Lemon-Parmesan Chicken Meatballs

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I first posted this recipe for Lemon-Parm Turkey Meatballs when Mattis was just a teeny tiny infant, in Spring 2019. Everyone went WILD for them, but I got a lot of questions about how to cook them without the mushrooms, how to bake them if someone didn’t want to sear them, etc.

Here’s how! I made this batch using ground chicken, and I have to say, I might prefer it over the turkey. They stayed moist and juicy for an entire week! They freeze also beautifully – cook them first, then freeze and reheat when you need them.

Since they’re entirely baked, they don’t get the nice browning that the original version does, but I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of beauty for how DANG simple these are to throw together.

PS I have doubled and even tripled this recipe for large crowds. Works like a charm! Such a fun, unexpected main dish.

Lemon-Parmesan Chicken Meatballs 

Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • 1 large bowl
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 2garlic cloves, grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Optional for serving: 2 cups arugula, more Parmesan cheese, lemon wedges

Substitutions:

  • Turkey—> ground chicken or turkey can be used interchangeably here. Beef is not a good sub.
  • Parmesan—> any hard, grated cheese. Cheddar, manchego, Gouda, pecorino romano…
  • Shallot—> 1/4 cup minced yellow onion.
  • Egg—> you can make a flax egg, but an egg really helps keep these meatballs moist~
  • Garlic—> 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Lemon zest—> omit.
  • Fresh thyme leaves—> 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, dried oregano, dried parsley, etc.
  • Red pepper flakes—> omit if you don’t like heat, or use a TINY bit of cayenne or chili powder if you do like heat.
  • Olive oil—> any neutral-flavored cooking oil will work.
  • Arugula—> this is basically just to make the meatballs look pretty, and give them a simple green. Spinach or any green works instead.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix 1 pound ground turkey, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/3 cup panko, 1 small minced shallot, 1 egg, lightly beaten, 2 minced garlic cloves, the zest from one lemon , 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes with your hands until just combined. Don’t over-mix or they’ll be tough!
  • Gently roll turkey mixture into 8 to 10 meatballs and place on the lined baking sheet. The meat mixture will be very wet and sticky, that is correct! If it’s sticking to your hands too much to make it possible to roll out the meatballs, wet your hands as you go. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of each meatball. 
  • Place baking sheet in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal meatball temperature is 160°F.
  • Serve with arugula, more parmesan cheese, and lemon wedges.
  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 2garlic cloves, grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Optional for serving: 2 cups arugula, more Parmesan cheese, lemon wedges

Substitutions:

  • Turkey—> ground chicken or turkey can be used interchangeably here. Beef is not a good sub.
  • Parmesan—> any hard, grated cheese. Cheddar, manchego, Gouda, pecorino romano…
  • Shallot—> 1/4 cup minced yellow onion.
  • Egg—> you can make a flax egg, but an egg really helps keep these meatballs moist~
  • Garlic—> 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Lemon zest—> omit.
  • Fresh thyme leaves—> 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, dried oregano, dried parsley, etc.
  • Red pepper flakes—> omit if you don’t like heat, or use a TINY bit of cayenne or chili powder if you do like heat.
  • Olive oil—> any neutral-flavored cooking oil will work.
  • Arugula—> this is basically just to make the meatballs look pretty, and give them a simple green. Spinach or any green works instead.

Notes

This is a great turkey burger mixture. 1 pound of meat = 4 burgers. Make the patties very thin, and cook them in 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 4 minutes per side.
Author: Caroline Chambers

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