Buffalo-Style Turkey Meatballs


Ok, it’s deep dark confession time.  Yes, I’m a healthy eater but I love boneless buffalo wings, they’re definitely my favorite bar food and something I reserve as a rare and very special treat to myself.  That being said, I have tried for quite awhile to come up with a healthy alternative to the boneless buffalo wing, one that is completely guilt-free.  Here’s the result….


These meatballs are really delicious and definitely satisfy that craving for a buffalo wing.  The sauce can be hot or mild, your choice.  I will say though that I think a mild sauce allows for you to be able to actually taste the meatball itself and that’s important because this meatball is absolutely delicious.  It is a light, summer-friendly meatball and I highly recommend eating them on their own without the sauce as a variation to this dish.  You could also substitute beef for the turkey.

I typically serve these with my homemade blue cheese dressing as a dipping sauce.

Buffalo-Style Turkey Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: main course
Cuisine: Meat dish
Serves: 20 meatballs
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks - diced
  • ½ of an onion - diced (I used Vidalia onion)
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh sage - chopped (5 large leaves) or 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 egg - lightly beaten (I used liquid egg white substitute)
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or ground chicken or ground beef)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or regular bread crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup hot sauce ( use your desired heat level)
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese dressing (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the celery and onion, sage and oregano and cook until tender, approximately 3-4 minutes. Let them cool.
  3. In a large bowl combine the turkey, celery and onion mixture, egg and mustard. Combine the ingredients with your hands until well combined.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix them into the meat mixture with your hands.
  5. Form the mixture into 1 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until browned.
  7. For the sauce:
  8. In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
  9. Add the hot sauce and whisk to combine until smooth.
  10. Toss the sauce with the meatballs and serve warm.
  11. Serve with blue cheese dressing if desired.
  12. Note - the meatballs can e made up to 2 days ahead and gently reheated in a nonstick pan on the stovetop or in the microwave. Then add the sauce before serving.


Mini Turkey Panini Sandwiches

I’m used to hosting dinners and I have a certain calm confidence when I have to do so as I think it’s easier than hosting a lunch or brunch.  I had the opportunity to host family and friends for a Fall lunch a few weeks ago.  So, it took some planning for me.  I try to plan my meal around the season when I entertain as it’s easier to cook with what’s in season and I think it’s another way to not only celebrate the season but to celebrate all the lovely foods that go along with it.  Being that it’s Fall I wanted a light lunch filled with flavor that could be served in courses as I knew it would be a social meal filled with stories and memories.  A meal served in courses gives your guests a chance to relax and have plenty of time for conversation.

I served these mini Panini sandwiches filled with roasted turkey, provolone cheese and garnished with fig preserves and fresh sage.  I used turkey tenderloins because when sliced they fit perfectly onto the French baguette that I used.  The fig preserves gave a subtle sweetness and that punch of fresh sage made it earthy and fresh.  They were very well received!  My guests commented that they loved the idea of having mini sandwichs as opposed to one big sandwich.

Mini Turkey Panini Sandwiches
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sandwich, Panini
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 large French baguette, sliced
  • 2 turkey tenderloins
  • 16 slices of provolone cheese
  • ¼ cup fig preserves
  • 10-15 sage leaves - chopped
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary garlic seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the turkey tenderloins into a covered baking dish. Drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt, black pepper and the rosemary garlic seasoning.
  3. Bake the tenderloins for approximately 40-50 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink.
  4. Slice the turkey tenderloins.
  5. Cut the provolone cheese slices in half.
  6. Spread butter over one side of each baguette.
  7. Assemble the sandwiches:
  8. Place a piece of baguette butter side down on work surface.
  9. Spread the baguette with fig preserves.
  10. Add ½ slice of the provolone.
  11. Add a slice of turkey.
  12. Add a few chopped sage pieces.
  13. Add another ½ slice of the provolone.
  14. Top with another slice of baguette, butter side out.
  15. Assemble the remaining sandwiches. Repeating the same process.
  16. Place the sandwiches, in batches onto the Panini press. Cook until browned and the cheese melted.
  17. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining sandwiches.


I served my roasted butternut squash soup as the first course followed by the mini Panini sandwiches with a simple cabbage slaw.  Pumpkin cake was our delicious dessert.  The best part was I got to relax and enjoy the meal as well.  I prepared the soup, cabbage slaw and cake the night before.  The only thing I had to do was roast the turkey, assemble the sandwiches, and place them into the Panini press.  And I must say, roasting that turkey made the house smell sensational.


Turkey Panini with fresh sage and fig preserves

turkey.panini.fig.preserve.3This sandwich is like Thanksgiving dinner contained in a delicious, melty package!

I enjoy finding new and unique food items and then creating recipes using those items.  True story, I was shopping for a rug at Marshalls/TJ Maxx and of course, found myself perusing through the gourmet food aisle.  Typically there’s the usual bottles of BBQ sauce and bags of dry pasta.  But this particular day I happened across a jar of all natural fig preserves.  I love fig products.  Fig balsamic (my favorite flavor of vinegar), fig bars and don’t even get me thinking about fig newtons!  Anyway, I digress…

This delicious sandwich is made with deli turkey, swiss cheese, a chiffonade of fresh sage leaves and fig preserves contained within two thick cut slices of sourdough bread.  Wow, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I’ve served it here with a garden salad for a complete meal.


Turkey Panini with fresh sage and fig preserves
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 1
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • deli turkey meat (amount to taste) - I use a nitrate-free low sodium honey roasted turkey
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese (or more depending on your taste)
  • 3-4 fresh sage leaves - sliced into ribbons, a "chiffonade"
  • 1 Tablespoon fig preserves
  • Butter
  1. Butter a slice of bread and lie the butter side down onto a surface to build the sandwich.
  2. Spread the bread with ½ of the fig preserves.
  3. Place one slice of cheese onto the preserves.
  4. Place the sage ribbons onto the cheese.
  5. Next add the turkey, followed by the other slice of cheese.
  6. Butter the second slide of bread.
  7. Spread the non-buttered side of the bread with the fig preserves putting the butter side out.
  8. Place the sandwich onto the Panini press and cook until it becomes nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
  9. Alternate cooking method:
  10. If making this sandwich on a skillet:
  11. Cook it over medium low heat until the bread is nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
  12. I put a foil tent over the sandwich, leaving the sides open for the steam to escape. It melts the cheese nicely while letting the steam escape so the sandwich is not too soft and soggy.
  13. Turn the sandwich over and cook the second side.





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