Baked spicy turkey meatballs with roasted cauliflower makes for the perfect sheet pan dinner. An easy midweek meal to throw in the oven when you're busy, prepare it 10 minutes and sit back whilst it bakes.
This baked spicy turkey meatball sheet pan that can easily be thrown in the oven is the perfect dinner for this time of year. These spicy turkey meatballs are healthy and seasoned with North African harissa paste which adds a lovely flavor. By spicy we mean spiced; to us, these aren't overly hot. If you love harissa, make sure to check out this wholesome fall grain salad too. Or if you want other salads, try our sweet potato kale salad or roast pumpkin salad with chorizo.
This recipe is full of Moroccan spices which give it such a great flavor. We definitely want to feel satisfied, don’t we? This is a great way to enjoy turkey meatballs whilst also knowing what is going into them. Plus, you can adjust the spicing to your taste!
We're sure you’ll love these baked spicy turkey meatballs along with the roasted cauliflower as a warming fall/winter dish. Let us know how you get on in the comments and don’t forget to leave a rating, we love hearing from you!
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⭐ Why you'll love this recipe
These baked spicy turkey meatballs are so good and this is why:
Quick & easy - these baked turkey meatballs are so quick and easy to throw together. It's as simple as throwing the cauliflower in a pan with some red onion and spices and whilst that’s roasting, mixing together the meatballs so they're ready to bake too.
One pan - who else hates washing up? Definitely us! Using as few pans as possible is always a mission of ours. These spicy turkey meatballs are made on just one sheet pan. Job done.
Flavor - we've got lots of delicious warming spices and rose harissa paste going on in these meatballs which means this dish is packed full of flavor. No bland meatballs here!
High protein - the meatballs are made from ground turkey, so you’ve got plenty of lean protein in them. One portion contains 24.4 grams of protein, leaving you feeling satisfied for longer.
You only need very simple ingredients for these baked spicy turkey meatballs with roasted cauliflower. We’ve got substitutions and alternatives further down the post; it looks like a lot of spices but it’s totally worth it! This is what you’ll need:
Ground turkey - you can use ground turkey breast but we prefer to use turkey thigh as it has more flavor and is less likely to dry out.
Veggies - to give you the best sheet pan dinner we've used cauliflower and red onion for the base of these amazing turkey meatballs.
Harissa - you’ll need harissa, we use a rose harissa by Belazu, it’s beautifully flavored and definitely the best harissa we've come across.
For the sauce
Greek yogurt - the base of this sauce is beautifully creamy thick greek yogurt, you can switch it out with plain yogurt if that’s what you have.
Tahini - you’ll need tahini for this sauce which adds a wonderful nuttiness and even more creaminess.
Lemon - this sauce contains two types of lemon: lemon juice, but also preserved lemon, which adds a different dimension and saltiness to the dressing.
📖 Customizations & substitutions
Here are some recommendations for customizations and substitutions for our baked spicy turkey meatballs recipe:
Meat - change out the meat: you can use ground beef, lamb, chicken or even pork if you want. We would recommend sticking to lamb or chicken for the flavor profile in this dish though.
Vegetables - this recipe is very versatile so switch out the veggies and mix it up. We recommend using broccoli, carrots, swede (rutabaga), butternut squash, sweet potatoes or brussels sprouts, or a mix of all the above. Use what you have or prefer.
Cook in a sauce - the other option is to leave the roasted vegetables and simply bake the turkey meatballs on their own and toss them in a marinara sauce and serve. These baked spicy turkey meatballs would work so well in a tomato sauce, especially with an extra hit of harissa!
Gluten free - these turkey meatballs can easily be made gluten free. Just switch out the breadcrumbs with gluten free breadcrumbs, oat flour or almond flour.
Spicing - you can change up the spices of the meatballs to your liking. We think the flavor is spot on if you make the whole dish as it was intended but if you want to change things up, go for it!
Lemon - if you can’t get hold of preserved lemon just use a little lemon zest and a bit more salt; although this won’t taste the same, it will work well as a substitute.
🔪 How to make baked turkey meatballs
These baked spicy turkey meatballs are very straightforward to make. Follow these steps to make them:
- Put all the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with your hand or a spoon until just combined. Don’t overwork the mixture.
- Scoop and roll out the turkey meatball mix into 18 golf sized balls, set aside to let the flavors meld until ready to bake.
- Toss the cauliflower florets and tender leaves and red onion in the olive oil. Sprinkle over the cumin, coriander, garlic powder, aleppo pepper, salt and pepper.
