While shopping for ground turkey breast for today’s cocktail meatballs, I noticed something interesting. I expected to see just one item on the ingredient list – ground turkey breast. But, no matter the brand, the ingredient list included rosemary extract.
At first, I thought it might be some type of seasoning blend containing salt, but the low sodium content on the nutrition label indicated that salt was not an added ingredient. As it turns out, rosemary extract is being used as a natural preservative to prevent spoilage and lengthen the shelf life of a variety of foods, including ground turkey breast.
As consumers push for cleaner food labels, food companies are using fewer unfamiliar and artificial ingredients. For many shoppers, seeing rosemary extract on the package is preferable to seeing the preservatives butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) or butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).
Don’t worry about the product tasting like rosemary. Developers have created extracts that do not impart a rosemary flavor.
We paired today’s meatballs with a refreshing, flavorful tzatziki dip. Tzatziki (pronounced tsah-tsee-kee) is a creamy, white sauce often served as a spread, condiment or simply eaten alone.
Traditionally made with Greek yogurt, diced cucumbers, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and a variety of herbs such as dill weed, parsley or mint, Tzatziki commonly accompanies an array of Mediterranean dishes. Souvlaki (shish kebab), gyros, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), roast lamb, pork or beef, seafood, rice dishes, and grilled vegetables get a flavor boost with the addition of tzatziki sauce.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Cocktail Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Dip
Serves: 10 (4 meatballs per serving with 2 tablespoons dip) / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 35 minutes
1 large egg
¼ cup skim milk
⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
⅓ cup grated onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon za’atar seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
16 ounces ground turkey or chicken breast
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup (about 10) pitted kalamata olives, minced
Vegetable oil cooking spray
¾ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons skim milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup finely diced seedless cucumber
1 teaspoon dried dillweed
½ teaspoon za’atar seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prepare meatballs, in a bowl, whisk together egg, milk, panko crumbs, onion, garlic, oregano, zaatar and black pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes, allowing panko crumbs to soften. Add ground turkey, feta cheese and olives and stir to combine.
Shape into 40 miniature meatballs and arrange on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes or until cooked through. To prepare the tzatziki dip, stir together yogurt, milk, lemon juice, cucumber, dillweed and za’atar . Serve meatballs with the dip.
Created and tested by Lauren Zuhlke, Henry Ford Hospital Dietetic Intern, for Heart Smart®.
111 calories (24% from fat), 3 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 5 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein, 199 mg sodium, 52 mg cholesterol, 46 mg calcium, 1 gram fiber. Food exchanges: 2 lean meat.
Support local journalism and become a digital subscriber to the Free Press.