Mushrooms are one of our family’s favorite vegetables. Call it a part of the Russian heritage or just a penchant for the easy-to-handle veggies, we tend to add some mushrooms to almost every savory dish we cook. They impart a pleasant “bite” and a distinctive “meaty” mouthful to plant-based meals while deepening the flavor and lightning the caloric content of meat dishes. The “meatiness” of mushrooms can be explained by the abundance of glutamic acid contributing to its umami (Japanese for “deliciousness”) taste. Glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid naturally occurring in some foods such as soy sauce, miso, mushrooms, and ripe tomatoes, all of which are rich in umami.

In this recipe, we ground up some sauteed mushrooms and mixed them with ground turkey and seasoning. A word on warning to those who are tempted to “sneak” veggies into kids’ meals – this technique is sure to backfire at some point unless all family members are aware of the ingredients or, even better, enlisted for help with the preparation. Read Sneaking Veggies the Smart Way.

Turkey-mushroom meatballs


  • 18-20 ounces of white or brown button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground turkey or turkey breast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry herbs such as thyme, Italian seasoning or oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 8oz jar of tomato sauce


  • Preheat the oven to F375
  • Clean the mushrooms by wiping them gently with a paper towel. Do not rinse them with water, they will get soggy.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottom pan
  • Slice the mushrooms and sauté them until slightly browned and the juice has evaporated
  • Cool the mushrooms slightly, blend them into a chunky paste using a food processor and mix them with the next 5 ingredients
  • Form the meatballs ( I use an ice cream scoop to keep hands clean and servings equal) and place them on a cooking sheet sprayed with oil
  • Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and slightly browned
  • Place the meatballs and the tomato sauce in a heavy-bottom pan and cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes.
  • Serve with rice or quinoa.