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GF optional, DF

Savory smoked turkey meatballs in a smoked red sauce with dairy-free cashew pesto

Makes 4 Subs


For the Meatballs:

1lb ground turkey

1/2lb ground pork

1/4c parsley, minced

½ yellow onion, minced

3 clove garlic, minced

1/2c panko (gluten-free is optional)

1/2tsp red pepper flakes

1tsp fennel powder

1-1/2tsp salt

1/2tsp pepper


For the Red Sauce:

1 onion, halved

6 Roma tomatoes, halved

6 cloves garlic

2 sprig fresh thyme

2tbsp parsley

2tbsp sugar

1tsp dijon mustard

1/4c good red wine

3tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling


For the Cashew Pesto:

1/2c raw cashews

1 bunch fresh basil

2tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic


4 small sub rolls, toasted & warm (gluten-free optional)


Preheat a smoker to 250 degrees, apple or another fruity light wood recommended. Combine all meatball ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, then roll into 8 balls. Set on a baking sheet & refrigerate for 30min, to firm up & let the flavors develop.  


Meanwhile, rub the onion halves & tomato halves with olive oil & season with salt n pep. Place vegetables & meatballs into the smoker for 2-3hrs, until the vegetables are tender & the meatballs are temped at 160 degrees. Let the meatballs rest while the sauce is prepared.


Add the smoked tomatoes & onion to a food processor along with the garlic & parsley. Puree until smooth. Pour mixture into a large saucepan & add in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer to at least 20min. Add the meatballs to the sauce & coat.


Puree all pesto ingredients with an immersion blender, adding water until desired consistency (smooth but a little chunky).


To assemble, schmear the inside of a sub roll with the pesto. Place two meatballs per sub and spoon on extra sauce.



Sauce can be frozen for up to two months. Let cool then transfer to a sealable container. Meatballs are best frozen separate from the sauce: lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid before transferring to a sealable container.