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Meatballs in Red Pepper Sauce

October 23, 2020

Meatballs in Red Pepper Sauce


Meatballs are a favourite around here, but we don’t actually make them that often. So when we do, it’s important that they’re yummy. After all, as a favourite, we have high expectations! On busy weeknights, when both of us have come home from long shifts, I don’t really feel like going crazy with long recipes though. So these meatballs and they’re Spanish inspired sauce are quick, simple and oh so tasty. 

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Spanish Inspired

A few years ago I tried Whole30 for the first time, and was up to my neck in Whole30 specific recipes. One of which was a tomato based, Spanish sauce, called Romesco. It had garlic, and peppers, nuts, and lots of seasoning, and it came together in moments in a blender. Since then I’ve used variations of that sauce a lot. I like anything that I can just throw into my food processor and have made in a few quick pulses. In the end, I settled my own recipe on this one, and since it is more red pepper based than tomato based, it can’t be called a true Romesco sauce. (Click here for my Guide to Roasting Bell Peppers). But damn if it’s not yummy. For an excellent, and much more traditional Romesco recipe, check out This One from Serious Eats. 

Meatballs in Red Pepper Sauce

Gluten Free and Whole30 by Accident

The whole recipe actually ends up being gluten free and also Whole30 friendly. So if you’re living that life, then not to worry! After doing Whole30 I basically stopped putting flour in my meatballs all together. It’s a real last resort for me, I’d rather just get the straight protein kick. I also don’t tend to use eggs in my meatballs, even though those are fine on Whole30. But with ground turkey, I’ve never felt the need to use binding agents. The meat is sticky enough that they all hold together.

Perfectly Rolled

Rolling perfectly sized meatballs probably isn’t everyone’s concern. But it can be really helpful when meal planning, or when I’m watching my portion sizes, and for even cooking. With meatballs, a few years ago I started using an ice cream scoop. It’s weird sounding, but it’s super helpful. I bought a set like this one, and use the smallest one to scoop out perfectly even little balls. Then if I want them rolled smooth, I dunk my hands in a bowl of water, and then roll them up without any sticking. Scooping them out is also very fast, so saves me time on busy nights. 

For a couple other yummy sauce ideas, check out these Simple Sun-Dried Tomato Sauces, or this Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Meatballs in Red Pepper Sauce

A simple weeknight meal, that's packed with flavour.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, canadian, Spanish
Servings 18 Meatballs


Red Pepper Sauce

  • 1 cup Roasted Red Peppers Store bought or Homemade
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • 1/4 cup Sliced Almonds Toasted
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp each Salt, Oregano, Spanish Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp each Basil, Parsley
  • 1 tsp each Black Pepper, Chipotle Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • a Pinch of Nutmeg
  • Water or Stock to Loosen for Serving


  • 500 g Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Flakes


  • Heat the oven to 425F


  • Finely dice the garlic and shallot.
  • In a large bowl, combine the turkey, garlic, shallot, salt, pepper, oregano, and chili flakes. Using a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop, scoop out the mixture into 18 meatballs.
  • With wet hands, roll the scoops into smooth balls, and place on a lined baking tray.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until browning, and firmed up.

Red Pepper Sauce

  • Combine all the sauce ingredients except the water/stock in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. It wont ever become perfectly smooth, but that's okay. This sauce has a slightly rustic texture.

To Serve

  • Pour the sauce into a small pot, and loosen slightly with a bit of water. Heat over medium low until its hot all the way through. Stir often. Stir through the meatballs until they're fully coated and hot.
  • I like to serve this over roasted potatoes. But it goes well with rice or pasta too.
Keyword Meatballs, Red Pepper Sauce, roasted red pepper

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