Paleo & Whole30 Turkey Meatballs with Easy Parsnip “Spaghetti”

These easy Paleo & Whole30 Turkey Meatballs with Easy Parsnip “Spaghetti” make for a healthy and delicious dinner!

Ground turkey meatballs are baked in the oven and come out light, tender and juicy.

They’re paired with the easiest-ever parsnip “spaghetti” – no spiralizer or special equipment needed!

Plus this recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and soy-free.

healthy turkey meatballs with parsnip noodles in a white bowl with a fork next to a green napkin

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Paleo & Whole30 Turkey Meatballs with Easy Parsnip “Spaghetti”

This recipe features ground turkey meatballs with no breadcrumbs and no flour.

But healthy turkey meatballs don’t have to be dry or bland. By mixing ground turkey with almond flour, an egg and seasonings, then simply baking the meatballs in the oven, they come out light, tender and flavorful.

And while there other Paleo/Whole30 noodles out there – zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, etc. – I happen to love making spaghetti out of parsnips.

You just peel them with a vegetable peeler and then keep peeling to create long, thin noodles! They soften when cooked in marinara yet are sturdy enough that they don’t break apart.

For more information on parsnips and what you can do with them, check out the 4 Best Ways to Cook Parsnips.

 

What you need for Paleo & Whole30 Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey (preferably dark/thigh meat)
  • 1/4 cup superfine blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more if necessary
  • 2 pounds parsnips
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar marinara (check ingredients to make sure it’s Paleo/Whole30 compliant, so no sugar, corn syrup, etc.)
  • fresh basil or parsley, for serving (optional)

Equipment:

a fork with parsnip "spaghetti" noodles twirled around it

How to make Paleo & Whole30 Turkey Meatballs

First, make the meatballs: Heat the oven to 350°.

Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Paleo turkey meatball mixture in a large metal bowl

Use a 1/4-cup scoop (a cookie scoop with a lever is helpful here, but you can also use a regular 1/4 cup measuring cup) to scoop the mixture into balls and place on the baking sheet. Then use your hands to roll into balls (if the mixture is sticky, it helps to dampen your palms a bit with water) and place on the baking sheet. Make sure they’re not touching.

You should end up with 15-16 meatballs.

rolling a turkey meatball mixture between two hands

Bake for 25-28 minutes, until cooked through (you can test by cutting into one and seeing if there’s any raw meat in the middle).

If you want the meatballs to have a browner top, you can then broil them for 2-5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.

Then make the “spaghetti”: Trim off the small tips of the parsnips and peel. Discard the tips and peels.

Then, holding the large end of the parsnip, rotate the parsnip as you keep peeling, creating long, thin noodles.

making parsnip "spaghetti" with a vegetable peeler peeling a parsnip on a white cutting board

Once you’re down to one last skinny little noodle, trim it off and then slice any of the remaining parsnip into thin coins before discarding the large end.

Add all the parsnip noodles to a large saucepan. Pour in the marinara, give everything a good toss with a pair of tongs, cover and place over medium heat.

Toss the noodles occasionally and cook for 10-12 minutes, until they’re soft but not mushy. Taste and add any salt or pepper, if desired.

Transfer the noodles to a serving bowl, pile the meatballs on top, sprinkle on fresh herbs if you like and serve!

 

Make ahead and storage

The meatballs can be baked, cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To freeze them, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, until thoroughly frozen. Then transfer to an air-tight freezer baggie or container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

The parsnips and marinara can be frozen in an air-tight freezer baggie or container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

If you’ve already combined the meatballs and parsnips, freeze the whole mixture in an air-tight freezer baggie or container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

To reheat, you can use the microwave, a low oven or in a saucepan over low heat.

