These meatballs are straightforward to make and a welcome addition to many meals. The combination of mozzarella, scallions and jalapeño is cheerfully reminiscent of jalapeño poppers, and those ingredients—along with crushed Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs — add fat and moisture for tenderness (which also makes them irresistible to nibble on while making dinner).
Our jalapeños were the size of small cucumbers, so our better judgement told us to use only one of them. In the end, the balls were only slightly spicy. But if you just can’t take any level of heat, omit the jalapeño(s) for a milder meatball.
You can eat these with Italian, Mexican or Middle Eastern flavors; their versatility is limitless. Dip them into green sauce, ketchup or tahini; swaddle them in tortillas, pitas or hero rolls; or plop them on top of rice, refried beans, mashed sweet potatoes or sturdy salad greens. In the end, we paired them with a curly pasta shape, and a favorite jarred marinara sauce.
TIP: We used individually-wrapped 1-ounce pieces of mozzarella and shredded them on a box grater, and it worked great.
Roasted Turkey Meatballs With Mozzarella and Scallions
- ½ cup crushed buttery crackers, like Ritz
- 1 large egg
- 1½ tsp. ground cumin
- Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
- 6 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 2 jalapeños, seeded if desired, coarsely chopped
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 oz. chopped mozzarella, preferably fresh (about ½ cup)
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper until a paste forms. Stir in the scallions and jalapeños, if using (reserve a little of each for garnish, if you like).
- Add the turkey and use your hands to mix until combined. Add the mozzarella and mix just until combined. The mixture will be loose and sticky.
- Using wet hands, roll into 12 meatballs (3 tablespoons each) and place on the prepared sheet pan. Bake until cooked through and bottoms are golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Garnish with optional reserved scallions and jalapeños, if you like.
Recipe by Ali Slagle for NYTimes Cooking