Here’s a simple comfort food recipe that will put dinner on the table and kitchen skills in your back pocket.

Let’s start with the meatballs, made traditionally tender with a moistened bread crumb mixture called a panade. Because we’re using pita from the Dinner in Minutes Pantry, it can go right into the pan with sauteed onion and a little broth. The meat for Ikea-type Swedish meatballs is a blend of ground pork and beef; dark-meat ground turkey stands in here instead and we think that it makes this version even more tender.

Allspice seems to be the required element for classic Swedish meatballs, and we learned in testing that a little of it is all you need. Egg yolk goes in, but not its egg white; save it to create a foamy cocktail or spiced nuts. Be sure to brown those meatballs on all sides, because what they leave behind in the skillet will inform the sauce, which comes next.

Stir flour into the melted butter and browned bits in the pan (called the fond), then broth, and you have formed a roux; the added fish sauce and mustard lend an instant and enhancing flavor boost. Sour cream stirred in off the heat completes the creamy sauce, which you should taste and re-season so it’s just right.

Cut open one of the meatballs before you return them to the pan. If it seems a little undercooked, know that they will have a chance to finish in the sauce.

Serve with wide ribbons of zucchini and squash, or egg noodles. And if you’re a regular at the Ikea cafeteria, top with a dollop of lingonberry jam.


12 ounces frozen ground turkey, preferably dark meat

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 small onion

1/2 whole-wheat pita (6-inch)

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth, preferably no-salt-added

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (a.k.a. garlic powder)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup sour cream

Handful fresh parsley leaves, for garnish


Step 1

Place the ground turkey on a paper towel-lined plate (discard its packaging); microwave on DEFROST, as needed, until the block is no longer solid.

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Step 2

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cut the onion into small dice and transfer to the skillet; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent.

Step 3

Tear the pita into very small pieces, adding them to the skillet as you work. Add the 2 tablespoons of broth and stir; cook for a minute or two, until the pieces have softened. Transfer the onion-pita mixture to a mixing bowl.

Step 4

Add the defrosted ground turkey, allspice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and the egg yolk; use your clean hands to gently incorporate. Grease your palms with cooking oil spray, then use your hands to shape the mixture into about 15 meatballs that are 1 1/4 inches in diameter.

Step 5

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the same skillet, over medium heat. Add half the meatballs and cook for about 8 minutes, turning them as needed so they brown evenly. Transfer them to a plate. Add the remaining meatballs; cook and transfer to the same plate.

Step 6

Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet; as soon as it melts, stir in the flour to form a paste (roux). Pour in the 1 1/2 cups of broth, the fish sauce and mustard, stirring constantly, to form a sauce.

Step 7

Increase the heat to medium-high, so the sauce thickens a bit. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream until well blended. Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper, as needed.

Step 8

Return all the meatballs to the pan and place over medium-low heat; cover and cook so they have warmed and are cooked through.

Step 9

Coarsely chop the parsley leaves. Scatter them over each portion of meatballs and sauce.

Serve hot.

Adapted from a recipe at LittleSpiceJar.com.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Click here for a printable version of the Dinner in Minutes Pantry list.

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.

For a printer-friendly and scalable version of this recipe, view it here.

The nutritional analysis is based on 4 servings.


Calories: 380; Total Fat: 29 g; Saturated Fat: 14 g; Cholesterol: 165 mg; Sodium: 500 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 18 g.