Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs are a retro version of the comfort-food meatball dish using turkey and rice with a tomato-based sauce.
Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

This recipe has been waiting in the wings to make an appearance on my blog for awhile, since I tend to cook much more than I have time to blog. I really could cook all day (and have done precisely just that on the job). I am reminded of an old olive oil commercial I saw on t.v. one time where a woman is home with olive oil at her disposal, and when her husband walks into the kitchen, every surface is covered with cooked food. My problem is that with the two of us, I just need more people to feed.

But the work of blogging goes above and beyond the recipe development, shopping, cooking, and photography. Then there is photo editing and writing the posts. And the biggest black hole for taking up time of all: promoting the content on social media. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it, because I can’t account for being paid enough. But knowing I will cook anyway, it is a pastime for me. One I started to save my cooking knowledge for my daughter and future generations, and one I happily share with others as well.

This recipe uses ground turkey. If you are dieting and buying that, try to avoid the kind that grinds the skin up into the meat. I have to admit I don’t like buying much of it. The ground turkey I usually have comes from my dissecting of turkeys (usually bought on sale at a fabulous price) into more manageable pieces , such as breasts to roast, legs and wings to smoke, and and a general variety of meat which I will strip away the skin and fatty bits and grind myself. The biggest pain for me when processing whole turkeys is the backbone, which I cut out (as you would spatchcock a chicken), and use that to make stock. But the pain part is how big the turkey spine is so cutting it out can be difficult (that’s a mild word for it!) But being bull-headed, I don’t tend to give up easily, and have not lost the turkey battle just yet. And since I only buy a  few turkeys per year, I don’t complain about it much.

Another thing for dieting is that while for much diet food, I manage to avoid the olive oil altogether with a spritz of nonstick spray, make sure you use a good ceramic nonstick skillet to cook the meatballs along with that amount of olive oil, as I suspect they will try to stick otherwise. And the rice is not brown rice either- but that lovely, precooked instant rice stuff, which works marvelously in these types of recipes, even if it has a higher glycemic index. But hey, if you don’t eat that every day, it is not much of a concern.

But yes, this is a retro type recipe, and good for a Throwback Thursday edition of cooking. These kind of recipes remind me of cooking back in the 1950’s-1970’s, and often evoke memories of Moms or Grandmother’s kitchens and happy meals there. And while it is not something I see on restaurant menus, I can’t say that I think it has ever gone out of style, being quite like meatloaf in holding its reign at the table.

I hope you enjoy.


Porcupine Meatballs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Porcupine Meatballs
Weight Watchers: 13 SmartPoints per serving


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup uncooked instant rice or Minute rice
  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • 2 cups fat free turkey gravy
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce


  • 2 cups steamed rice (for serving)


  1. Stir together the ingredients for the sauce and warm in a large skillet (one that has a lid.)
  2. Mix together ingredients for meatballs and with wet hands, gently shape into meatballs by rounded tablespoonfuls of the meat mixture.
  3. Brown meatballs gently on all sides in another skillet (nonstick), then transfer to sauce.
  4. Simmer, meatballs in sauce over low heat, covered, for one hour.
  5. Serve meatballs in sauce over rice.

From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com

Porcupine Meatballs

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Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey and Dumpling Soup

Sue’s “Almost Famous” Meatballs

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