Lemony Turkey Meatballs with Escarole

Lemony Turkey Meatballs with Escarole

These wheat-free lemon-kissed meatballs are a great choice if you are eliminating bread from your diet. I use rolled oats as a binder instead of breadcrumbs and add cottage cheese to give the meatballs a softer texture. Side note: I am not a cottage cheese fan in general but I think it really works in this recipe to keep the meatballs from getting tough. The curds melt into the meatballs and soften the oats as they cook.

Escarole is a slightly bitter leafy green that is in the chicory family. I love it in soups to add texture, flavor and color. It’s also easy to saute the leaves in a little olive oil, salt and chili flakes, or toss with a vinaigrette to make a salad. It’s high in fiber, Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron and Vitamin C. You can sub spinach, kale, collards, chopped bok choy, etc. if escarole is not available.

These are great for turkey burgers as well…you can top with bacon, avocado, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, pickled onions and serve in a lettuce wrap.

Serves 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


1 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1/3 heaping cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus 2 tablespoons

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, medium dice

2 cloves garlic, chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock

1/2 head escarole, torn into bite sized pieces

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper


In a large bowl, combine turkey, cottage cheese, oats, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and egg. Form mixture  into 1 ½-inch balls.

In a medium Dutch oven or sturdy pot, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, brown meatballs on all sides. Add oil if needed to cook all of the meatballs. Remove from pot and place on a plate; set aside.

Add onions and garlic to the pot and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth to pot and bring to a simmer. Return meatballs to pan and cook at a simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until completely cooked through.

Stir the escarole leaves and white beans into the pot and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Print Friendly and PDF
3 Essential Ingredients

3 Essential Ingredients

Easy Homemade Toasted Walnut Butter

Easy Homemade Toasted Walnut Butter