53 – Spaghetti and Black Bean Turkey Meatballs

The number of times that I have made a grocery list, and then failed to buy everything I need for a particular recipe, is nothing short of astounding. Sometimes it’s a result of rushing and simply failing to write down an ingredient. Sometimes, it’s failing to even bring the grocery list along while I go shopping. Then, like today, I simply don’t have the patience to carefully read through the entire list; I scan, I miss something, and I forget to buy it.

That was the case today. Mateja and I went for a long walk down to the river, and by the time we got to the grocery store (it was along the way home), we were tired, hungry, and parched. Trying to get to the checkout quickly so we could crack open our box of ice cream treats and drink our refreshingly-cold bottled water (which we didn’t even wait to pay for to start drinking), mistakes were made. So, by the time we got home – hot, sweaty (just me) and tired – and I realized I had forgotten to purchase cannellini beans, it was too late. Thankfully, an alternative (a can of black beans) was on hand, and the day was saved.

I feel like this posting is going to be much like that grocery trip: by the time I’m getting around to posting this, I’m tired and simply want to be done with it. Taking quality pictures and actually writing up a recipe is draining. I like the cooking, and I love adding little anecdotes, but I think it’s going to take a while for me to appreciate the other aspects of food blogging that come with the territory of now having dedicated followers. Oh well, c’est la vie!

This recipe is part Jamie Oliver (the pasta sauce was inspired by a few recipes of his I’ve come across), part Sarah n’ Spice (a fellow food blogger who recently shared her “White Bean Turkey Meatballs” recipe on a site we both contribute to), and part me. I attempted to make Sarah’s meatballs, but ended up changing the recipe a bit to make up for my grocery shopping incompetence (and because I wanted to use up certain ingredients I had kicking around). I wanted to follow one of Jamie’s recipes exactly for the sauce, but didn’t like the cooking time it required. What resulted was a mash-up that’s original enough to be called my own, and yet somehow it was quite delicious. Anyways, without further adieu, Spaghetti and Black Bean Turkey Meatballs, from yours truly:

Spaghetti and Black Bean Turkey Meatballs


  • 1 can (14 oz.) black beans, rinsed2015-06-06 19.44.57
  • 1/2 bulb worth of garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 50g sundried tomatoes (about 10)
  • 750 g. ground turkey thighs
  • 2 large eggs, preferably free range
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • small bunch fresh parsley, stalks removed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/8 cups shaved parmesan
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (optional)
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 bulb worth of garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch basil leaves, chopped
  • small bunch oregano leaves, chopped
  • 2 x 680ml bottle strained tomatoes
  • salt, to taste
  • shaved parmesan, for serving
  • 1 package spaghetti


  • In a food processor, combine the beans, garlic, onions, carrot, and sundried tomatoes. Blend until mixture becomes a thick paste.
  • In a large bowl, combine the turkey and the bean paste. Add the rosemary, parsley, crushed red pepper, and salt. Crack the two eggs into the bowl, and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. If you’re adding the bread crumbs, do so now, and mix again until combined.
  • Form the meat into 2-bite balls and spoon onto baking sheets lined with foil (an ice cream scoop works well for this part). Place in an oven pre-heated to 425 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. If not simmering the meatballs in the pasta sauce,
  • When the meatballs are about halfway through the baking process, prepare the sauce. Add a few lugs of olive oil to a large saucepan and place on low heat. Toss in the onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook for about a minute longer. Add the basil and oregano, and cook for about a minute longer. Add the strained tomatoes, bring to a boil and then let simmer.
  • When the meatballs are finished baking for their 30 minutes, remove them from the oven and toss them into the sauce. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Toss a large pot of salted water on a burner and bring to a boil. Dump in the package of spaghetti and cook until desired tenderness.
  • Ideally the pasta will finish at the exact same time that the sauce finishes its simmering. Add salt to the sauce to taste, then serve over a bed of spaghetti, shaving parmesan overtop if desired. If your meatballs skipped the simmering in sauce portion, don’t forget to add them on top of your sauce.

Serves approx. 6

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Spaghetti and Black Bean Turkey Meatballs

As you can tell from the pictures, I used a combination of meatballs simmered in sauce, and meatballs simply baked. I’m still playing around with angles, lighting, exposure, and the like. I don’t think I’ll ever be amazing at food styling, but I can at least work on other aspects to help improve my photography.


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