*melody of I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow* I love meat balls– I loooove meeeaaat ballllsss! Yes, it’s true. And I’ll have to admit that Mexican meatballs (albondigas in Spanish) are definitely some of my favorites. They’re spicy, rich, and comforting.
And although there are many different interpretations of albondigas, healthy turkey meatballs is the name of the game today. Do these meatballs taste healthy? They most certainly do not. Are they packed with lean protein, whole grains, vitamins, and fiber? They most certainly are. I love it when that happens!
I also love the secret ingredient in these meatballs.
Wait for it– boiled egg. It may seem like a weird addition, but the boiled egg add a heartiness to the meatballs that makes them feel even more substantial. Not only that, but it’s a traditional albondigas ingredient. I would also venture to guess that you are going to have a glut of boiled eggs next week (ahem… Easter and Passover!) so you might want to keep this recipe in your back pocket.
And that sauce, tho. Even though the meatballs are clearly the star of this recipe, the sauce really makes it. It’s simple, with only 3 ingredients, but still delivers a mouthwatering flavor punch. That’s because it contains chipotles, one of my favorite ingredients of all times. These little smoky jalapenos are marinated in an adobo sauce, which has it’s own laundry list of ingredients including (more!) chiles, garlic, onion, vinegar, and oregano just to name a few. So despite the fact that this is an almost effortless addition, chipotles add a whole boatload of tastiness to the party.
Too little time? Try this hack. I know this may seem like a “no duh” tip, but I see this time saving opportunity passed up a lot, even by me. Bust out the invitations, pour the cocktails (and mocktails), it’s time for a meatball making party! That’s right, and everyone’s invited. Kids, in-laws, siblings, anyone you can sucker into making meatballs. Tony and I do this a lot when we have to make a ton of tamales. If you’re worried about children, or anyone for that matter, handling raw meat– just slap on some disposable food service grade latex gloves. Furthermore, this will enable you to make a ton of meatballs, which can be cooked and frozen for a quick meal later, saving you even more time.
When family gets together to make food, conversations start to happen, and a deeper appreciation for the meal develops. It’s a bonding experience. Don’t feel guilty about it, either, just share the meatballs with your victims and they will be none the worse for wear. The more you do this, the more your family will get used to it and maybe even look forward to it.
What are your favorite meatballs? Does your family participate in communal meal prep? We want to hear your stories. See you next time!
Healthy Turkey Albondigas Mexican Meatballs
- 1 slice wheat or white bread
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- ½ teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican
- 2 ½ teaspoons chicken bouillon, divided
- 2 boiled eggs, peeled and small diced
- 6 ½ cups cooked brown rice, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 large chipotle chiles canned in adobo, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the slice of bread in a large bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and mix with a fork until the bread becomes a paste. Add the turkey, oregano, ½ teaspoon of the chicken bouillon, boiled eggs, ½ cup of the brown rice, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, then form into 1-inch meatballs.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil followed by the meatballs, cooking in batches if needed. Brown the meatballs on all sides, watching them carefully so that they do not burn. Set aside.
- While the meatballs are browning, combine the tomato sauce, water, remaining 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon, and minced chipotles in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.
- After the meatballs are browned, drain any remaining fat from the skillet, then place the meatballs back in the skillet. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and simmer for 5 minutes over a medium-low heat to allow the flavors to develop even more.
- Heat the remaining 6 cups of brown rice in the microwave or in a saucepan with a bit of water over medium heat. Serve the albondigas meatballs with the hot brown rice and sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.