When I was in college, every party began with sour cream dip, made with the packet of onion soup mix, and a big bowl of chips or celery sticks. Life was simple back then; we liked what we liked, and most of us didn't know much about cooking. These days, entertaining demands a bit more creativity and variety. I'm not good at making food look fancy, so my appetizers need to rely on flavor. These Italian turkey sausage meatballs, with a fennel-mustard dipping sauce, provide a one-bite burst of flavor that kicks off any dinner with style. You can cook and freeze the meatballs in advance, and mix up the sauce the morning of your party. The only thing easier is that onion soup dip from the '60s.
Hot or mild Italian turkey sausage meatballs with fennel-mustard sauce
Makes 6 dozen bite-size (one-inch) meatballs.
For the meatballs:
1-1/4 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
1 lb hot or mild Italian turkey sausage (fresh, not pre-cooked)
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1-1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp fresh black pepper
For the dipping sauce:
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grainy Dijon or spicy brown mustard
Fresh black pepper, to taste
Thinly sliced cucumber, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with Silpats (silicone mats) or parchment paper, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Roll into one-inch balls, and place on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake at 425F for 18 minutes, rotating the pans midway through the cooking. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Use a mortar and pestle to crush the fennel seeds. Add them to a small bowl with the remaining dipping sauce ingredients, and whisk together to combine. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl.
Skewer each meatball with a slice of cucumber, and arrange on a platter with the dipping sauce.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Thai red curry turkey meatballs
Greek red pepper and feta turkey meatball salad
Roasted shrimp appetizer with spicy peanut sauce
Salt cod balls with chipotle mayonnaise dip
Spicy turkey rolls
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Turkey sausage meatball noodle soup, from Soup Chick
Zaatar meatballs, from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Grilled Sriracha-sesame turkey meatballs, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cranberry glazed turkey meatballs, from Simply Recipes
Crock Pot Italian turkey meatballs, from Skinnytaste
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