Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker

I had pinned this recipe a while ago as I’m always on the lookout for healthier stuff to cook in the slow cooker and they didn’t disappoint. They were easy to put together, smelled awesome while browning and I froze half of the meatball mixture in one bag and half of the tomatoes and onion in another bag to use at a later date . Easy peasy! These would be great on a toasted roll with melted provolone or added to other sandwiches. I just ate them plain and I really enjoyed them. They’re smaller than a golf ball, the tomato sauce is just right.  I served them with roasted broccoli.


Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker


  • 1lb 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1lb 94% lean ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for browning)
  • 2 tbsp pecorino romano cheese, freshly, finely grated
  • 2 tsp italian spices
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into rounds
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp white wine


  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients through and including the white pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand, being careful not to over-mix.
  2. Roll each meatball to just under the size of a golf ball and set aside.
  3. Layer sliced onion on bottom of slow cooker insert, add 1 can of crushed tomatoes and 1/2 the can of peeled tomatoes.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tbsp to the pan and, when the oil is shimmering, add a few meatballs to brown-about 1 minute on each side. Be careful not to crowd the pan. When browned snuggle them down into the tomato sauce in the cooker, stacking as more are browned.
  5. When all are browned add the white wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce to half then add it to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the remaining crushed and peeled tomatoes to the cooker, making sure that all of the meatballs are covered.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Be sure to brown the meatballs! It adds extra flavor and locks in moisture. Lean turkey dries out easily-browning will help avoid that.


Adapted from howsweeteats.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CarrieRD
    May 01, 2013 @ 20:17:35

    Must try this one!! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Trackback: SNAP Challenge: Day 6 and Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Meatballs |

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