Turkey Meatballs and Black Bean Pasta are full of warming Mexican flavors making it a family favorite. An extra steps makes meatballs into eyeballs for a perfect Halloween dinner idea!
Turkey Meatballs and Black Bean Pasta is a flavor-packed main dish that has little diners squealing with delight!
The Mexican-flavors don’t have everyone hooked the meatball ‘eyeballs’ make it perfect Halloween dinner idea!
Spaghetti and meatballs is a comfort food classic. But taco turkey meatballs with black bean pasta take it up a notch.
It’s an easy dinner recipe and an exciting, unexpected rotation in the dinner menu.
When the turkey meatballs are transformed into large bulging eyeballs the crowd always goes wild!
And you can feel great about serving an nutrition-packed main dish before a night of Trick-or-Treating.
Turkey Meatball Eyeballs
These Mexican-seasoned turkey meatballs are both lean but also have a fantastic anemic color for an eyeball.
To make them taco flavored crushed corn tortilla chips are used as a binder instead of breadcrumbs.
The turkey meatballs in the photos used red tortilla chips for an extra creepy touch. Any tortilla chips can be used.
Shredded cheese and taco seasoning make the meatballs an irresistible favorite!
Any ground meat can be substituted into this recipe if preferred over turkey.
HALLOWEEN PARTY IDEA: The ‘eyeballs’ could also be served with toothpicks as an appetizer without pasta.
How to Make the Eyeballs
Half a green olive stuffed with red pepper or pimento is inserted into the meatball before baking. It creates the creepy eyeball look!
Black Bean Pasta
Have you tried Black Bean Pasta? It’s a delicious, high-protein pasta made from black beans. It’s naturally gluten-free since it is made completely with black beans.
The flavor is exactly of black beans making it a great option in Mexican flavored recipes.
Though the color isn’t the most appealing, it is perfect for a Halloween dinner idea!
The black bean pasta is very lightly tossed with some spicy flavors but not a heavy sauce. This lets the turkey meatballs take the staring role in the recipe.
PRO TIP: If you’d like a traditional sauce, try a simple tomato pasta sauce mixed with some salsa for a Mexican pasta recipe.
Where to Buy Black Bean Pasta
Black Bean Pasta has become more popular over the past few years. It can be found at some grocery stores with a bigger pasta section (think Whole Foods).
Sauce Options for the Black Bean Pasta
The black bean pasta is tossed with a simple olive oil, garlic and jalapeno chile pepper blend. It’s light and keeps the turkey meatballs with their taco flavor center stage.
If you prefer a traditional sauce, choose a Diablo sauce for some spicy flavor. Or mix a simple tomato pasta sauce with some salsa for a Mexican flavor.
Since ground turkey is a leaner meat, a sauce would keep them moist as with a traditional spaghetti and meatball dish.
All the ingredients in both the turkey meatballs and the black bean pasta are easy to find in most grocery stores!
Turkey Meatballs Ingredients
- Ground Turkey
- Crushed Tortilla Chips (instructions in recipe below)
- Finely grates Mexican cheese blend (either purchased or homemade)
- Taco seasoning
- Stuffed Green Olives
Black Bean Pasta
- Olive Oil
- Jalapeno Chile pepper
- Garlic Cloves
- Black Bean Pasta
How to Make Turkey Meatball Eyeballs – Step-by-Step
For a detailed printable recipe refer to the recipe card at the end of this blog post.
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (dull side up) sprayed with cooking spray.
STEP 2: In a large mixing bowl combine the ground turkey, egg, crushed tortillas chips, cheese and taco seasoning. Mix well with hands to combine all ingredients.
STEP 3: Roll meatballs 1 ½-2 inch diameter size.
STEP 4: Make an indentation with your forefinger large enough to insert a half olive. Insert the olive half, round (uncut) side into the meatball.
PRO TIP: the cut side of the olive should be flush with the edge of the meatball. The meatballs shrink when cooked and this will ensure the olive won’t stick out. If it does it also can be trimmed after baking if desired.
STEP 5: Bake 10-15 minutes until no pink remains inside the meatball (the internal temperature should be 160 degrees). NOTE: turkey is very lean and can overcook so monitor the meatballs closely
More Halloween Recipes ideas
- Creepy Shirley Temple Drink Recipe
- Pumpkin Chipotle Cream Sauce for Pasta
- Squirm Jello Shots: A Perfect Halloween Party Recipe
- Graveyard Halloween Cupcakes: Favorite Halloween Party Recipe (+ VIDEO)
Turkey Meatballs & Black Bean Pasta: a Halloween Dinner recipe
Mexican-flavored Turkey Meatballs and spicy Black Bean Pasta are a protein-packed comfort food recipe. A simple trick turns the meatballs into 'eyeball's for a perfect Halloween dinner recipe.
- 1 ½ pound Ground Turkey
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup crushed Red Tortilla chips best if run through a blender, food processor or chopper; other types of corn tortilla chips may be substituted
- 1/3 cup finely grated Mexican-blend Cheese either purchased mix or equal parts Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Cobly cheese
- 1 envelope Taco Seasoning*
- 10-12 Stuffed Green Olives stuffed with pimentos or red peppers), halved horizontally forming a circle with a red ‘pupil’
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons Jalapeno Chile pepper finely diced
- 1 tablespoons Garlic cloves finely diced (approximately 2 large cloves
- 1 package Black Pasta (Spaghetti, Angel Hair or Fettucini)
To make the Turkey Meatballs
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (dull side up) with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, crushed corn tortilla chips, cheese and taco seasoning. Mix well with hands to fully incorporate.
Roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-2 inches meatballs.
To Make 'Eyeballs'
Make an indentation with your forefinger deep enough to insert an olive half.
Place an olive half, with the round end (uncut), into the meatball. Ensure the cut side it flush with the edge of the meatball. The meatballs shrink when cooked and the edge of the ‘eye’ will stick out if not inserted so the cut edge is flush with the edge of the meatball.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until no longer pink in the center (internal temperature should be 160 degrees). Note: turkey is a very lean meat so if overcooked it can before dry. Check the meatballs at 10 minutes and allow to cook longer if necessary.
Preparing the Black Bean Pasta
Prepare the pasta according to package instructions while the meatballs are cooking. Rinse (if indicated on the pasta instructions) and drain fully.
In a large skillet of cooking pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
Reduce heat to medium and add the jalapeno and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes until very fragrant and garlic begins to turn golden. Turn off heat.
- Add the pasta to the oil mixture and toss to fully coat.
Serve a portion of the pasta with meatballs. Serve hot.
*the spiciness is created by the taco seasoning you select. Should you wish more heat, you may add a bit of cayenne pepper or chile pepper flakes to heat them up.
These Mexican-seasoned meatballs may be made with any ground meat preferred. I selected turkey both for a healthier option but frankly because I loved the idea of the anemic color for an eyeball!
Originally published: October 20, 2013