Turkey Meatballs with Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce & Whole Grain Linguine

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healthy pasta dish with turkey meatballs, lots of veggies, and whole grain linguine

  • Author: Kayla Howey



Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce

  • olive oil
  • 4 oz diced onions
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 6 basil leaves, torn

Turkey Meatballs

  • olive oil
  • 6 oz chopped onions
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp anise seed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 cracks course black pepper


  • olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded red kale
  • 8 mini kumato tomatoes, halved
  • ¾ lb whole grain linguine, cooked
  • 1 chunk parmesan
  • basil, to garnish


Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce

  1. Coat the bottom of a pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown, stirring often. Meanwhile, pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until chunky. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for a minute. Pour in the tomatoes and add the red pepper flakes. Let the sauce come to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes covered and then 30 minutes uncovered, stirring often. Stir in the basil at the end and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until serving.

Turkey Meatballs

  1. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, onion mixture, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, anise seed, salt and black pepper. Mix until incorporated. Form the ground turkey mixture into 8 meatballs. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Coat a large skillet with canola oil. Sear the meatballs on each side until golden brown. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.


  1. To the meatball pan, add the leeks, along with a little more olive oil if needed. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the red kale and kumato tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the kale is wilted and the tomatoes have softened. Add the tomato basil sauce to the pan, along with the seared meatballs. Simmer until the meatballs have finished cooking through. Stir in the pasta and freshly grate lots of parmesan cheese into the skillet. Stir to coat.

To Serve

  1. Serve the pasta with the meatballs on top and a spoonful of sauce over everything. Use a peeler to shave thick pieces of parmesan as a garnish. Finish with a sprinkling of basil.


  • I usually make a double or triple batch of the sauce so I can use it in other meals during the week. If you don’t get through it all, you can freeze it for the next time you want some homemade tomato sauce.