Guys. I did it. I made the best meatballs ever. Like seriously. My husband took one bite and said, "wow," but I didn't really take his word for it until I tried it myself. Let me tell you, these Tuscan meatballs with sun-dried tomatoes are the most tender and flavorful meatballs I have ever created. The sauce is a twist on traditional tomato sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a splash of red wine and the meatballs are basic turkey meatballs. But, and this is a big but, the way they are cooked results in the fall apart, melt in your mouth meatballs. It's just so good (did I not make that clear yet?).
Tuscan Meatballs with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko
- ¼ cup parmesan grated
Sun-dried tomato sauce
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup red wine
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- grated parmesan for finishing
- fresh basil and oregano for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Combine 1 lb ground turkey with 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1 egg, ½ cup panko, and ¼ cup grated parmesan until well combined. Form 10-12 meatballs and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp but not cooked inside.
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
- Make the sun-dried tomato sauce. Add 28 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes with ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, ¼ cup red wine, 2 garlic cloves, fresh oregano, basil, parsley, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes in a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Place the meatballs in an oven-safe baking dish and pour the sauce on top. Cover the dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish the meatballs with parmesan, fresh basil, and fresh oregano. Serve hot.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you glanced over the recipe and wondered, but what makes these Tuscan meatballs with sun-dried tomatoes so great? It's all about the method. First, season the meatballs and bake them until crisp and browned on the side but not fully cooked inside. I used turkey but I imagine you can get the same results with pork or chicken. Beef, on the other hand, might not result in meatballs that are as tender especially if you use lean ground beef. I would suggest combining ground beef with ground pork to get better results.
While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Simmer all of the ingredients to cook out the alcohol and create one cohesive sauce. If you don't have fresh herbs, substitute with 1 teaspoon dried for every 1 tablespoon. Season the sauce with salt and pepper before adding it to the meatballs to ensure that you have the best sauce possible. Now pour the sun-dried tomato sauce over the meatballs, cover the pan, and bake at a low temperature. Slow-baking the meatballs will let it soak in the sauce and prevent it from drying out. The results? The most tender meatballs ever.
If you want to have one less dish to wash, make the sauce in an oven-safe pan like a dutch oven, and add the meatballs directly to the pot.
Finish the Tuscan meatballs with fresh basil, oregano, and, of course, more cheese. Because you can't forget the cheese. Now get ready for the most amazing texture. Good, right? I served these beauties with a delicious bacon and egg flatbread for the ultimate feast.
For more meatball inspiration check out these chicken meatballs with bourbon mustard sauce!