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Turkey Meatballs with Quick And Spicy Tomato Sauce and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

The spicy kick and multiple herbs in this sauce lend layers of flavor without fat. The carrot, onion and Parmesan add volume and moisture.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings (1 serving equals about 1 1/3 cups pasta and sauce, plus 2 meatballs)
  • Nutrition Info
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1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes, liquid included 

1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle en adobo and sauce, or more to taste

2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano leaves

1 sprig fresh rosemary 


1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves


Cooking spray

1 pound ground turkey meat

1 slice fresh whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, pulsed into crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1/2 cup finely grated carrot

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 box (16 ounces) whole-wheat spaghetti


  1. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil for pasta.;
  2. Make Sauce:
  3. In a 4-quart saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chipotles, oregano, rosemary, and salt. Bring all the ingredients to a low boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until liquid has evaporated slightly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. While sauce is cooking, make meatballs.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the turkey with all other ingredients in a large work bowl. Form into 2 1/2 -inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned and almost entirely cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, remove rosemary sprig from sauce and add fresh basil. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and cook additional 10 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened and meatballs have absorbed some of the sauce. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the whole-wheat spaghetti according to package directions.
  6. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and meatballs, toss and heat through over medium heat. Divide evenly among 4 pasta bowls and garnish with parsley and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan.
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