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These Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs combine garlic, Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh parsley for a classic Italian flavor.
If you told me this time last year that I would be creating and posting a recipe for Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs, I would have laughed. Seriously. Like laughed so hard I’d be choking. You see, gluten-filled food and I go waaaaaaaaaaaaay back.
Fast forward to the present time where I find myself in a new position. I have been experimenting with some new recipes due to Greg’s recent dietary restrictions.
After being diagnosed with IBS, his doctor recommended he follow a low-FODMAP elimination diet for two weeks in order to determine which foods trigger his gastrointestinal issues.
A Bit about FODMAPS
You might be saying to yourself, “a FOD what?” That’s what I thought when I heard it too. It turns out that FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.
Apparently, foods containing these substances cause gastrointestinal symptoms in people with IBS. So, how do you know what foods contain these substances?
Well, there is a wealth of information online to help guide you through the process of determining what to eat. It also helped that Greg came home from his doctor’s appointment with a sample list of foods containing FODMAPS.
I think I gasped a little when I saw the dairy restrictions. Luckily, I noticed that not all dairy was banned, just dairy containing high amounts of lactose. Thankfully, some cheeses were on the “allowed” list, such as my all-time favorite, Pecorino Romano. I think I probably would have hit the floor if I had to eliminate all cheeses from my recipes.
But dairy was just the beginning. I got to the grains column and noticed that wheat, barley and rye are also high-FODMAP foods. So, that meant for the next two weeks Greg would be going gluten-free.
This wasn’t the first time Greg had to eliminate foods from his diet. Back in 2010, he had his thyroid removed after it was discovered he had thyroid cancer. Part of the treatment included radiotherapy in the form of radioactive iodine.
Prior to receiving the radioactive iodine treatment, he had to follow a low-iodine diet for two weeks. I don’t think I ever saw someone so excited to eat a pizza in my life the way I watched him gobble that cheesy gluten-filled goodness down when he was off the diet. Oh, the irony of this tale…
After eliminating all high-FODMAP foods for two weeks, Greg was able to slowly reintroduce certain items to determine their effect on his body. Unfortunately, it turned out that gluten was not Greg’s friend. The elimination process revealed that the foods containing gluten appeared to have a negative effect on him, so we stuck with the gluten-free diet.
OK, fine, I cheated a little…maybe more than a little…but this isn’t about me, so let’s move on. Greg has been feeling so much better after giving up gluten. He still has bouts of IBS, but overall, going gluten-free has helped him tremendously.
Another of the high-FODMAP foods we reintroduced after the elimination period was garlic. For now, Greg seems to be okay with VERY MINIMAL amounts of garlic, but we don’t overdo it. Hence, the garlic-infused olive oil option in this recipe. It is much more tolerable than actual garlic for him.
My new mission is finding gluten-free substitutions for our favorite foods that are still delicious. I’ve been noticing that many popular brands are now carrying gluten-free products, including 4C.
The day I found the gluten-free 4C products, I was walking through the grocery store aisle with my list. I had written down gluten-free bread crumbs but wasn’t quite sure I’d find a brand I could trust. I had tried gluten-free bread crumbs before, only to be disappointed when they blew up in my turkey meatloaf like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
So when I glanced over at the bread crumbs and saw the words “gluten-free” under a well-known brand name, 4C, I was ecstatic. “This is the best day ever,” I announced loudly in Aisle 9.
This time I was not disappointed.
I highly recommend the 4C brand, but feel free to use your favorite gluten-free bread crumbs. Also, please note that these meatballs are not considered low-FODMAP, as the breadcrumbs contain garlic powder, onion powder and raisin juice concentrate, which are all high in FODMAPS.
how to make gluten-free turkey meatballs
First, combine ground turkey with one egg, gluten-free “crumbs”, Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic or garlic-infused olive oil and fresh parsley.
After rolling into meatballs, bake for 20 minutes on 400° F.
Enjoy with your favorite sauce over gluten-free pasta or on a gluten-free hoagie roll (we found a delicious gluten-free loaf at our favorite local Italian specialties shop).
If you are following a gluten-free diet, you will love these Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs, not only because they are incredibly delicious, but also because they are super easy to make. Also, since they are baked, not fried, they are healthier than their fried counterparts.
If you’re not following a gluten-free diet, you will still love them. In fact, our daughter (who is not on a gluten-free diet) never tried a meatball she liked until the night she tried these. She even asked for seconds and then leftovers the next day. Try them tonight!
Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs
- 1 lb. ground turkey (93-94% lean)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten-free Italian style bread crumbs (I used 4C brand "Gluten-Free Seasoned Crumbs")
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced (or substitute 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well distributed.
- Roll mixture into balls, approximately 1 1/4 inches to 1 1/2 inches in diameter until you have rolled 12 meatballs.
- Place each meatball on the lined cookie sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until internal temperature has reached 165° F.
- Remove any excess fat drippings from each meatball.
- Add meatballs to your favorite sauce and enjoy!
For more gluten-free meatballs, check out our Buffalo chicken meatballs made in the slow cooker.
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