Cranberry-Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Congratulations, kids. You have officially made it through the holiday season.

“Made it through”? What does that even mean? I kind of don’t like that phrase. The holidays – and all the stress and cookies that come along with them – are a time to enjoy and savor.

I’m a little sad that there will be no random cookies hanging out in my office next week, but looking forward to longer stretches of good eating. In other words, I was not so good about sticking to my own “only splurge on the actual holidays and don’t eat treats during the week” rule. Fortunately, there were standby healthy meals to balance out all the cookies. Like these turkey meatballs glazed in a sweet cranberry sauce laced with balsamic vinegar and cinnamon. Given the number of times we ate them in November and December, I’d have to argue that they might be just as addicting as cookies.

We like them best served on a pile of smushed butternut squash (actually, that’s the only way we ever ate them.) “Smushed” butternut squash can be accomplished in two ways:

1) Roast cubes of butternut squash tossed with sliced onion, minced sage, salt and pepper, and olive oil till soft, then mash with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt. That’s the more time-consuming route.

2) For less time and effort, boil cubed squash till soft, then puree with some sage, salt and pepper, and a splash of vanilla almond milk.

3) I lied, there’s a third way, too. Heat up a package of frozen winter squash puree.

I fully expect these meatballs to help me get through the long winter ahead (yup, that’s definitely a more appropriate use of the phrase.) And therefore I’ve stocked my freezer with a few bags of cranberries while they’re still around. I suggest you do the same!

Cranberry-Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Printable Recipe

For the meatballs:

1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1/4 cup (56gm) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup plain oats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
freshly ground salt and pepper

For the sauce:
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract, or other sweetener to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands. Place the mixture into the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Spray a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray (or use a metal cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet.) Form the turkey mixture into twenty meatballs, and gently place on the pan. Broil for 3-4 minutes per side, until browned.

Meanwhile, place the cranberries, water, and sweetener in a large saute pan. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5-8 minutes, until most of the berries have popped and the mixture has thickened. Stir in the chicken balsamic vinegar and chicken broth and return to a boil.

Place the browned meatballs in the sauce along with the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for a few more minutes, until sauce has thickened.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 251.1
Total Fat: 9.7 g
Cholesterol: 133.1 mg
Sodium: 316.4 mg
Total Carbs: 13.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 26.5 g

This recipe is featured on Amy’s Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays for 1/4/2011, and on Brittany’s 1/9/2011 Seasonal Sunday feature at Real Sustenance.

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12 Responses to “Cranberry-Glazed Turkey Meatballs”

  1. 1

    Joanne — January 3, 2011 @ 5:37 pm Reply

    These seem kind of like a dream come true for me. Good thing I still have two bags of fresh cranberries in my fridge. I see a LOT of these in my future!

  2. 2

    Jen — January 3, 2011 @ 5:52 pm Reply

    Looks awesome Cara. I have almost all of the ingredients in the house so I think I'll give them a shot!

  3. 3

    That Girl — January 3, 2011 @ 6:00 pm Reply

    I love the idea of these on a squash puree, or even a soup!

  4. 4

    Jennifurla — January 3, 2011 @ 7:50 pm Reply

    These are very inticing, I will also miss people randomely baking and sharing.

  5. 5

    Kelly — January 3, 2011 @ 7:59 pm Reply

    I feel like I'm a bit behind, because my November and December were so hectic I am just now starting my random baking. I hope my co-workers won't mind.Those meatballs also look fantastic Cara – like the perfect sweet/savory mix.

  6. 6

    A. Rivera — January 3, 2011 @ 9:50 pm Reply

    I'm intrigued and will need to give these a try since I'm obsessed with cranberries!

  7. 7

    grace — January 4, 2011 @ 3:16 pm Reply

    the meatballs are great, but more than anything else, i'm smitten with the smushed squash. yum.

  8. 8

    Barbara — January 4, 2011 @ 3:18 pm Reply

    Yum. I'm loving this, Cara. And I have some cranberries too!

  9. 9

    Dawn — January 4, 2011 @ 4:55 pm Reply

    I love the smushed mashed butternut. I just did a mashed cauliflower that came out great. I like the meatball idea and will think of that next time I have ground meat. I just did mini meatloafs last night that came out well.

  10. 10

    Taste of Beirut — January 7, 2011 @ 12:35 am Reply

    What a brilliant idea to combine turkey meatballs and this vibrant cranberry sauce! all sitting on a golden bed of creamy squash. Can't say it gets better than this!

  11. 11

    Brittany — January 9, 2011 @ 6:46 pm Reply

    Oh woww!!!! Brilliant. Love this recipe. SO MUCH.can and I beg and plead that you link it up to my Seasonal Sunday Event. Because I think it was made for it. :) http://realsustenance.com/xo, Brittany

  12. 12

    Jen — April 5, 2011 @ 1:15 am Reply

    Looks awesome Cara. I have almost all of the ingredients in the house so I think I'll give them a shot!

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