Apple & Sage Turkey Meatballs

Sweet apples, tart cranberries and the warm, earthy essence of fresh sage are the flavors of Fall and are what these versatile meatballs are all about. They are great for those holiday get-togethers (shown here as appetizers). I also, serve them for breakfast, with dishes such as, a simple avocado toast or a stack of griddle cakes. But, this particular batch is going along side a dish of hearty farro with butternut squash and fried sage leaves. This dish just screams comfort food and cooler weather!


  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, soaked, drained, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 green apple (I used granny smith), grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Several grinds black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (Delicate) for frying
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (optional)
  • Fresh sage leaves, for garnish (optional)
  1. Soak the cranberries in water for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Using a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, garlic, red onion, applesauce and grated apple. Drain the cranberries and chop. Add them to the bowl along with the sage, salt and pepper. Using your hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients. Make a small patty and fry in a bit of the oil. This is your tester. Taste it for seasoning. If you need to add a bit more salt, this is the time to do it (before you shape them into meatballs). I prefer to make these meatballs about the size of a large walnut, which yields about 24. I almost always shape meatballs into an oval shape instead of round because that’s the way my grandmother made them. She said they cook more evenly than a big round ball. This is the perfect size to serve as merende (small bites). You might also enjoy, polpette con limone and taste of Sicily meatballs.
  3. Using a large skillet, heat the oil and fry on medium heat until browned on all sides and thoroughly cooked. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to fry in batches, to avoid overcrowding.
  4. To serve as an appetizer, place meatballs on individual small plates or a large platter (family style). The sauce is simply a can of whole berry cranberry sauce. Just heat the cranberry sauce and either add a spoonful on top of the individual plates or spoon into a small bowl to accompany the large platter. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.





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