Bringing on healthy, fall comfort food with this Spicy Turkey Meatball Stew with Fall Veggies! A mouthwatering, one-pot, tomato-based stew loaded with tender turkey meatballs, butternut squash, carrots and cauliflower. A perfect game day, meal prep, and freezer-friendly recipe!
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Key Ingredients & Substitutions
You can go in a number of different directions when it comes to whipping up this stew. Here are ideas of what you can substitute for each of the main components.
- Meatballs - The original recipe used ground sirloin, but I opted for turkey and ground chicken works as well.
- Vegetables - Fall veggies are my favorite so it's easy for me to get carried away. I went with butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower and lots of garlic. Other delicious alternatives include broccoli, beets, brussel sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, swiss chard and kale.
- Liquids - You can use turkey, chicken or beef stock depending on which kind of meatballs you go with. For the tomato base, I used a combo of Pomi chopped tomatoes with a can of drained diced tomatoes. Freshly chopped tomatoes along with sauce is also another way to go.
- Spices - We don't mind a little heat when it comes to hearty stews. I put in about a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, but dial that up or down to your liking. Lots of fresh parsley and thyme made their way into the pot as well. These two go great with turkey, but had I used beef, earthier rosemary and sage would have been the herbs of choice.
Whatever you decide in terms of ingredients and flavors, it's just a matter of browning the meatballs first then letting them hang out a bit while the veggies and liquids get happy. The meatballs will go back in when the cauliflower is added so they can all cook to tender perfection. Dutch ovens are perfect for this type of recipe, but your standard stock pot will do the job just fine.
Time Management Tip! Keep in mind the meatballs can be made a day before making the stew or frozen up to three months. Let thaw before making the recipe. AND, the stew itself can be made a day or two ahead. The flavors will get to mingle longer before serving.😊
Once the meatballs are cooked through and the veggies are fork tender, it's time to grab your ladle and a hunk of parmesan to grate over top of all that deliciousness. Have some toasted baguette on hand too for dunking. Happy soup and stew season, friends! Enjoy!!
More One Pot Wonders!
- Chicken Shrimp & Sausage Stew
- Saffron Fish Chowder w/ Leeks & Fennel
- Tuscan Tortellini & Veggie Soup
- Vegan Pumpkin Chickpea Chili
- Panera Turkey Chili (Copycat Recipe)
Spicy Turkey Meatball Stew with Fall Veggies
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 12 ounces butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 8 ounces carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- 3 cups Pomi chopped tomatoes, or crushed tomatoes
- 1 14- ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with your hands until well combined.
- Form mixture into meatballs about 1 ½ inches in diameter and place on a large parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet.
- Makes 22-24 meatballs. Can be made 1 day ahead of making stew. Cover and chill.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add half of the meatballs to the pot in a single layer. Brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the other half of meatballs to the pot. Brown on all sides and transfer to plate with the other meatballs.
- Add squash, carrots, and onion to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and cook to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add wine to deglaze the pot, scraping up browings. Let simmer 3 minutes.
- Stir in stock, Pomi chopped tomatoes, diced tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to boil and reduce to a medium simmer.
- Mix in cauliflower and nestle meatballs into the pot. Cook 10-12 minutes until vegetables are tender and meatballs are cooked through.
- Remove from heat and stir in fresh parsley and thyme. Ladle into bowls and serve with parmesan. Enjoy!
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