Mediterranean Spinach Turkey Meatballs With Vegetable Orzo

spinach and turkey meatballs with vegetable orzo

Molly Cleary

Total Time: 50 min
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Servings: 4

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

550 calories
25g fat
46g carbs
38g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 550
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 146mg 49%
Sodium 527mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 3g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 38g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 268mg 21%
Iron 26mg 144%
Potassium 230mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Although it's shaped like rice, orzo is actually a type of pasta. It cooks much faster than rice, making it a great choice in a soup or a quick side dish. This recipe uses whole wheat orzo which provides 30 grams of whole grains per serving. Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C, which functions as an antioxidant and plays a role in immune function. Whole grains, vegetables, lean protein such as turkey, and heart-healthy fats such as olive oil are pinnacles of the Mediterranean diet.


  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves (or 1½ teaspoon minced garlic)
  • 1 pound ​ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ tablespoon basil, dried
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat orzo, dry
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Put baby spinach and garlic in your food processor. Pulse into very small pieces. If you don’t have a food processor, dice until spinach and garlic are very finely chopped.

  2. Mix turkey, egg, cheese, spinach and garlic mixture, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and the breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Form into about 16 meatballs. You may need to add a little more breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet to form. Bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes at 400F.

  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the orzo and cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Drain in a colander. Put back into the pot and mix well with olive oil to prevent it from sticking.

  5. While the orzo is cooking, dice your peppers and onion into small pieces if you haven't already done so. Slice basil into thin strips.

  6. Add peppers, onion, garlic, lemon juice, fresh basil, salt, and pepper in with the orzo. Mix well.

  7. Serve meatballs over a bed of orzo.

    Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

    Ground chicken works just as well in this recipe.

    Vegetables in the orzo can also be substituted based on what you have on hand. Tomatoes or carrots would also work well.

    Cooking and Serving Tips

    If you're having a tough time peeling the garlic clove, here's a little trick: Place it down flat on your cutting board, place the wide portion of your knife over it, and gently crush it. After this, the peel should come right off.

    You can form into as many meatballs as you want, but this cooking time is appropriate for 16 meatballs (1 ounce of turkey each).

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