Italian Meatballs with Spicy Marinara Sauce

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You'll love this leaner, low-calorie alternative to ground beef.

After one too many spaghetti dinner nights, your family, dinner guests, and taste buds will shake their heads with boredom. Crank up the heat with our Italian Meatballs with Spicy Marinara Sauce! Made with enticing spices, this clean, wholesome recipe restores life to the classic dish.

Our Skinny Ms. version uses ground turkey as a leaner, low-calorie alternative to ground beef. Nutritious garnishes like parsley, minced onions, and red pepper flakes give these meatballs a peppery kick with a host of health benefits. After biting into one of these warm, chewy balls, your taste buds will sing with flavor. These meatballs are the ultimate companion to whole-wheat spaghetti noodles or pasta, and will forever put an end to lackluster spaghetti dinners!

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Italian Meatballs with Spicy Marinara Sauce

These lean meatballs pair fantastically with the spicy sauce, giving you and your family a great meal with lots of flavors.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 2 meatballs
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Author SkinnyMs.


For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan grated
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg large
  • 1/2 cup onion minced
  • 1/4 cup curly parsley or flat leaf, chopped

For the Marinara Sauce

  • 24 ounces marinara sauce jar, sugar free
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 cup onions minced (optional)
  • 1/8 cup curly parsley or flat leaf, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix all of the meatball ingredients (except ground turkey). Add the meat and incorporate into the ingredients with your hands. Roll into 12 (1-1/2-inch) meatballs and place on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, pour marinara sauce and crushed red pepper flakes into a saucepan. Cook on the stovetop over low heat until simmering. Add cooked meatballs. Garnish with parsley and minced onion, if using. Enjoy!


Here's a Basic Marinara Sauce recipe that can be made and frozen for later use.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 2meatballs | Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1139mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8
Keywords Low-Carb

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The SkinnyMs. team believes that all people, regardless of age, size, and fitness level, have the power to transform their lives — they just need the resources to do so. The SkinnyMs. method promotes healthy living through a combination of clean eating and regular exercise. We offer everything you need to be successful.

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  1. Hi there! I just found this recipe and I was wondering if you'd be able to give me the method in Australian measurements? I don't know what a "pound" or an "ounce" of such and such is and 400 degrees is extremely hot for an oven haha. So I was just wondering if I could get the measurements in Australian or if there was a way to convert them myself 🙂

    1. Sure.
      1 pound = 453.592 grams
      1 ounce = 28.34952 grams
      400 degrees F = 204.444°C

      You can find tons of conversion charts online…just google it. 🙂

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