binding agent, and also added an egg to make sure they hold together. You will start by mixing together the almond meal and spices, and then mixing the egg into the meat. My meatballs were pretty large, about 2 inches in diameter:
One of the most important aspects of this recipe is that you MUST let them brown for about 1 minute per side on a skillet before transferring them to a crockpot. Otherwise the meat will fall apart. You don’t need to cook them, they will do that in the slow cooker. The sauce is made up of my favorite canned San Marzano tomatoes, 1/2 large onion, minced garlic, and splash of red wine vinegar. I pull out the onion once the recipe is done, but feel free to keep it in the sauce. It tastes so delicious after cooking several hours!
Serve with spaghetti squash, plain, or my gluten-free friends can use brown rice quinoa spaghetti noodles. Trader Joe’s has one that is a favorite around here!
Slow Cooker Paleo Turkey Meatballs
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 lb turkey sausage ground or in casing
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 egg beaten
- 28 oz San Marzano crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- Heat your oven to broil.
- In a large bowl, mix together both ground turkey and sausage until well blended.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and almond meal. Add mixture to the meat.
- With your hands, mix together the spices and meat until well incorporated. Add in beaten egg and continue to mix well.
- Form meat mixture into large meatballs (about 1.5-2 inches in diameter).
- Place meatballs on a large cookie sheet. Broil for just 2-3 minutes, enough to allow the meatballs to stay together when thrown in the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot.
- For the Slow Cooker:
- Add meatballs to slow cooker.
- Top meatballs with tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, and vinegar.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- Serve plain with fresh basil, or with spaghetti squash.
- For the Instant Pot:
- Select the Saute function on your Instant Pot.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil. Toss in chopped onion and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Select cancel.
- Now add in tomato sauce, vinegar, and salt. Then add meatballs.
- Secure the lid. Select the manual function an cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
- Use a natural release.
- Serve with fresh basil, and plain. Or serve over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.