I'm a fan of slow cooker recipes. And, if you're reading this post, you probably are, too. Or maybe you're just curious? Either way, welcome! For the curious among us, the convenience of slow cooking is a major key for me. Being able to let your food do its thing in the slow cooker without supervision is pretty much ideal for meal prepping and multi-tasking. I happened to be doing both of those things the first time I made today's recipe, slow cooker turkey meatballs (in marinara sauce).
My workweek lunch meal prep coincided with wash day one Sunday afternoon and, if you know anything about thick, coarse, 4c-textured, natural hair then you know that washing it is no quick task. It's called wash day for a reason! Anyway, I had recently received a package of lean ground turkey from Jennie-O so I made meatballs out of it and into the slow cooker they went. Meatballs work well for meal prep because you can just pair them with veggies and grains then you're done. To make them, simply form the meatballs then pile them and your favorite veggies into a slow cooker and pour your sauce of choice over top. Cover and cook then go about your business (like detangling, washing, and deep conditioning your hair).
I also love to make these pesto parmesan meatballs and honey fire meatballs (both made in the slow cooker) but wanted something with sauce this time around in order to get the feels of a pasta meal without the actual pasta. I've been trying to pump the brakes on my carb consumption a little bit in preparation for swimsuit season. 🙂 If you're on the same wave, load up on the vegetables. I also mix lots of spinach into the sauce. These slow cooker turkey meatballs in marinara sauce come together quickly, easily, and with just a teeny bit of prep. Easy is an understatement.
How to Serve Turkey Meatballs
Lean turkey can easily get dry if overcooked so you might be apprehensive about using it in a set-it-and-forget-it slow cooker recipe but the crock of the slow cooker and thick marinara sauce create the perfect environment for sealing in moisture. The result is perfectly juicy and flavorful meatballs perfect for pasta, sub sandwiches, and whatever else you can dream up. Of course, these slow cooker turkey meatballs in marinara sauce pair perfectly with pasta like spaghetti but there are many other ways to enjoy them. I used Rao's classic marinara sauce for this recipe and had the meatballs for workweek lunches with side salads. Another yummy option is to use a spicy sauce like fra diavalo and serve the meatballs over sweet potato spirals for a sweet and spicy play on spaghetti and meatballs.
Notes on Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
- Slow cooker turkey meatballs in marinara sauce are a great way to sneak in extra veggies if you have picky eaters or just need to trick yourself. 🙂 You can easily add carrots, kale, etc. to the sauce and chopped mushrooms to the meatballs.
- This recipe doubles and even triples beautifully if you need to make portions for a crowd.
- If you're looking for more ground turkey recipes, you've come to the right blog. I pretty much use ground turkey and chicken exclusively in place of ground beef and have a bunch of delicious (and easy) recipes like this spicy chipotle skillet meal and this easy sheet pan turkey meatloaf dinner. You should definitely peep those.
Let me know if you have any go-to recipes I should put a spin on or if you want to see more meal ideas like these slow cooker turkey meatballs in marinara sauce. As always, thanks for reading!
P.S. More easy meals I've made with Jennie-O products:
- Lunchtime Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- Spicy One-Pot Sausage and Spinach Pasta
- Homemade Turkey Burgers & Fries
- Festive Thanksgiving Appetizer Board
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg optional
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 16 ounces marinara sauce
- ¾ cup water
- parsley optional garnish
- In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, chili powder, sea salt, and black pepper until uniform. Form mixture into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter.
- Place meatballs in crock of slow cooker. Add garlic cloves, mushrooms, and spinach then pour marinara sauce and water over top.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for about 3 hours or until meatballs are cooked through and tender. Stir before serving in order to incorporate veggies throughout sauce.