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Turkey and Apple Meatballs with Chinese Five-Spice

Serves 7


    Turkey and Apple Meatballs with Chinese Five-Spice

    The apple in these turkey meatballs might not be immediately visible, but it’s working behind the scenes to help bind them together and adds sweet flavour and juiciness. Chinese five-spice powder—a blend of star anise, ground fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon—lends lively flavour, alongside ginger and garlic. Packed full of protein, these meaty bites are a good source of vitamin D and iron and make for a tasty party appetizer.


    Meatball magic

    Handle with care

    A light touch is the key to a well-formed, juicy meatball. Using a tablespoon measure or cookie scoop, spoon heaping tablespoons into individual meatballs and toss them back and forth between your hands a few times, very gently, to round them off. Avoid squeezing or compressing the meat.

    Make ahead

    You can form meatballs 4 hours in advance and refrigerate before cooking. Lay meatballs in a single layer on parchment in glass dish; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Remove meatballs from refrigerator about 30 minutes before you begin to cook to allow them to come to room temperature. This will ensure they cook evenly. Blot any excess moisture before adding to the hot pan.

    Turning with this trick

    When browning meatballs, use a cookie scoop to nudge and turn the meatball. If it loses its round shape, use the scoop to gently re-form.


    Turkey and Apple Meatballs with Chinese Five-Spice


      • 1 lb (450 g) lean ground turkey
      • 1 cup (250 mL) grated apple with skin (2 apples)
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) hempseeds
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped chives
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Chinese five-spice powder
      • 1 tsp (1 mL) garlic powder
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil + 2 Tbsp (30 mL) for frying
      • 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) sodium-reduced tamari or soy sauce
      • 1 organic egg


      Per serving:

      • calories253
      • protein22 g
      • total fat16 g
        • sat. fat2 g
      • total carbohydrates9 g
        • sugars5 g
        • fibre2 g
      • sodium153 mg



      To large bowl, add turkey, grated apple, hempseeds, chives, five-spice powder, garlic powder, black pepper, 2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil, tamari, and egg and work together lightly with fork, until just combined. Form 28 meatballs (see tip) and place them on parchment-lined baking tray.


      To cook, preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). On stovetop, in medium-sized skillet, heat 1 Tbsp (5 mL) sesame oil on high heat. Brown meatballs in skillet, in 3 or 4 batches, 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to parchment-lined baking tray. (Add remaining oil as necessary between batches).


      Continue baking meatballs in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once during cooking time. Remove from oven, cover with another baking tray or tent with stainless steel bowl, and allow to rest for 3 minutes. Serve on toothpicks.



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