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Kalyn's Kitchen

Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs

These Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs are so tasty and they have added nutrition from hemp hearts. And these tasty meatballs are also gluten-free and South Beach Diet Phase One! Use Turkey Recipes for more recipe ideas like this one.

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Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

When I first tried these Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbsback in 2009, ground turkey was something I’d been working hard to gain an appreciation for. Now I’ve been using ground turkey in meatballs and meatloaf for quite a few years, and these meatballs with lots of ground herbs and Romano cheese are still one of my favorites.

In this updated version I added a small amount of hemp hearts to the recipe to bump up the nutrition, but that’s completely optional. The meatballs are a little soft to work with, and you do have to watch them so the cheese doesn’t burn when you’re frying them, but if you want a flavorful meatball that’s Phase One, low-carb, and gluten-free, I think this recipe is a keeper!

(This recipe was updated October 2012, with better photos, better instructions, and the addition of Hemp Hearts for added nutrition.)

Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

Start by mixing together granulated garlic, rubbed sage, dried rosemary, and dried thyme in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grinding until it’s in fairly small pieces. Then add that to the ground turkey, along with 1/2 cup finely grated Romano (or Parmesan-Romano) cheese, hemp hearts (if using), Worcestershire sauce, and an egg. Mix all the ingredients together with clean hands. Then use your hands to roll the mixture into meatballs. You can make about 30 small meatballs or 18-20 larger ones, but I went for the slightly larger ones so I didn’t have so many to keep turned in the frying pan.

Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and cook the meatballs until they are well-browned and done clear through, about 15 minutes. It’s important to keep turning them often so the cheese doesn’t burn, so I started with about 2/3 of the meatballs and added more as they started to get done. (I used an instant read meat thermometer to make sure they were done, but you can also cut one in half.)

Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Ideas with Ground Turkey:

Healthy and Tasty Turkey Meatballs from Cucina Bella
Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Baked Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs from Cookin’ Canuck
Turkey Pesto Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Turkey Meatballs with Tomatoes and Basil from Simply Recipes
Thai-Inspired Turkey Mini-Meatball Lettuce Wraps from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs from Skinnytaste
Ground Turkey and Quinoa Patties with Mint, Cumin, and Yogurt-Tahini Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs

These Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs are so tasty and they have added nutrition from hemp hearts.


  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup Romano (or Parmesan-Romano) cheese (You don’t need freshly grated cheese for this recipe.)
  • 1/4 cup raw hemp seed (optional, this makes the meatballs more nutritious. I used Hemp Hearts.)
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic (I would not substitute garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp. teaspoon rubbed sage (or less)
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary (or less)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (or less)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 tsp. olive oil, for frying the meatballs


  1. Take ground turkey out of the refrigerator, put into medium sized plastic bowl, and let come to room temperature.
  2. While turkey is coming to room temperature, put granulated garlic, dried sage, dried rosemary, and dried thyme in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind until it’s fairly fine. (If you’re making these meatballs for kids I might use a smaller amount of herbs, especially the sage and rosemary, since those are fairly strong flavors.)
  3. When meat is room temperature, sprinkle ground herbs, Romano or Parmesan-Romano cheese, and hemp hearts over the meat.
  4. Then add the egg and Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Wash hands.
  6. Then use your hands to mix the herbs, cheese, and egg into the ground turkey. (Try not to overmix, just squeeze together until it’s combined.)
  7. Use a spoon to scoop out same-size pieces of meat and form into individual meatballs by rolling them between your hands. (The mixture will be soft, but it will firm when the turkey is cooked.)
  8. When all meatballs are rolled, heat 1 T (3 tsp.) olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. (Add the additional tsp. of olive oil as they cook if needed.)
  9. Fry meatballs over medium heat, turning every few minutes to a new side, until all meatballs are well browned and done through, about 15 minutes.
  10. Cut one in half to be sure the inside is done, or test with a meat thermometer to be sure the temperature is at least 165F for ground turkey.
  11. Serve hot.


I love to eat these with Tzatziki Sauce or Market Street Grill Creamy Cucumber Sauce.

Recipe adapted from Healthy and Tasty Turkey Meatballs at Cucina Bella.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs are a good choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and it’s great for other low-carb eating plans. I have not found any definitive information about Hemp Hearts for the South Beach diet, but they have hardly any carbs, so I am assuming they would be an approved ingredient for South Beach and low-carb eating plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

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63 comments on “Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs”

  1. Hi Kalyn. This recipe looks amazing. Have you ever tried making the meatballs, but cooking them in the slow cooker with a low sugar tomato sauce?

  2. Granulated garlic is a dried garlic product that has a little more texture and better flavor than garlic powder. I used it so as to not add more liquid to this, but I think finely minced garlic would be fine.

  3. I'm not familiar with "granulated garlic". Never seen such a thing in the grocery store. Do you make it yourself? Or can I just use minced garlic?
    Pam Kitchen

  4. Made these tonight and they were good! (Like all your recipes). Toned down the spices for the sake of the kids, like you recommended. Mild flavor, but very nice. Made a batch of your tzatziki to go along with them, and some roasted broccoli. Day 13 of phase 1 and eating great thanks to you! Nine pounds lost in week one…wondering how it's possible to lose weight while enjoying my food so much!

  5. Yes, the blend will be fine.

  6. I'm planning on making these this week, but when I went grocery shopping tonight I could only find straight parmesan and a parmesan/romano/asiago blend. Do you think the blend would work ok?

  7. So glad you liked it so much!

  8. I went back to the original recipe and bravely tried it using just turkey and all the other ingredients as is…I say bravely because I am not a big fan of turkey. Once again I got the thumbs up from the kids. They are so easy to make and it pleases me that I know exactly what goes into them and that they taste delicious too. Now, if there was just a way to sneak more veggies in there to get them by my son…..
    Thanks Kalyn!

  9. Thanks Deb and Becky!

    Mamacita, glad you enjoyed them.

    JJ, your version sounds great. I will definitely be experimenting more with flax and hemp!

  10. I used equal amounts of ground turkey and ground pork, dried oregano and a small amount of crushed red chili pepper inplace of the other herbs. Served them with spicy pasta sauce. My teenage kids loved them. I like that the recipe included hemp. I look forward to more of your recipes having hemp and flax in them.

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