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turkey meatball eyeballs & black bean pasta

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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 20 meatballs (appetizer servings: 10, entree serving size: 5-6)
Calories 40kcal
Author Toni Dash


  • 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!


    Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 2.8mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.1mg