Well what do you know? National Meatball Day falls right in the middle of National Nutrition Month. And who doesn’t love meatballs? Meatballs done the old school way can be full of fat, salt and sugar. However, meatballs done right are high in protein, full of flavor, and can be part of a healthy diet.

We love meatballs in spaghetti, we love them at parties, and we love them as leftovers in sandwiches. Freeze drying meatballs is easy. Arrange whole or halved meatballs on the trays, run the freeze dryer through a standard setting (add more dry time, if needed), then store in an air-tight container. Rehydrate slowly with hot water, covered in a dish, or in a microwave until water is absorbed.

In honor of National Meatball day, here’s our favorite healthy meatball recipe:

Favorite BBQ Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients – Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 slice whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients, shape into 2″ balls. Broil on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Ingredients – Sugar-free BBQ Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp shoyu (soy) sauce
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Truvia or Stevia

Saute onion and garlic in coconut oil, then add all other ingredients and simmer until it makes a thick sauce. For improved flavor, make the sauce at least one day ahead to give the flavors time to blend.

You can serve these meatballs in a slow-cooker or on sandwiches. They’re particularly delicious with spaghetti squash pasta; we’ve even been known to make spaghetti squash pasta sandwiches – just make sure you use a heavy whole-grain bread.