Substitutions and variations

  • You can use other kinds of ground meat. If using ground chicken or ground turkey with white/breast meat, try to pair it with a fattier meat like dark ground turkey, ground pork or ground beef so the meatballs won’t be dry.
  • You can add chopped, pitted olives or drained, chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the meatball mixture.
  • You can add fresh herbs to the meatball mixture, such as basil, oregano or parsley. You should aim for about 1/3 cup of chopped herbs.
  • You can use whatever tomato sauce or marinara that you like. Make sure it’s Paleo/Whole30 compatible if that’s necessary for you.

 

What to serve with Paleo & Whole30 Turkey Meatballs

The great thing about these healthy turkey meatballs and parsnip “spaghetti” is that it’s already a full meal! It has plenty of protein and veggies to feel full and satisfied.

But you could also serve a simple green salad on the side, steamed or roasted broccoli or asparagus, or these Balsamic Roasted Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts.

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. The 4 Best Ways to Cook Parsnips (Paleo, Whole30)
  2. 3 Easy Paleo Meatballs (Whole30)
  3. Lamb Ragu (Paleo/Whole30 options)
  4. Slow-Cooker Italian Chicken Stew (Paleo, Whole30)
  5. Tomato Salad with Deconstructed Pesto

 

healthy turkey meatballs with parsnip noodles in a white bowl with a fork next to a green napkin
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Paleo & Whole30 Turkey Meatballs with Easy Parsnip "Spaghetti"

Light, tender meatballs are served with parsnip noodles that are so simple to make. This healthy, hearty dinner is also gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time28 mins
Total Time48 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: gluten free, healthy, healthy dinner, paleo, turkey meatballs, whole30, whole30 recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark/thigh meat
  • ¼ cup superfine blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more if necessary
  • 2 pounds parsnips
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar marinara (Paleo/Whole30 compatible if necessary)
  • fresh basil or parsley, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • First, make the meatballs: Heat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with foil.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
  • Use a 1/4-cup scoop (a cookie scoop with a lever is helpful here, but you can also use a regular 1/4 cup measuring cup) to scoop the mixture into balls and place on the baking sheet. Then use your hands to roll into balls (if the mixture is sticky, it helps to dampen your palms a bit with water) and place on the baking sheet. Make sure they're not touching.
    You should end up with 15-16 meatballs.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes, until thoroughly cooked through (you can test by cutting into one and seeing if there's any raw meat in the middle).
    If you want the meatballs to have a browner top, you can then broil them for 2-5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't burn.
  • Then make the "spaghetti": Trim off the small tips of the parsnips and peel. Discard the tips and peels.
    Then, holding the large end of the parsnip, rotate the parsnip as you keep peeling, creating long, thin noodles. Once you're down to one last skinny little noodle, trim it off and then slice any of the remaining parsnip into thin coins before discarding the large end.
  • Add all the parsnip noodles to a large saucepan. Pour in the marinara, give everything a good toss with a pair of tongs, cover and place over medium heat. Toss the noodles occasionally and cook for 10-12 minutes, until they're soft but not mushy. Taste and add any salt or pepper, if desired.
  • Transfer the noodles to a serving bowl, pile the meatballs on top, sprinkle with fresh basil or parsley and serve!

Notes

Make ahead and storage
The meatballs can be baked, cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To freeze them, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, until thoroughly frozen. Then transfer to an air-tight freezer baggie or container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
The parsnips and marinara can be frozen in an air-tight freezer baggie or container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
If you've already combined the meatballs and parsnips, freeze the whole mixture in an air-tight freezer baggie or container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
To reheat, you can use the microwave, a low oven or in a saucepan over low heat.
 
Substitutions and variations
  • You can use other kinds of ground meat. If using ground chicken or ground turkey with white/breast meat, try to pair it with a fattier meat like dark ground turkey, ground pork or ground beef so the meatballs won't be dry.
  • You can add chopped, pitted olives or drained, chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the meatball mixture.
  • You can add fresh herbs to the meatball mixture, such as basil, oregano or parsley. You should aim for about 1/3 cup of chopped herbs.
  • You can use whatever tomato sauce or marinara that you like. Make sure it's Paleo/Whole30 compatible if that's necessary for you.
 

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