Recipe: Orange Turkey Meatballs And Sauce :: Easy Like A Sunday Morning

Recipe: Orange Turkey Meatballs And Sauce :: Easy Like A Sunday Morning

Easy Like a Sunday Morning, that’s how the recipes in my “Easy” category will be. Nothing rushed or frantic, nothing with a long list of ingredients. Something that is so easy, you don’t really need a recipe. Something that almost cooks itself or requires no cooking at all.

The summer sun has finally decided to make an appearance here on the South West Coast of British Columbia. That means we’re preparing more foods on the stove top, or the barbecue. I usually bake these meatballs in the oven but because of the warm weather, I decided to fry them instead.

I guess a more traditional way to serve, or prepare this Turkey, would be with cranberries but I really like it with orange zest instead. It gives the dish a tropical flare that is especially nice during these summer months. I also used lemon zest one time, when I was out of oranges and that makes for a tasty dish as well.

Originally, the sauce recipe was too sweet, so I tweaked it a few times until I came up with this combination of caramelized onions, garlic, tomato sauce, honey, hot sauce and vinegar. It tastes a bit like a savoury sweet and sour sauce with a bit of a kick. With the citrus zest in the meatballs and this yummy tomato based sauce, your taste buds will be thoroughly entertained.

I love how versatile this recipe is. It can easily be doubled or tripled, if you’re feeding a crowd, or taking it to a pot luck dinner. Make the meatballs smaller and serve with toothpicks for appetizers, or make them larger, to serve as a main course.

You can also switch up the sauce. For a truly tropical dish, serve drenched in an Orange Pineapple sauce, or a Pina Colada Dipping sauce. Or go traditional and serve with your favourite Cranberry Sauce.

Bite size Turkey Meatballs served as a party appetizer. The ones on the left with an Orange Pineapple sauce, while the ones on the right have a Sesame Ginger sauce.

This dish also freezes quite well. Double the volume of meatballs and sauce so you will have lots leftover. Divide the leftovers into meal size portions and freeze in a freezer safe container. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge, heat and serve the following day. Makes for a tasty dinner in no time at all!

Recipe: Orange Turkey Meatballs And Sauce

View Print Friendly Recipe Here

Summary: A versatile recipe that you can fry, or bake, serve as an appetizer, or as a main course, or change the sauce up for a completely different taste.

Gluten Free | Refined Sugar Free | Omnivore



  • 1/4 Cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or puffed rice cereal, crushed, or finely ground in a food processor
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • orange zest, from one small orange
  • oil for frying


  • 1 medium onion, caramelized
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (398 ml, 14 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Siracha hot sauce, optional
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp gluten free tamari
  • 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch, or starch of choice


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the meatball ingredients until just blended.
  2. Roll into small meatballs, about 1 inch to serve as appetizers, or large, up to 2 inches, to serve as a main course. Fry meatballs in a large frying pan, on medium-high heat. Turn to brown on all sides. Meatballs will be done, when lightly browned on outside and no longer pink on the inside.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, turn heat down to simmer.
  4. Gently stir cooked meatballs into sauce. Allow to simmer in the sauce for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Serve hot. With toothpicks, as an appetiser, or spooned over mashed potatoes or rice as a main course.

Quick notes

  • Double the recipe and freeze leftover meatballs in the sauce for a quick heat and serve meal.


  • For an Asian inspired dish, serve meatballs with a ginger-sesame sauce.
  • For a Tropical flavour, serve meat balls with an Orange Pineapple sauce, or a Pina Colada Dipping sauce.
  • Prefer to bake the meatballs instead of frying? Bake the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes. Roll the meatballs over, and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Meatballs will be done when lightly browned on outside and no longer pink on the inside. Serve hot with sauce.

Recipe by Laureen.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet tags: Gluten Free | Refined Sugar Free | Omnivore

Number of servings (yield): 2-4


To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click here

For dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here


This posting is linked to the following events:

Make Your Own! Mondays hosted by Lea at Nourishing Treasures

Melt In Your Mouth Monday hosted by Jane at Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms

Fat Tuesday hosted by Jill at Real Food Forager

Hearth and Soul Hop hosted by April at21st Century Housewife

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

Traditional Tuesdays hosted by Melanie at Pickle Me Too

Gluten Free Wednesdays hosted by Linda at Gluten-Free Homemaker

Allergy Free Wednesdays hosted by Tessa at Tessa Domestic Diva

Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly at Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Recipe Box hosted by Chaya at Bizzy Bakes

This Is Real Thursday hosted by France at Beyond The Peel

Pennywise Platter Thursday hosted by Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet

Whole Food Fridays hosted by Megan at Allergy Free Alaska

Foodie Fridayhosted by Diane at Simple Living with Diane Balch

Potluck Party Olympics International Recipes hosted by Ella at Lifeologia

Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Nikki at chef in training

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Laureen is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in the Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.
Dairy Free Gluten Free Omnivore Quick & Easy Recipes Refined Sugar Free


    • Laureen says:

      I’m not a big fan of meatballs either but I enjoy the different flavours that come together in this recipe. The sauce is based on an old recipe that used a can of onion soup and a can of tomato soup. Most canned soup has gluten, so not good for me

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