Apr 26, 2019

A Bronx Tale: Mobster Turkey Meatballs & Marinara

By Aubrey Johansen

If I were a mobster for a day, I’d skip all the popping’ and head straight to the basement of some local Italian restaurant, eating meatballs and sauce until I sunk into a food coma. Not that I’ve dreamed about that or anything…



If you know me, you know I love healthy recipes, and sometimes, making healthy recipes demands you to be a little sneaky, a little tricky, if you will. If you’ve ever hid a vegetable in a recipe so your kids would eat it, consider yourself a Capo, a Captain- you lead the pack.

If you haven’t hidden a vegetable in a recipe before, today is your lucky day. Turkey meatballs are really just begging for the help, here, friends. With summer around the corner, we’re going to have a ton of zucchini on our hands, and what better way to eat it, than grating it into some meatballs. The addition of zucchini adds moisture, which is perfect for ground turkey, which can at times be dry, doesn’t add a particular flavor, and isn’t really noticeable apart from the flecks of parsley and parmesan running through the blend.


Not only that, but they’re swimming in a sea of homemade red sauce, which shockingly- is really easy. Your mobster moment with the marinara comes from cans of whole tomatoes, that you get to crush…. With your hands. This dish is served up family style, so get the whole family together at the table, and the rest, well, forget about it. Let’s dig in. 


Mobster Turkey Meatballs & Marinara
Serves 6


2 large cans of whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste



1lb ground turkey breast
1 medium zucchini, grated
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, with 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped, with 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded




1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
2. In a large Dutch Oven, or oven safe pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, and add garlic and oregano, stirring occasionally for 1-2 minutes. In a bowl, crush canned tomatoes with your hands until tomatoes are broken into smaller chunks, and all uniform in size. Pour over garlic & oregano mixture, mix thoroughly, turn heat to low. Let the sauce simmer on low while you prep your meatballs.
3. Combine all ingredients for meatballs and roll into tablespoon size meatballs, about 30, and place on your baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer par-cooked meatballs to the marinara sauce. Sprinkle the top with fresh mozzarella, and transfer to the oven.
4. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes, until mozzarella and golden brown and melted. Sprinkle finished dish with remaining parmesan and parsley.
5. Serve this dish with hunks of Italian bread on the side for dipping, or over a heaping bowl of pasta, the choice is up to you! Enjoy!



Be sure to round up your own pack of mobsters and check out A Bronx Tale at Playhouse Square while it’s in town, April 24-May 12. Mangia!