- Roast in a preheated oven at 200oC/400oF for 15 minutes until golden and starting to crisp at the edges.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the meatballs in and around the roasted cauliflower leaving enough space between each of them.
- Bake the spicy turkey meatballs for another 20 minutes until they are cooked through, internal temperature of 74oC/165oF.
- Add the yogurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, preserved lemon, maple syrup, salt and water into a blender jug.
- Blitz until creamy and smooth, about 60-90 seconds.
👩🍳 Expert tips
Here are some tips that will ensure success in making these baked spicy turkey meatballs.
Ingredients - it looks like there are a lot of ingredients but it's mostly just spices in each part of the recipe. It really is so simple so don't be put off.
Scoop - we find using a medium cookie scoop the most efficient and effective way to measure out the meatball mix. It measures about 2 tablespoons of mix which you can then roll into a ball.
Rolling meatballs - to avoid the mix sticking to your hands you can rub your hands together with a little oil or water to help them roll easier.
Florets - make sure you cut your cauliflower into medium to small chunks to ensure it gets cooked through during the roasting time. This also allows more surface area for the spices to adhere to and to get crispy bits!
Preserved lemon - we recommend scooping out and discarding the flesh and pips and using only the outer skin as the center can be bitter. If you aren’t a fan of preserved lemons or don't want to use them just omit and replace with a little bit of lemon zest.
🥘 Meal prep advice
You can prepare these turkey meatballs ahead of time by making the mix and rolling them out into balls. Leave them on a tray covered in clingfilm in the fridge for up to 2 days in advance. The flavors will meld together even more during this time.
🥗 What to serve with them
These spicy turkey meatballs are great served with fresh salad greens such as spinach or arugula (rocket). We would also recommend sprinkling pomegranate arils and freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) and mint leaves over the top with the dressing.
Alternatively, you could serve this with couscous or your favourite grain, or even rosemary roast potatoes to make this a more substantial meal.
💭 Recipe FAQs
The baked turkey meatballs will store well in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can either enjoy them cold in a salad lunch box or you can reheat them until piping hot in the middle.
Yes! You can either freeze them one of two ways.
1. Freeze them before baking by placing the raw rolled out turkey meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them until they are solid. Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you want to use them, defrost fully in the fridge and then bake for 20 minutes at 200oC/400oF.
2. Freeze them post-baking. Let them cool completely and freeze in the same way as above. Defrost fully before reheating or eating cold.
Absolutely! Being made of ground turkey they are a great source of lean protein that contributes to a healthy diet. They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals and also usually (depending on the type of turkey mince you get) contain less saturated fat than beef does.
🍽 Related recipes
If you love these spicy turkey meatballs you'll love our other easy dinner recipes. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
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Baked Spicy Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Cauliflower
For the baked turkey meatballs
For the roasted cauliflower
For the lemon garlic yoghurt sauce
- arugula or spinach leaves, pomegranate arils, cilantro, mint, Aleppo pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Put all the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix with your hand or a spoon until just combined. Scoop and roll out the turkey meatball mix into 18 golf sized balls and set aside.1 pound ground turkey, 1 shallot, 2 garlic cloves, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons rose harissa paste, ¾ teaspoon ground cumin, ¾ teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Toss the cauliflower florets, tender leaves and red onion in the olive oil. Sprinkle over the cumin, coriander, garlic powder, Aleppo pepper, salt and pepper and toss again to combine. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until golden and starting to crisp at the edges.4 cups cauliflower, ½ red onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the meatballs in and around the roasted cauliflower, making sure to leave enough space between each of them. Bake for another 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through, to an internal temperature of 74°C/165°F.
For the lemon garlic yoghurt sauce
- Add the yogurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, preserved lemon, maple syrup, salt and water into a blender jug. Blitz until creamy and smooth, about 60-90 seconds.½ cup full fat Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 lemon, 1 preserved lemon, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1-2 tablespoons warm water, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Serve the meatballs and cauliflower over arugula (rocket) leaves. Garnish with pomegranate arils, chopped cilantro (coriander) and mint and an extra sprinkling of Aleppo pepper if desired. Also delicious served over couscous!arugula or spinach leaves, pomegranate arils, cilantro, mint, Aleppo pepper
- Use a cookie scoop for ease of rolling out the turkey meatballs.
- Remove the centre pulp from inside the preserved lemon (if using) as it's bitter. If not using, use some lemon zest.
- Prepare ahead of time and let the flavors in the meatball mix meld for up to 2 days in advance in the fridge.