Recipe: Turkey Meatballs With Caramelized Onion And Tomato Sauce

Recipe: Turkey Meatballs With Caramelized Onion And Tomato Sauce

I thought about calling this recipe Eileen’s Meatballs. The original recipe was one I got about 20 years ago from a friend named Eileen.

I’ve lost touch with my friend Eileen. Sad when you lose touch with old friends, isn’t it? I used to think of her every time I made the recipe we dubbed Eileen’s Meatballs.

After finding out I was Gluten Intolerant, I had to change Eileen’s old Meatball recipe because it had ingredients that contain gluten. There were two kinds of condensed soup in cans, Onion Soup and Tomato Soup, neither of which were gluten free, or at least the brand I was buying wasn’t GF. The original recipe also called for Rolled Oats, which are often contaminated with gluten.


If you make this recipe, be sure to use certified gluten free oats. I guess if you find gluten free condensed Onion Soup and Tomato Soup, you could use those (along with some water to bring the combined total of liquids to 2 and 2/3 Cups) in place of the broth, caramelized onion and tomato sauce called for in this recipe. I will be sticking with this version, I think it tastes better. I also believe everything made from scratch tastes better (and most often it’s better for you).


A couple of other things I’ve updated…Eileen’s old recipe called for beef but in this recipe, I’m using Ground Turkey. That’s just a personal preference. If you would rather use Ground Beef, or if that’s all the ground meat you have on hand, by all means substitute it 1:1 for the Turkey. I’ve also added shredded carrots. The more veggies in your diet the better, besides the carrots taste good and add moisture to the meatball mixture.

Good any time of the year, I usually bake them in the oven before adding them to the sauce but they can also be fried. Baking the meatballs is less fussy as you don’t have to keep stirring and turning them, you only turn them once but if I’m making them in the summer and don’t want to heat up the house, I fry them.


These meatballs are great paired with some potatoes and veggies for supper, or perfect to take along for a pot-luck party. In fact, when I first tried my friend Eileen’s Meatballs, it was at a pot-luck party.

You can also serve the meatballs as a party appetizer. Make the recipe as directed. After the cooked meatballs have been sitting in the sauce long enough to absorb the flavours, insert a toothpick or party pick into each meatball and arrange on a platter. Best when served hot.

I doubt my friend Eileen would recognize this modernized version of her old recipe but nonetheless, I’m sure she would love it and I wish we were still in touch, so I could thank her for the inspiration.

Turkey Meatballs With Caramelized Onion And Tomato Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Gluten Free | Dairy Free | Sugar Free | Omnivore
  • Always refer to packaging labels for the most up to date allergy information
Turkey Meatballs
Caramelized Onion And Tomato Sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, add eggs, water, GF oats and carrots, Stir until combined. Add ground turkey, broken up in smaller bits, stir to combine.
  3. Form into meatballs about 1? in diameter and place on prepared pan. Recipe makes about 48 one inch meatballs.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven, turn all the meatballs over, return to oven, bake for 12 more minutes, or until meatballs are no longer pink in center.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, make the sauce.
  6. In a large saucepan, add broth, tomato sauce, caramelized onion, vinegar, Liquid Amino, corn starch, garlic powder and cayenne. Heat on medium, stirring often until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Turn heat to low and allow sauce to simmer.
  7. Once meatballs have finished cooking, add them to the sauce. Allow meatballs and sauce to simmer for about 15-20 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve for supper with potatoes and veggies, take them along to a pot-luck party or insert toothpicks in meatballs (after they’ve simmered in the sauce) and arrange them on a platter to serve as appetizers.
Caramelized Onions
  1. To make the Caramelized Onions, use a large thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat to sauté chopped onions in a small amount of cooking oil along with a couple pinches of salt (the salt helps to release the onions sweet juices). Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally with a wood or metal spatula and cook until the onions are deeply golden, brown, and caramelized – roughly 30 or 40 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
You can use Ground Beef instead of Ground Turkey. Substitute 1:1.

Laureens Signature


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

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


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Laureen Fox
Laureen is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in this Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.


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