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kind-of swedish meatballs – no sauce needed

February 11, 2013

Guest Post by Mama Zucchini

The delicious recipe for Sesame Spiced Turkey Meatballs, initiated by one of my amazing children, inspired me to create another recipe for another kind of meatball. You’ll see why I was inspired and how it happens for our family.

Tori and I share the same placement in the family…both youngest children…always feeling that we missed out on the lived family history that our older siblings enjoyed with our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts… you get the picture. This compels us to ask the elders to tell and retell the family stories, the family shared traits and to delve deeper than others before us have. In an Italian family stories take place at family gatherings like holidays, celebrations, births and deaths. All of which require food.

We find ourselves through family and re-live the family through memories, many of which are food memories. Just try to deviate from certain dishes on our holiday celebrations and the e-mails fly faster than a speeding bullet. We are allowed to introduce new items but do not dare try to replace a family favorite like stuffed artichokes on a holiday.  Each recipe has a story, at least one, and the stories are told over and over again.  While we experiment with the recipes to create new favorites and discard the failed attempts for new and better, the core of what that recipe represents remains intact.

Meatballs are one of the core Italian recipes. They were always included in the sauce (AKA gravy for some) that we woke up to on Sunday morning. Many times, they were our breakfast, either provided by Mom or carefully stolen, sometimes before they were immersed in the sauce, sometimes with extra sauce and a slice of Italian bread causing us to salivate in anticipation of the afternoon family meal we dare not miss. This savory and delicious round circle of love and family that satisfies body and spirit with more iterations of itself than have yet to be discovered…I humbly add my small contribution to meatball mania and await yours with great anticipation.

Kind-of Swedish Meatballs

adapted from The Sweet Zucchini “Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs” and “Food & Wine Annual Cookbook, 2012”

yield: makes 80 rounded teaspoon size meatballs or 8 medium meatballs

¼ cup milk

1 Tbsp plain yogurt

3 slices whole wheat ciabatta bread, no crusts

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2lb ground turkey

1 large egg yolk

1 Tbsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper


1. Mix the milk and yogurt in a bowl; add the bread and submerge.

Let stand until saturated.

2. Heat oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the

allspice, ginger and nutmeg and cook for a minute.

3. Use a large bowl to combine the ground turkey with the egg yolk,

bread mixture and onion. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and blend.

4. These can be baked or fried. I made the latter.


I used leftover tzatziki sauce as a topping, served in a small dipping dish,

spring greens sprinkled with olive oil and lemon juice, topped with

tabouli and carrots. Both with a slice of Papa Zuchini’s whole wheat bread.

Meatballs with Carrots Meatballs with Tabouli

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