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Turkey Meatballs with Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Serves 4


    Stay traditional and go with turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, but simplify things with these bite-size meatballs. Though small, they pack a punch of big flavours to rival any main attraction. Paired with a tart cranberry sauce and loaded with warm spices, this dish allows you to ditch the big bird this Thanksgiving. Bonus? You can freeze your extra meatballs to enjoy at a later date.



    Fresh herbs are always lovely to use but they’re not always available. Dried herbs will lend the same flavour and may be more convenient, plus they last longer in your pantry. A general guide: 1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh = 1 tsp (5 mL) dried.


    Turkey Meatballs with Spiced Cranberry Sauce


      • 12 oz (340 g) extra-lean ground turkey thigh
      • 1 organic egg
      • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
      • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped spinach
      • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) orange zest
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh sage
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
      • Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
      Spiced Cranberry Sauce
      • 3/4 cup (180 mL) red wine (red zinfandel is nice)
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) monk fruit sweetener
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
      • 1 x 2 inch (2.5 x 5 cm) slice of orange peel (pith removed)
      • 1 cinnamon stick
      • 2 cloves
      • 6 oz (170 g) cranberries, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
      • 1/2 Ambrosia apple, unpeeled and finely chopped or grated


      Per serving:

      • calories203
      • protein27 g
      • fat11 g
        • sat. fat2 g
      • carbohydrates3 g
        • sugars1 g
        • fibre1 g
      • sodium119 mg

      Per serving:

      • calories39
      • protein0 g
      • fat 0 g
      • carbohydrates41 g
        • sugars3 g
        • fibre1 g
      • sodium1 mg



      Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.


      In medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix. Using approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) mixture, form meatballs and place evenly spaced out on parchment-lined baking sheet. Makes 16 meatballs.


      Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, giving baking sheet a shake midway through cooking so they cook evenly and acquire colour on all sides. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 160 F (70 C).


      In small saucepan over medium-high heat, add wine, monk fruit, orange juice, orange peel, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes until liquid reduces by a third. Remove orange peel, cinnamon stick, and cloves.


      Add cranberries and apple. Cook until cranberries are soft and breaking apart, approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. With the back of a spoon or potato masher, lightly mash cranberries. You want them all opened to allow the mixture to become thick and jammy.


      Place in glass jar to cool, then cover and store in fridge for up to 1 week.



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      Going Pro

      Going Pro

      You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.