Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs with Garlic Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Light and healthy meatballs meet a tangy garlicky dipping sauce with Thanksgiving flair… Actually, before I dive into this can we talk about the word garlicky real quick? At first you’re like, “hey, K, what are you doing in there?” And while it may seem gratuitous at first, you then realize garlicy would be decidedly less appetizing. But I digress…

Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs // Naturally Lindsey

The month of November marks the true start of the holiday season: Christmas displays in the store, holiday music on the radio, and Black Friday commercials out the wazoo. But with the craziness comes something else – holiday parties! I absolutely love parties, but unfortunately no one entertains like they used to (Mad Men, anyone?). I grew up with a mother who hosted Bunco, Pampered Chef parties, jewelry parties, fabulous themed birthday parties for me and my siblings, etc. Seriously, she went all out! Though my 4th story studio doesn’t quite afford me the opportunity to entertain, I am fortunate enough to have a dear friend with a lovely house who shares the same love of entertaining. This past weekend she hosted the first party of the season, so naturally I had to do my part and provide a yummy appetizer for the hors d’oeuvre potluck!

Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs // Naturally Lindsey

Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs // Naturally Lindsey

My mother (coming full circle here!) introduced me to this recipe from Fresh4Five last holiday season and we could not believe how delicious it was, so I just had to make it again! However, I’m never one to leave a recipe alone nor do I like to go out of my way (or budget) just to find certain ingredients, so I substituted some fresh sage I had on hand for some of the dried herbs, and I put my own Thanksgiving-themed twist on the on the molasses sauce. Really, I should have just called these “Thanksgiving on a stick” even though they really, really should be enjoyed year-round.

Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs // Naturally Lindsey

I doubled this recipe with much success for the party – and it’s a good thing I did, because there were only 6 meatballs left at the end of the night! And just today I made another double batch for a beloved co-worker’s surprise baby shower potluck – they disappeared quickly. Whether made for dinner, a snack, or an appetizer, I think this it’s safe to say this recipe is a keeper :)

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Soy-free
• Refined sugar free
• Nut-free
• Paleo

Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs // Naturally Lindsey

Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs
Original recipe from Fresh4Five
• 1 package (~1 lb) ground turkey
• 1 egg white
• 1/3 cup ground raw sunflower seeds
• 2/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
• 1/2 cup packed chopped kale
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Sauté onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add garlic and continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes until onion is lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Be sure all parts are incorporated and as evenly distributed as possible!
3. Roll the mixture in small balls, about 1″ in diameter. Place on a lined baking sheet about 1″ apart. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
4. Spear with a toothpick for party-friendly dipping, serve on a plate tossed in the cranberry garlic sauce, or nix the sauce altogether and toss them with some zucchini pasta and marinara for a lightened up “spaghetti” dinner.
Cranberry Garlic Dipping Sauce
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
• sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. In a small saucepan, warm the cranberry molasses over medium-low heat.
2. Stir in the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 3-5 minutes as the flavors meld together.
3. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes. Serve warm.
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2 thoughts on “Paleo Cranberry Kale Turkey Meatballs with Garlic Cranberry Dipping Sauce

  1. We are having a potluck at work in a few weeks. I really want to bring these! How can I do these in the crock pot and them be ready by 1pm?? I get to work by 8am so I could start them then…. Suggestions??? Please help!!

    • Hi Melissa! I haven’t tried making these in the crock pot, so I’m not sure if/how they would turn out since meatballs in a crock pot normally have to be cooked in sauce, but you could try this: put the ingredients for the cranberry molasses + cranberry garlic dipping sauce sauce in the crock pot (do not reduce the molasses beforehand), then add in the meatballs. Then cook all of it together on high for 4-5 hours (start it when you get into work in the morning). You may want to try a test run at home first. The meatballs will just have to be served IN the dipping sauce instead of with — be sure to bring toothpicks to serve. Let me know if that works!

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