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Low-Carb Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs

These low-carb and gluten-free turkey meatballs are so tasty and they have added nutrition from hemp hearts. And these tasty meatballs are also South Beach Diet Phase One!

Click here to PIN these tasty low-carb turkey meatballs!

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 Herbs back in 2009, ground turkey was something I’d been working hard to gain an appreciation for, since it’s low in saturated fat.  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.)

grinding herbs for Low-Carb and Gluten-Free 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. 

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

meat mixture for Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

Mix all the ingredients together with clean hands.

rolled meatballs for Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com
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.

cooking meatballs for Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

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.
 

meatballs cooked for Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com
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.)

Original photo for Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs found on KalynsKitchen.com

And just for laughs, here’s the original photo of the turkey meatballs from back in 2009, which looked a little too brown, although they definitely tasted good!

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

Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs
(Makes about 30 medium-sized meatballs or 18 larger ones, about 6 servings. Recipe adapted from Healthy and Tasty Turkey Meatballs at Cucina Bella.)

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:

Take ground turkey out of the refrigerator, put into medium sized plastic bowl, and let come to room temperature. 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.)

When meat is room temperature, sprinkle ground herbs, Romano or Parmesan-Romano cheese, and hemp hearts over the meat; then add the egg and Worcestershire sauce. Wash hands, 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.)

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.) 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.)

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. 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.

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

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South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:

Adding Romano or Parmesan-Romano cheese to the meatballs does add some fat, but I still think this is an acceptable choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and it’s great for other low-carb eating plans. Romano cheese is lower in fat than Parmesan, but if you can’t find it, Parmesan-Romano is a good substitute.  (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 ingredients.)

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?

I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn’t have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, 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.

More Healthy Ideas with Ground Turkey:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

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  

(I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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. 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.

  2. Thanks Deb and Becky!

    Mamacita, glad you enjoyed them.

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

  3. 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!

  4. So glad you liked it so much!

  5. 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?

  6. Yes, the blend will be fine.

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

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