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turkey tarragon meatballs over lemon rigatoni


These bright & flavorful herby meatballs are the perfect nosh when you’re craving something lighter but also filling.

Meatballs are like mini round meatloaves, right? So I feel like I’m allowed to have some authority here. Ha! I dreamed up this easy to make recipe pretty much on our flight home from Mexico. We had been eating SO gloriously while visiting – goat birria, pork pastor, carnitas, chorizo, beef tostadas – and on and on. As happy as I was with all of those meals, I was really craving something bright and lighter but also satisfying.

Enter this little ditty! I whipped this up shortly after getting home and Dave oooooohhhd and aaaahhhhhdddd even though he’s not as strong a lover of tarragon as I am. That made me feel great – it’s been super long since I’ve posted a recipe. It’s not because we haven’t been coking, but I just haven’t had a “THIS IS IT” moment until this recipe.

I’d eat lemon and tarragon in every meal if I could. They are like my love language food items. So if you like those flavors, this one is for you!

The other thing I like about this recipe is that I predict it’s pretty versatile (haven’t tried all of these ideas but I will). I can picture these meatballs on a skewer as an appetizer with a fig jam dipping sauce or on a meatball sub with a wine-forward red sauce.

You could also pair a great big crunchy Caesar salad with this dish or some cheesy garlic bread would be just perfection. I’m excited to keep making this recipe and iterating on what I pair it with.

Also, I’ll introduce this guy soon, but our new rescue cat Luigi also thought this was a slam dunk.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!


Tarragon Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Rigatoni

This easy to make, satisfying meal comes together quickly and packs a ton of flavor. These meatballs would also work with your favorite red sauce or even as a twist on a meatball sub.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Easy Dinner Recipe, Easy Weeknight Dinner, Ground Turkey Recipe, Turkey Meatballs
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs Fresh or store-bought are fine. I had Italian on-hand.
  • 1 Sweet Onion, Minced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp Dried Tarragon
  • 2 tbs Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 lb Rigatoni Use whatever pasta you love
  • Juice of 1 1/2 Lemons
  • 3 tbs Butter
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan for Topping


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with a silpat if you have it – or give the pan a quick spray of cooking oil.
  • Get a large pot of well-salted water going over high heat to get it to a boil for the pasta.
  • To make the meatballs, add all of the meatball ingredients (stops at 1 tsp black pepper) to a large bowl and mix together well. I use my hands for this, but a spatula works just fine as well.
  • Form the meatballs into 1-inch round balls and place on the baking sheet.
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned, or better yet – until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  • As an additional step for photos (I know, I know) I also browned them quickly in a medium-hot pan on the stovetop. You can skip if you'd like.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, you can also cook the pasta. Cook until al dente.
  • Also while the meatballs are cooking in the oven, you can start the super simple sauce by first melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Then add the white wine and simmer until the wine is reduced by about half.
  • Place the drained pasta into the saucepan and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the tablespoon of olive oil to add a bit more richness and mix the pasta together well. Set aside and wait until the meatballs are ready.
  • Once the meatballs are done, serve them up on top of a big bowl of pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan. Voila!

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