This basil-Parmesan turkey meatballs with stewed rice and tomatoes recipe is a hearty, filling, perfect dinner.
If you’ve been following this blog for any time, you know I love a good meatball! This recipe for turkey meatballs with stewed tomatoes and rice is an incredible dinner option. It takes about an hour, but before you know it, you’re going to have a hearty and flavorful dinner. Best of all, it’s a perfect meal prep option!
I served these basil-parmesan turkey meatballs with wild rice, but you can serve them with white rice or even cooked orzo!
These turkey meatballs are juicy and tender thanks to Parmesan cheese and heavy cream in the mixture. Serving them on top of stewed tomatoes and rice makes for the perfect filling dinner option!
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Basil-Parmesan Turkey Meatballs with Stewed Tomatoes and Rice
Stewed tomatoes and rice:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion peeled and minced
- 2 red bell peppers trimmed, deseeded, and diced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1½ pounds ripe tomatoes or 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup wild rice, brown rice, or white rice, cooking time will vary
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper more or less to taste
- Water as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of sugar if needed
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Thinly sliced basil leaves
Crush the tomatoes (if using ripe tomatoes):
- Prepare an ice bath and set aside in the freezer until needed. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the tomatoes. Once the skins split, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath.
- Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and cores. Drain off all the water and return the tomatoes to the bowl and crush them with your hands. Set aside.
Prepare the meatballs:
- Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs, except the cooking oil, in a bowl and use your hands to work the ingredients together. If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more breadcrumbs. If too dry, add a splash or two more of cream. Note: If desired, you can microwave or fry up a small piece of the mixture to taste test them before cooking.
- Roll the mixture into 1” diameter balls and transfer to a plate. Note: Do not over-mix or over-roll the meatballs. It’s okay if they’re a little raggedy.
Cook the meatballs
- In a wide pot, heat the neutral cooking oil over medium heat until hot. Add the meatballs in an even layer, cooking in batches if needed, and fry for 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. The meatballs do not need to be cooked through. Transfer them to a bowl.
Start the stewed rice and tomatoes:
- Melt the butter in the same pot over medium heat. Once melted and frothy, add the diced onion and peppers and cook for 7-8 minutes or until they soften.
- Add the garlic and cook for 45 seconds or until fragrant.
Simmer the rice and tomatoes:
- Pour in the chicken stock and the crushed tomatoes and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of sugar, if desired.
- Bring to a boil and then add the rice. Add the meatballs, reduce heat, and simmer for 30–50 minutes (see note). Add more water as necessary if the rice absorbs too much liquid.
- Once the rice is tender and cooked through, turn off the heat.
- Divide the rice and tomatoes between bowls and pile the meatballs on top. Garnish with sliced basil leaves and more Parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!
- Wild rice: About 45–50 minutes
- White rice: About 30 minutes
- Brown rice: About 40–45 minutes