A perfect comfort dish for dreary winter days, Swedish Meatballs are traditionally made with ground pork and smothered in rich cream-laden gravy. This low-fat version reduces the calories but not the flavor. Turkey plays a starring role in the meatballs and a small amount of half-and-half and plain yogurt replace heavy cream in the sauce. Choose dark meat ground turkey for the most flavor. The recipe can be made 1 to 2 days ahead and reheated gently in a saucepan over low heat.
For Egg-Free Swedish Meatballs, omit 1 egg. Combine 1 tablespoon golden flax meal with 3 tablespoons hot water. Let cool. Use this mixture to replace the egg in step 1.
Reduce Calories & Add Fiber
- Replace ground beef or pork with ground dark meat chicken or turkey.
- Replace heavy cream with half-and-half and plain yogurt.
- Replace rice or corn noodles with spaghetti squash or spiralized veggies, such as zoodles (zucchini noodles) or butternut squash.
Juicy Meatballs (Crispy Outside with a Flavorful Center)
- For delicious texture, add gluten-free breadcrumbs (panko crumbs are best) and egg or egg replacer to the meatball mixture.
- To cook, place meatballs in a lightly oiled baking pan. Add a small amount of chicken or beef broth to the pan and bake meatballs in a 425°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Alternatively, brown meatballs on both sides in a skillet; cover and let steam about 5 minutes.
- Hoagie-style Place meatballs on the bottom half of a gluten-free bun. Top with marinara sauce and cheese of choice. Close the bun and enjoy!
- Hors d’oeuvres Make bite-size meatballs (reduce cooking time accordingly). Serve mini-meatballs with a flavorful dipping sauce. Don’t forget the toothpicks and napkins.
- Cooked meatballs freeze well. (Don’t freeze raw meatballs.) Make a triple batch and freeze extras in zip-top bags for quick meals.
- To freeze, place meatballs on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer to zip-top bags and store in the freezer. Reheat by simmering meatballs in sauce 15 to 20 minutes; alternatively, warm them in a covered pan in a 350°F oven until hot.
- Frozen beef meatballs are good up to 3 months. Frozen chicken and turkey meatballs are good up to 6 weeks.
Food editor Beth Hillson is a chef and cooking instructor. She is founder of Gluten-Free Pantry, one of the first gluten-free companies in the United States, and author of Gluten-Free Makeovers and The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free (Da Capo Lifelong).Yields 6 servings
- 1 pound ground dark meat turkey
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon Italian leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons rice flour
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 cups gluten-free beef broth
- ¼ cup half-and-half or canned coconut milk (full fat)
- ¼ cup plain low-fat yogurt of choice
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Gluten-free egg noodles or other wide noodle, cooked al dente and drained
1In a medium bowl, place ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until combined.
2Form mixture into 24 large meatballs.
3In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add meatballs and cook, turning continuously, until brown on each side and cooked throughout. Transfer to a plate.
4To make the sauce, place rice flour and butter in the same skillet over medium heat and whisk until mixture starts to brown. Slowly stir in broth until mixture thickens and becomes smooth. Simmer 1 minute. Add half-and-half, yogurt, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and bring to a simmer to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Check flavors and add more salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce or Dijon mustard, as needed.
5Add meatballs to skillet and simmer in sauce 1 to 2 minutes to reheat. Serve meatballs and sauce over warm egg noodles.