Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce - Nigella

I won Nigella Kitchen when it first came out and I was really excited about this particular prize. Nigella inspires me and this book inspires me even more. She has many helpful hints throughout the book and I find myself learning new techniques and better methods. The recipes appeal to me and I see how I go back to many of them, over and over again.

I have a list of recipes, from Nigella Kitchen that I want to make and hopefully, I will be sharing them with you. Right now, I am going to share her meatball recipe which I made, recently.

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce


For the sauce:
1 onion, peeled
1 celery stalk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 x 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
3 1/3 cups (2 full cans) water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper, to taste
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
3 tablespoons potato chip crumbs
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion and celery (from the tomato sauce ingredients above)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


Put the peeled onion and celery into a processor and blitz to a mush. Or you can chop as finely as humanly possible by hand. Reserve 2 tablespoons for the meatball mixture. (I chopped but I had to leave Nigella's wording here. Who says "blitz to a mush"? Is that an English expression? I love it."

Warm the oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, add the onion and celery mixture, along with the thyme, and cook at moderate to low heat, stirring every now and again, for about 10 minutes.

Add the cans of tomato, filling up each empty can with water to add to the pan. Season with the sugar, salt and pepper, stir and then leave to come to a bubble, and then turn down to let it simmer gently while you get on with the meatballs.

Put all the ingredients for the meatballs, including the reserved chopped onion and celery, and salt according to preference, into a large bowl and mix together, gently, with your hands, wearing disposable vinyl gloves if you feel so inclined. Don't over-mix, as that will make the meatballs dense-textured and heavy.

When all the meatball ingredients are not too officiously amalgamated, start rolling. The easiest way really to do this is to pinch out an amount about the size of a generously heaped teaspoon and roll into a bowl between the palms of your hands. Put the meatballs on a baking tray, lined with baking parchment or greaseproof paper, as you go. You should get about 50 little meatballs.

Drop these gently into the simmering sauce; I try to let these fall in concentric circles working around the pan from the outside edge inwards, in only the vaguest of fashions.

Let the meatballs cook for 30 minutes, until cooked through. Serve with rice or pasta or however you so please.

The above is almost word to word from her recipe. I made minor changes but I wanted the wording to stay intact. She is delightful and I love reading her recipes and the way she words her sentences.

This is Potluck Week at IHCC where we can choose any of the past chefs or of course, the present choice, Donna Hay.  I chose these meatballs from Nigella.


  1. We like turkey meatballs and I never think to make them often enough. This looks like a good recipe to try...very flavorful!

  2. Potato chips crumbs is unique. Bet it ads a great saltiness and texture to the meatballs.

  3. My kids love tomatoes base food. For sure they going to love this!

  4. "Blitz to a Mush" that is funny, Chaya. However, there's is nothing funny about those meatballs. I bet they were delicious! The potato chips are indeed a nice surprise.

    Thanks for sharing, Chaya..."See" you at the pasta Party tomorrow:)

  5. Hi Chaya,
    This is delicious! I've made this back in August for our Cook Like A Star event, and had this over spaghetti! Yummy! I love Nigella's Kitchen book! My book is full of post-it notes, for recipes I want to try!

  6. I love meatballs. Will try these with chicken mince. Lovely recipe.

  7. Nigella is the queen of easy comfort food dishes and her writing is always fun to read! ;-) I like the idea of the potato chip crumbs in there too!

  8. Chaya,

    Nigella is new to me,thanks for sharing this recipe. we often cook chinese-style meatballs. This one sure be more flavorful with herbs, tomato sauce and potato chips!

  9. Love the addition of the potato chip crumbs. I also appreciate that the meatballs don't have to be browned first. This recipe looks delicious. Great potluck choice.

  10. What a great looking dish, Chaya. I love the addition of the potato chip crumbs in there - I think Nigella is the only chef I know who would do that. I agree with you - I love Nigella's writing style too - makes reading her books and recipes a real joy.

  11. I also like the potato chips. How fun!

  12. How nice that you won Nigella's Kitchen! It is a great cookbook with tons of recipes for sure! I really love Nigella's rather poetic style of writing and can actually read her cookbooks for hours. These turkey meatballs look delicious!

  13. This looks so good. I forget about making meatballs. I really need to do that more often - and make this.

  14. Haha, "not to officiously amalgamated"! Got to love her writing. Some people think Nigella has become a parody of herself, but I find her books quite down to earth and they show she is a just a quirky, normal human.


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