You Are Not Eating Enough Mini Meatballs

You Are Not Eating Enough Mini Meatballs
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Miniature meatballs are undeniably charming. Whether they’re beef, turkey, Impossible meat, or covered in grape jam — I love them all. They come in big, glorious batches, and eating several at a time is highly encouraged. In fact, the servings are pleasantly deceptive. Eating eight ounces of Swedish meatballs is much less intimidating than if you presented me with one large meatball of equal weight. When they’re not standing alone as a star appetizer, adding them to any savoury dish will almost certainly improve it. Let’s put more mini meatballs in everything.

I stress mini not only because of how gratifying it is to see a mound of them crowd my plate, but also because they’re logistically better than standard or large meatballs. The larger ones may look impressive, but you have to break them up into small bites to fit them in your mouth.

An example of meatball perversions that tick me off are meatball parm sandwiches or pizzas where they cut the balls in half or slice them so they don’t roll away. They’re not even spherical anymore! Minis just work better. We can skip the slicing and dicing middleman because the petite variety requires no toying in order for them to sit nicely on a saucy, cheesy sandwich and go directly into my mouth. You could argue that they take longer to prepare. With so many more meatballs to shape, is it worth it? Absolutely. The extra time you take during prep is an even trade for the ridiculously fast cook time on the stove top or in the oven.

Where can you add mini meatballs?

At the risk of sounding like an Olive Garden voiceover script, mini meatballs are excellent additions to soup, salads, and pastas. For soups, think Italian wedding soup and beyond. Try adding them to chowders, creamy broccoli soup, or bulk up a French onion soup. Add baby meatballs to salads for a flavour-packed switch from the usual sliced, grilled chicken. Pasta sounds obvious, but when you make the meatballs marble-sized, a normal serving looks like a heaping quantity and feels like you’ve thrown the traditional conservative-meat-to-pasta-ratio right out the window. Casseroles, stir fries, and tacos also make for excellent mini meatball meals.

They’re even great for breakfast. My boyfriend makes fantastic turkey meatballs and we try our best to save some for the next morning. If you’re able to keep yourself from snacking on them, make this recipe and toss some in an omelette with cheese. Garnish with a few slices of avocado on the side.

Carmine’s Mini Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 226 g ground turkey
  • ½ tsp olive oil (additional for coating the pan)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon umami mushroom seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of dried rosemary
  • Pinch of dried sage

*Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a sheet pan with foil and lightly coat with oil.

Use the ½ teaspoon of olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of a medium mixing bowl. Add all of the seasonings and the turkey to the bowl. Mix lightly with a fork until all of the seasonings get evenly dispersed among the meat.

Form the mini meatballs with a teaspoon or pinch off pieces if you’re good at estimating volume by sight. Roll them briefly in your hands and place them on the oiled and foiled sheet pan. Teaspoon-sized meatballs should be close to an inch in diameter, about the same as a U.S. quarter.

Bake at 190°C for 10 minutes. They’ll look cooked but barely have any colour. Flip them and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Enjoy by adding them to everything. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to five days or freeze for up to four months.

(These also cook up well on the stove top. Just coat the bottom of a large pot or skillet with a thin layer of oil, and put the shaped mini meatballs directly in. Cook over medium heat, and stir occasionally to brown evenly for about five minutes.)

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