Recipe: Turkey and Leek Meatballs with Tomato Tagliatelle

Turkey Meatballs

We love meatballs! If you make your own at home, you know exactly what’s gone into them and you can add lots of lovely flavours, too.  They are easy to make and the kids love them.

These are really tasty, I used turkey mince (very lean and great value) and added leeks and freshly grated Grano Padano cheese for extra flavour to make turkey and leek meatballs. Serve with lots of tagliatelle pasta and tomato sauce and everyone is happy! If you wanted to, you could use an onion, but my kids prefer leeks. You can also add a teaspoon of mustard or even a tablespoon of ketchup for something a bit different.

Turkey Meatballs

I’m really pleased to be taking part in the Lean on Turkey recipe challenge, as we’re really keen to eat more turkey, instead of beef or pork and red meat. This time, the challenge was to create a pizza or pasta meal for the family for under £10.

The total cost of this meal was £9.91 from Ocado, but in fact, the turkey breast mince was on special offer (3 for £10) instead of £4.50 for one 500g packet so I was able to freeze a couple of packets for another time, too. Grano Padano cheese is a great alternative to the slightly more expensive Parmigiano Reggiano, which is worth keeping an eye out for as it brings the costs down a little.

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey and Leek Meatballs with Tomato Tagliatelle

From Ren Behan Food | | Main Dishes | Italian

Quick to make, homemade meatballs with leeks and tomato sauce


4 servings


  • olive oil
  • 1 large leek, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 500 g turkey mince ( thigh or breast)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices bread (stale bread is best)
  • ½ cup water
  • 50 g Grano Padano cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500 g fresh or dried tagliatelle pasta
  • 350 g ( one pot) tomato and basil sauce


  1. Fry the leeks in a tablespoon of olive oil for a couple of minutes until soft. Grate in the garlic clove, stir well, set to one side.
  2. Take a large bowl and add the turkey mince, the egg and the leeks and garlic. Soak the slices of bread in water and add that to the mince, breaking it up a little with your hands. Add in the grated Grano Padano cheese and a good twist of salt and pepper. Mix everything together really well – best to do this with your (clean) hands.
  3. Using wet hands or an ice-cream scoop, make golf-sized balls. Place them on a flat chopping board while you make the rest.
  4. Heat another couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the meatballs, turning them around until they are nice and golden all over. You might need to do this in a couple of batches.
  5. In the meantime, take a large pan of salted water on to boil and cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  6. Put all the cooked meatballs back into the pan and pour over the tomato sauce, turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  7. When ready, mx the meatballs and sauce with the tagliatelle and serve.


  •  £1.99 – tomato and Basil Sauce
  • £1.75 –  fresh tagliatelle
  • £4.50 –  turkey breast mince (500g)
  • 60p –  large leek
  • 20p – large egg
  • 10p –  garlic (one clove)
  • 12p – bread (2 slices)
  • 65p -Grano Padano cheese (50g)
  • Olive oil, store cupboard
  • Salt and Pepper, store cupboard

£9.91 at Ocado

Turkey Meatballs

Sponsored Post + cost of ingredients covered

With many thanks to Lean On Turkey for asking me to create a recipe for them

Have you tried making your own meatballs at home? What’s your favourite family meal? Let me know if you try these!

Other family favourites

Easy Macaroni Cheese with Baby Leeks

Easy Peasy Homemade Pizza


  1. says

    These look fabulous, and the photographs are great. I often use turkey mince for meatballs, burgers etc but haven’t tried leek as an alternative to my regular onion. I will give it a go, great tip!

    • Ren Behan says

      Thanks Anna – lovely of you to stop by and comment, hope you do try them

  2. olivia kirby says

    We have turkey mince a lot, we rarely use beef mince now, I find it expensive or fatty and the taste is not appreciated by our little ones. For us, £10 is too much for a family meal but we usually shop at Morrisons, their meat is very good and extremely reasonable and we would normally use a small pack/half a pack and make a bolognese, bulking it up with red lentils or even chickpeas. I am a massive tight wad but I want the kids to eat well too.
    This looks a delicious recipe, I think my eldest boy would enjoy cooking it too.

    • Ren Behan says

      Hi Olivia, I should have added (and will do) that the budget was £10 so these were just under – plus the meat was 3 for £10 so I had extra to freeze. I agree that other supermarkets could be even more cost effective – I love Morrissons, too. Also turkey thigh meat is a great option and usually cheaper than breast mince. They’ll taste every bit as good, if not better! The lentils and chickpeas are a great addition to a mince. x

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you so much – that’s good to know. I’ll try and do it more often

  3. says

    LOVE meatballs and have never made turkey ones so this is a lovely bit of inspiration and just that little bit lighter for a warm spring evening… gorgeous stuff!