Lemon Whole-Grain Linguine with Turkey Meatballs

The meatballs are the star of this comforting high-fiber dish. Make them on their own and serve as a mini appetizer or add them to your favorite pasta recipe. For moister, more flavorful meatballs, be sure to use ground turkey, not ground turkey breast.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Nutrition Info
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Cooking spray 

1 pound lean ground turkey (about 94 percent lean)

1/2 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten 

1/3 cup grated yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion) 

1/2 cup grated Parmesan 

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil plus 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

2 large cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

10 ounces whole-grain linguine or spaghetti

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice)


  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Add the turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, chopped basil, oregano, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes to a large bowl and mix with your hands until evenly combined. Form the mixture into 24 meatballs (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) and place them on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced. Spray the meatballs with cooking spray and roast until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes, turning each meatball over about halfway through.
  3. Meanwhile, add the linguine to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Strain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.
  4. Bring the reserved pasta water, cream and oil to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the linguine and toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and meatballs and toss to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/8 teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt if needed.
  5. Transfer the linguine and meatballs to four large pasta bowls or a large rimmed platter. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and torn basil.