Slow cooker recipes are perfect for meal prepping and multi-tasking. I happened to be doing two of those things the first time I made this recipe. My workweek lunch meal prep coincided with wash day one Sunday afternoon and, if you know anything about thick, 4c, natural hair then you know that washing it is no quick task. I had recently received a package of lean ground turkey from Jennie-O so into the slow cooker it would go, I decided. Meatballs are a good go-to option for meal prep and I’ve previously shared these pesto parmesan meatballs and honey fire meatballs (both made in the slow cooker) but wanted something with sauce–especially since I’m trying to pump the brakes on my pasta consumption in preparation for swimsuit season. 🙂 The slow cooker turkey meatballs in marinara sauce you see here today came together quickly, easily, and with just a teeny bit of prep. You 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).
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.
These 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 your preference AND this recipe doubles beautifully if you need to make a larger portion. 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 for you on the Mains page like this spicy chipotle skillet meal and this easy sheet pan turkey meatloaf dinner.
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 this one on the blog. Thanks for reading!
P.S. More easy meals I’ve made with Jennie-O:
- Lunchtime Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- Spicy One-Pot Sausage and Spinach Pasta
- Homemade Turkey Burgers & Fries
- Festive Thanksgiving Appetizer Board
Easy turkey meatballs made even easier in a slow cooker of your favorite marinara sauce
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3/4 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
- 3/4 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.
This recipe doubles easily!