Easy Roasted Ground Turkey Meatballs in Creamy Orzo and Spinach

Easy Roasted Ground Turkey Meatballs in Creamy Orzo and Spinach

Looking for something to do with leftover or ground turkey? Try this hearty dish that fills the hungriest tummies.

A bowl filled with creamy orzo surrounded with several meatballs

Why this recipe works:

  • Roasting meatballs is so much less messy than pan frying.
  • This is a great way to use up leftovers in your pantry- stale bread, spinach & herbs that are not “pretty” enough for a salad
  • Cooking the orzo in the pan means less to clean up and it is creamy- like risotto
  • Dark turkey is packed with flavor
  • Leftovers are even better- make a big batch
a sheet pan lined with a ton  turkey meatballs
Turkey meatballs roasted is SO much easier

How to make roasted ground turkey meatballs:

  • soak day old bread in milk
  • sauté shallots, chopped garlic and herbs in a pan
  • add bread, egg, shallot mixture and ground turkey to a d food processor and pulse. Shape mixture into meatballs
  • line baking tray with parchment-place turkey meatballs on pan and roast for 20 minutes.
  • toast orzo and garlic in a pan while meatballs roast. Stir in spinach. Pour in wine, bouillon, water and heavy cream. Add parmesan cheese. Nestle the meatballs in the orzo, cook on low for 10 minutes.
ground turkey and spices in a food processor

Other recipes to make with ground turkey

a pan of herb and garlic sautéing in butter
A quick chop of herbs and garlic, salute and mix into the meat

Equipment needed to make roasted ground turkey meatballs in creamy orzo:

  • large skillet
  • rimmed sheet pan
  • ice cream scoop for shaping uniform meatballs
  • parchment paper
  • food processor
a pan of cream sauce and fresh spinach in a pan

Tips for success with this recipe:

  • do not over cook the meatballs when roasting. They will continue to cook through in the orzo and sauce.
  • add more wine or water if mixture is drying too quickly
  • simmer the orzo on the very lowest setting and keep covered
  • remove the stems from the spinach
roasted meatballs in a pan of creamy sauce

Frequently asked questions:

Q. Can I use ground pork or beef?

A. Yes, but there will be more fat. Drain the fat from the meatballs so the sauce is not too greasy.

Q. How do I re-heat leftovers?

A. Add the mixture to a saucepan and cover. Warm on low. Add more water if needed. Microwaving can toughen the meatballs.

Q. Is this gluten or dairy-free?

A. No. The orzo and bread crumbs have gluten. You can substitute a gluten free bread or try using gluten free pasta. Substitute coconut milk for the cream.

Q. Can I omit the alcohol?

A. Yes- just add in 1 cup of water or 1 cup of chicken broth or stock in place of the wine.

a bowl filled with creamy orzo and meatballs
A bowl filled with creamy orzo surrounded with several meatballs

Easy Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Orzo

This is a quick weeknight recipe that will have a satisfying dinner on the table in under an hour using affordable ground dark turkey and day old bread.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: turkey meatballs with orzo
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 426kcal


  • 1 Food Processor


  • 1 lb dark turkey meat
  • 3 slices day old bread
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 8-9 sage leaves chopped
  • 4-5 sage for garnish
  • 2 shallots chopped and divided
  • 3 cloves garlic minced fine and divided
  • ¼ tsp old bay seasoning
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 tsp Better than bouillon chicken flavor
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups fresh spinach stems removed
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place bread in a small bowl with milk. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter, sauté on medium high heat 1 of the shallots, sage, 1 clove of garlic, flat leaf parsley, old bay, salt & pepper for 1 minute until shallots are softened. Do not clean pan. Set aside. Place shallot mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Add milk soaked bread, egg and turkey to the food processor. Pulse until ingredients just come together. Using a medium size scoop, shape mixture in balls and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 TBSP of olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until just browned. (The inside may still be undercooked. )
  • While the meatballs are roasting, heat remaining olive oil in the skillet. Add remaining garlic and 1 cup orzo and sauté for 1 minute on low heat until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the bouillon & coat the orzo well. Stir in the wine & water. Bring to a simmer stirring constantly so the orzo does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir in the cream, spinach and Parmesan. Nestle the meatballs in the orzo, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add more water if needed.


  • Be sure not to overcook your meatballs in the oven. They will cook through while covered in the pan.
  • If you do not have a food processor, you can mix this by hand in a large bowl.
  • Most savory herbs will work in this recipe- I just love thyme, sage and flat leaf parsley because they compliment poultry. Avoid cilantro or coriander or dill. They will overpower the cream sauce.
  • Try mixing in other veggies like sun dried tomatoes, artichokes or even green olives.
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 426kcal

    This recipe is inspired by The Original Dish.

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    Recipe Rating


    1. Kristina Agrillo says:

      5 stars
      This is beyond delicious! I love that it’s comforting, creamy, and can be made with ingredients I have off hand.

    2. 5 stars
      These are simply amazing. One of my favorites.