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Recipe Resuscitation: A Healthier Spaghetti & Meatballs | @foodiephysician

Quinoa Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs

My lightened up version of the classic dish uses multigrain spaghetti and flavorful turkey meatballs that are baked in the oven.

Course Entree
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8
Author The Foodie Physician


  • 1 lb. whole grain spaghetti


  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts cut off
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 package (1.2 lbs.) ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1⁄3 cup grated yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 (28-oz) cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the quinoa spaghetti according to package directions. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.
  3. To make the meatballs, soak the bread in the milk in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine the ground turkey, garlic, grated onion, parsley, egg, cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Remove the bread from the milk and squeeze out any excess liquid. Break the bread up into small pieces and add it to the turkey mixture. Mix to combine being careful not to overmix the meat. Form the meat into approximately 16 meatballs, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are baking, make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, another 2-3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, red pepper flakes, and oregano and stir to combine well. Simmer while the meatballs are baking.
  6. When the meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and add them to the sauce. Cover the pan and simmer them in the sauce about 15 minutes, until they are completely cooked through. Stir in the fresh basil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  7. To serve, toss the cooked spaghetti with the tomato sauce and place in a large serving bowl. Arrange the turkey meatballs on top. Garnish with sprigs of fresh basil. Serve with crusty Italian bread and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the side.