These Spicy Turkey Pomegranate Meatballs will be a hit at any holiday party. The pomegranate and seasonings create a tangy, sweet and sour sauce.
The spices have a Middle Eastern flare. The seasonings include Sumac, which can be found in Middle Eastern stores. The sumac is optional but the meatballs will be less tangy without it. You can substitute lemon zest or lemon pepper.
Pomegranate molasses or concentrate is more common now and can be found in grocery stores with an international section. Food Basics carries a Cedar brand of pomegranate molasses.
These are really quick to make. You can blend all the ingredients in your food processor and then just form the balls.
They are gluten free if you use gluten free oats. Oats are a bit of an anomaly. Oats should be gluten free but they may be contaminated if they were processed in a facility with wheat. They can also be contaminated if they were grown in close vicinity of wheat. For most gluten intolerant people regular oats are not a problem. However, oats certified to be gluten free are readily available so if there is a severe intolerance you will already know about gluten free oats!
These meatballs work well as a make ahead appetizer. You can make them a day ahead and just reheat them in the sauce when your are ready to serve them. They also freeze very well.
I like including meatballs as an appetizer selection because they are substantial morsels, can be low carb, gluten free, paleo - you name it. You can vary them so much depending on the meat and spices and sauce you choose.
Serve them with some holiday picks for a festive presentation. These got rave reviews from my recipe taste testers so they will definitely have a place in my holiday entertaining this year!
Spicy Turkey Pomegranate Meatballs
- 2 lbs lean ground turkey
- 1 medium onion minced
- ⅔ cup oats
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon sumac Optional - see note
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tsps dried mint optional
- 2 Tbsps vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup pomegranate molasses
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup chicken broth (or omit beef broth and use 2 cups chicken broth)
- 3 Tbsps brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon sumac optional or substitute lemon zest or lemon pepper
- arils from ½ fresh pomegranate
- fresh mint leaves chopped optional
- Mix all the meatball ingredients together until well combined.
- Use a Tablespoon to scoop out meat portion and roll into uniform balls.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add meatballs so they are in one layer. Do not crowd. Brown in 2 batches. Brown meatballs on all sides. They do not need to be cooked through since they will simmer in the sauce later.
- Transfer browned meatballs to a platter and wipe the pan clean with paper towel.
- Mix the pomegranate molasses, stock, brown sugar, chili flakes, paprika and sumac together in a bowl and transfer to the skillet. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the water to the cornstarch to form a paste. Add to the sauce and simmer until it starts to thicken.
- Add the meatballs back in and simmer 15-20 minutes. Sauce should be syrupy.
- Garnish with fresh pomegranate arils and mint if using.
- This recipe makes 24 meatballs if serving as an appetizer. It is also delicious served over rice as a main course.
- Meatballs in sauce will keep well a couple of days in the fridge. Or freeze, sealed airtight, up to 3 months. Reheat gently and add fresh pomegranate arils and mint just before serving if desired.