Jalapeno Popper Meatballs

These jalapeno meatballs are the first thing I make when I decide to “clean up my act” food-wise. I know, I know, but hear me out. They’re not a health food by any stretch of the imagination. Nope. Not at all. But they’re small, filling, and packed with jalapeno-popper flavor. That means I can add two or three to a salad or otherwise lighter dish, and crush my cravings without wrecking my day. Plus, this recipe makes about 30-34 cheesy, bacon-y meatballs, so you can party now and freeze the rest for all kinds of flavor emergencies later. Make a batch tonight and eat ‘em through the weekend. I’m not judging.

This recipe is adapted from https://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2013/01/skinny-jalapeno-popper-meatballs.html.

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Jalapeno Popper Meatballs Recipe

These bursting-with-flavor turkey meatballs make a great weeknight dinner or party snack.

Makes: 6 servings

 Jalapeno Popper Meatballs

Prep time:

Cook time:

  • Olive oil for greasing the baking sheet
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup pickled jalapenos, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup quick-cook oats, blended to a flour-like texture (use certified gluten-free if desired or necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3-4 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet or in the microwave. Cook the bacon in the microwave by placing it on a microwave-safe dish between four sheets of paper towel (two sheets beneath the bacon and two above). Microwave on high for four-six minutes, checking bacon every 30 seconds after four minutes for doneness.
  3. Chop the bacon finely.
  4. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix to combine with clean hands. Stop mixing as soon as the ingredients are evenly distributed—over-mixed meatballs will be tougher and drier.
  5. Form the meatball mixture into balls, using a heaping tablespoon of mixture for each ball. This recipe will produce about 30-34 meatballs.
  6. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center. Rest for a few minutes, serve, and enjoy.

Notes and Nutrition Information

  • Keep these meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to four days.

  • These meatballs freeze and reheat well—store in the freezer up to six months, and microwave on high about four to five minutes to reheat. Start low with the cook time and experiment; you don’t want to dry out your meatballs!

  • I find these are moist and flavorful enough to stand on their own without a sauce, but they pair well with the creamy jalapeno dressing from this buddha bowl recipe.

  • Substitute any lean ground meat for turkey. Beef may be slightly greasier, so just be prepared.

  • Serve as an appetizer, as a meal with some broccoli, or make a little meatball sub.

  • One sixth of the recipe as written contains approximately 355 calories, 24 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 33 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 734 milligrams of sodium.