Are you a fan of a good Philly cheesesteak sandwich? Once in a while, certain foods just sound amazing. This is one of those foods. So, in my attempt to make a normally not-so-healthy sandwich into a healthier alternative, I came up with these delectable turkey Philly cheesesteak meatballs.
And they sure didn’t disappoint. They were a hit with the whole fam. I’ve made 3 variations of this recipe in the past month, all great but the one below was my fav! Try them today and see for yourself!
What’s In An Authentic Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich?
A Philly cheesesteak (also known as a Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich) is traditionally made with ribeye steak, sliced thinly with melted cheese on a hoagie roll and topped with caramelized onion. Often times, shops will offer other toppings as well, such as:
- bell peppers
- marinara sauce
- banana peppers (pepperoncini)
- other cheeses (Cheese Whiz, provolone, white American cheese)
Nutritional Benefits of Turkey Philly Cheesesteak Meatballs
These meatballs provide much less calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol than a traditional beef cheesesteak sandwich. By using turkey meat, each serving, which is 4 meatballs, gives you only 130 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, ~229 mg sodium, and ~32 mg cholesterol.
Just make sure you’re using 93% lean turkey meat. You can use other types of meat as well however, it is important to make sure it is lean in order to keep the amount of total and saturated fat low.
A a rule of thumb, the American Heart Association recommends aiming for only 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat each day. This is about 13 grams per day if you are consuming 2,000 calories per day.
Does this recipe meet the rule? I’ll be honest, not quite. It has ~14% of its calories from saturated fat. However the overall amount of fat of 4.4 gm per serving is right around 30% of the total calories from fat, still making this a good choice compared to a traditional cheesesteak sandwich.
I would like to point out however, that this recipe DOES meet the American Heart Association’s guideline for being considered “extra lean”.
In order to meet this criteria, a food item must have less than 5 g of fat, 2 g of saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol. Awesome! We got this one!
I also tried adding in some of the traditional vegetables used in a Philly cheesesteak. Onions and bell peppers along with a sprinkling of banana peppers give flavor and nutritional value.
To cut back on cholesterol, I opted for egg white in place of using whole eggs. Although if you don’t have issues with high cholesterol and blood levels of vitamin D have been low, I’d recommend just using whole egg.
FYI, the bottom line on eggs and heart health, is that research is inconsistent. I personally believe that eggs have gotten a bad reputation over the years, which is undeserving considering all the nutritional benefits they have. So if you choose to add whole egg in this recipe, go for it!
How To Make Turkey Philly Cheesesteak Meatballs
The first thing you want to do is prep your veggies by chopping everything up. Meaning the onion, green bell pepper, and banana pepper rings.
Then crush the Wasa crispbread into crumbs. I did this by placing them in a plastic baggie and gently pounding them with the back of a spoon.
Next, you need to heat a pan over medium heat on the stovetop. After spraying it with non-stick spray, sauté the onion, bell pepper, oregano, and garlic until softened. Then set aside to cool slightly.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine all additional ingredients along with the slightly cooled onion and bell pepper mixture.
You can now mix all ingredients and form into ~1 inch balls and place onto a lined baking sheet. All together you should make about 24 meatballs.
Finally, you’ll place in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until cooked through. It’s best to turn them at least once to ensure they cook evenly.
What to Serve with Turkey Philly Cheesesteak Meatballs
If you want to add some toppings to your meatballs, like most sandwich shops do, I’d suggest trying some:
- marinara sauce
- melted cheese
- more sautéed onions and green peppers
And you can always try these meatballs inside a nice hoagie bun to make a meatball sandwich with your toppings of choice.
As far as side dishes, you can make this a complete meal by adding one of two of the following:
- steamed broccoli (seen pictured)
- roasted potatoes, red onion, and tomatoes (seen pictured)
- mashed potatoes
- corn on the cob
- side salad
Or some of my favorites:
Turkey Philly Cheesesteak Meatballs
- 2 lbs 93% lean ground turkey
- 2 slices Wasa multigrain crispbread crushed
- 2 Tbsp oregano dried
- 2 Tbsp garlic minced
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
- ⅔ cup part-skim mozzarella finely shredded
- 56 gm mild banana pepper rings (~24 rings) finely chopped
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a pan over medium heat, spray some non-stick spray. Add the chopped onion, green bell pepper, garlic, and oregano. Sauté until onion is translucent and soft, then set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey, crushed Wasa crackers, egg whites, mozzarella cheese, banana pepper rings, black pepper to taste, and lastly onion/pepper mixture.
- Hand mix ingredients or put into a food processor until combined.
- Form turkey mixture into 24 1-inch sized balls and place onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake in 350° oven for 35 minutes, turning each meatball halfway through.
- Eat and enjoy!
- try different colored bell peppers
- use a different type of cheese, like the traditional provolone which is used in many Philly cheesesteak recipes
- you can use other types of crackers or bread crumbs such as panko, whole wheat bread crumbs or Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
- I’ve tried this recipe without the crackers and egg and it still holds together, however adding them turned out much better in terms of taste.
Absolutely you can. If stored in an airtight container, the meatballs alone should stay fresh for up to 3 months. To cook, simply defrost overnight, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes.
I prefer to sauté my vegetables instead of just dumping all ingredients together to ensure they are going to be cooked. This also helps combine the flavors of the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and oregano.
If you are making the meatball mixture ahead without forming the meatballs or cooking them, I’d suggest keeping them in the fridge for no longer than 1-2 days prior to baking. This is to prevent the mixture from going bad and protecting you from food-borne bacteria.
If cooked, the meatballs should keep well for up to 5 days. Always store them properly in an airtight container of course.
Share With Me: Did you try this recipe? Do you agree it’s a healthier alternative to the authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich? Comment below and let’s chat!
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Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.