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  • Roxie Daggett

Turkey Apple Meatballs with Greens (Egg-Free Option, Grain Free)

Updated: Jan 23

These protein packed meatballs are a cinch to make and popular with both kids and adults. They go great on pasta, pizza, soups, salads or as a kid-friendly meal or snack. You can make them with or without eggs. Nutrient-dense smart food for brain, immune and DNA health!


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Turkey All Year Long


Turkey is a phenomenal source of protein and bioavailable vitamins and minerals.


A couple of slices of unprocessed turkey, or 2-4 of these turkey meatballs (depending how big you make them), provides you with over 20 grams of protein. Turkey, like all animal protein, is an excellent source of all nine essential amino acids. And yes, it is high in the amino acid tryptophan which supports mood, sleep and hormones. Tryptophan is also high if not higher in other animal foods like lamb, chicken, and steak while pork and salmon have a good dose of tryptophan too. Again, this is just one of the nine essential amino acids you get from all animal proteins.


Amino acids broken down from animal protein are what are body needs to:

  • have strong digestion

  • sustain a robust immune response to illness, both short term and chronic

  • produce neurotransmitters for brain and neurological health

  • build and repair muscles and tissues

  • have vibrant skin, hair and nails

  • make hormones

  • balance blood sugar and support blood flow

  • provide slow-burning energy (vs. crash and burn energy-- hello sugar, processed foods and carbs!)


Honestly, if you or the kids are moody, tired or sluggish, I highly recommend downing a turkey meatball or two as a pick me up. You'll be surprised at how quickly a protein-rich snack or meal can calm the nerves, boost a mood and restore energy.



Do Egg-Free Meatballs Work?


Short answer: yes! These are so good you will forget about the missing egg. But you can totally add egg if you want to and if it's tolerated by your family.


I created this recipe for my toddler son who has a rare food allergy called FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis). Eggs are one of his trigger foods so we had to cut out eggs early into his solid feeding journey. You can read more about FPIES here. If you suspect your kiddo may have FPIES definitely check out The FPIES Foundation for more info and feel free to reach out.


As a holistic nutrition professional who believes in the power of whole foods and ancestral eating to provide vitamins and minerals to the body, losing out on eggs-- one of the most nutrient-dense, affordable, easy-to-make, called-for-in-recipes foods-- was a huge bummer.


Our son had been enjoying meatballs up until his FPIES episodes, but after he started reacting (severely) I stopped making them for over a year. For some reason, I didn't think eggless meatballs were viable or would taste good.


But after doing some recipe research and lots of experimentation, I started making egg-free and grain free meatballs on the regular and haven't stopped!



Of course you can totally make them with egg if that is tolerated, but IMO they are super good if not better without eggs. We leave out grains as well due to another FPIES food trigger for my son -- oats-- which means he may react to other grains. This version works great for him.


They are a big hit with our whole family!


These meatballs go great on pasta (we do zoodle and boodles -- butternut squash noodles), pizza, salads, with stir fries, in soups and just as a stand alone snack.


And yes, these make an awesome egg-free breakfast food. I serve them to my son regularly with veggies, squash, beans, quinoa and/or avocado. He really doesn't know what he's missing not having eggs for breakfast and loves starting the day with his meat porridge bowl!


Apples add in some tenderness that is missing from leaving out the egg. We also make this recipe with ground bison, ground beef and ground lamb. They are all great!


I hope to publish my Bison Butternut Meatballs (Egg-Free Option) recipe soon! That one is a big hit with my son as well. We love cooking all meatballs on this non-toxic cast-iron pizza pan!


My son also has Down Syndrome so the herbs and greens I use in this recipe are targeted towards optimizing his neurological and genetic health. Feel free to leave out any you don't have or care for, but I do recommend choosing at least one green to add to the recipe.


We have made this same recipe with bison, beef and lamb-- they are all so yummy so feel free to sub whatever ground meat is available to you. But turkey really shines here!


Enjoy!




Turkey Apple Meatballs with Greens (Egg-Free Option, Grain Free)


Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 20-30 minutes Total: 45-50 minutes Servings: 25-30 meatballs


These egg-free meatballs are a hit with kids and adults alike. I created this recipe for my son who is allergic to eggs (FPIES) and he loves them! You can certainly add eggs if tolerated. This easy recipe is a great way to get in some immune and DNA supportive herbs and greens as well as an array of brain boosting amino acids and bioavailable nutrients from turkey. I have also made these with lamb, beef and bison and all are excellent. Feel free to sub or modify as needed!


The links below are affiliate links chosen for product quality and purity.


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey (we LOVE Grass Roots Farmer's Coop ground turkey!)

  • 1 small, medium or 1/2 large apple peeled and grated (chop up more if grated pieces are long)

  • 1/4-1/3 red or white onion finely chopped

  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced

  • 1/4-1/3 cup of fresh minced parsley (Italian or curly)

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh minced rosemary (optional)

  • 1/3 cup minced greens like kale or any mixed greens

  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon (several grinds) of black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of olive oil (use less olive oil if using an egg)

  • 1 egg, beaten (optional; we do egg-free due to my son's FPIES allergy)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil on your baking sheet of choice and spread evenly. I use this cast-iron griddle and it works well for fast and even cooking. Set oiled baking sheet aside near your mixing bowl.

  3. Place all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. I use my hands (take off watches and rings) for optimal mixing. While your hands are a mess, you can now jump right into making meatballs.

  4. Form meat mixture into 1-2 inch balls and arrange on baking sheet.

  5. Cook on middle rack of oven for 20-30 minutes or until internal temp is 160 degrees. Our oven is HOT and cooks these in 20 minutes. I flip them with kitchen tongs at the 15 minute mark for even cooking, but you don't have to. I usually take one meatball out at 20 minutes to test it (break up and eat a bite) to see if it's cooked. It always is!

  6. Enjoy hot or cold with soups, salads, stir fries, pastas, pizzas or as a kid-friendly meal, snack or breakfast food.


I don't freeze these because they don't last around here, but you can certainly do that to have them on hand for later.


Let me know if you try this recipe @nourishandcherish.ntp


Need personalized nutrition help to balance your brain and hormones? Feel free to contact me for a free 20-minute Discovery Session to see if we are a good fit. You can learn more about my services here.



Check out my Clean Shop for all my favorite non-toxic resources for your kitchen, home and family! You can grab a FREE BRAIN HEALTH BREAKFAST GUIDE below to get some nutrient-dense breakfast inspo!



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About the Author


Roxie Daggett is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) with a virtual holistic nutrition practice in Sedona, Arizona. Her passions include studying nutritional research pertaining to brain health, gut health, genetics and longevity. When she is not geeking out on nutrition she enjoys cooking, hiking, organic gardening and hanging out with her wonderful husband, and her adorable, energetic son who happens to have Down syndrome. Learn more on her About page and stay in touch by grabbing your FREE BRAIN HEALTH BREAKFAST GUIDE above or below!

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