Spooky Mini Turkey Meatball Sliders


It’s sorta scary. It’s Halloween-y!

Spooky Mini Turkey Meatball Sliders | EmmaEats

Incredibly, the month of September has flown by — just as the rest of the summer. Hopefully though, you’ve had a wonderful start to the school year. After a spectacular hiatus with Katie and Emma over their summer vacation, it’s time for me to get back to a routine as well. What better way to get back into the kitchen than to prepare Halloween treats.

These meatball sliders are super simple and so much fun. Buy some or all of the components or make them yourself. Make them on the weekend and serve them right away or make the parts in advance and assemble them when the mood strikes. Meatball subs are great whether or not they’re for Halloween!

I should mention that making these from scratch will provide you with its own reward. The warmth and aroma of bread baking in the oven is pure comfort, especially now that autumn’s cool temperatures and rain have arrived.

The easy-to-make whole wheat olive oil buns are perfect for sandwiches or for slicing, toasting and topping for snacks. The simple marinara sauce is wonderful in these sandwiches or over pasta. The turkey meatballs not only work for these sliders but also as a quick appetizer with your favourite sauce too. But, the sum of these make one fantastic sandwich.

Have some fun this Halloween and make these ghoulish-ly scary meatball sliders – and an added benefit: it’s a treat without the added sugar rush!

Spooky Mini Turkey Meatball Sliders

  • whole wheat olive oil buns
  • marinara sauce
  • turkey meatballs
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced (optional)
  • olives, sliced (optional)

Slice a bun on the horizontal nearly completely in half, leaving the crust intact on one side. Place a slice of cheese, if using, on the bottom bun. Top the cheese with a couple of spoonfuls of marinara sauce. Add a pair of meatballs. Next, dip two sliced olives into sauce and stick them to the meatballs to make them look like eyeballs. Close the top of the bun over the meatballs and serve.

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Whole Wheat Olive Oil Buns [Vegan]

(makes 16 buns)

  • 1 cup rice milk, room temperature (+ 1 tablespoon for glazing the buns before baking)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons quick rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground kosher salt (+ some for garnish)

Line a 9″x13″ baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, yeast and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, water, oil and brown sugar and warm it in the microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir the warm milk mixture into the flour mixture and once it starts to come together, knead it for 5-7 minutes either by hand on a lightly floured surface or with a dough hook in your stand mixer.

When the dough is smooth and elastic, divide it into 16 equal pieces and shape them each into a mini hot dog bun. Place each bun into the prepared pan, spaced evenly apart, and loosely drape a damp tea towel or sheet of plastic wrap over top. Let rest and rise in a draft-free, warm spot in your kitchen for 20-30 minutes until they double in size.

While the buns are resting, fill a medium-sized roasting pan half-full with water and place it at the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F.

When the buns are ready for baking, brush the tops with a little rice milk and sprinkle a little additional salt over top. Bake for 25-35 minutes until buns are crisp and golden. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Marinara Sauce

  • a few glugs of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups tomato passata with basil
  • 1/2 cup red wine, optional

Heat the oil over medium heat in a frying pan or saucepan. Add the garlic and cook, turning it often, until golden.  Remove the garlic and pour in the passata and wine, if using. Stir and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve on meatball sliders or over pasta.

Baked Turkey Meatballs

(makes 35-45 meatballs)
adapted from these chicken meatballs

  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1-2 medium-sized button or cremini mushrooms, finely chopped or shredded
  • 3-4 heaping tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs (toast 1 slice of bread and chop finely)
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce (about 20 shakes from the Lea & Perrins bottle)
  • 1/4 cup bacon or pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch or two of salt
  • 1 lb ground turkey, still refrigerated

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat the oven to 400F.

Next, mix everything except for the turkey in a medium-sized bowl. Once the mixture is well combined, add the turkey to the bowl. Using your hands, combine it well with the rest of the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts.

Place one of the 4 parts of the mixture on to a prepared baking sheet and shape it into a long rope, about 1-1 1/2 inches thick. Repeat with the other 3 parts so there are 2 ropes per baking sheet. Cut each rope into 9 or 10 equal pieces. Then, move each piece, gently shaping it slightly as you go, to space them evenly around the baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, turning them once after 10 minutes. Serve hot, in a meatball sub, with pasta and sauce, or hot or cold on their own.

Tips and Suggestions:

  • These buns can be made with skim milk too, if they don’t need to be vegan or dairy-free.
  • The buns are best the day they are made but reheat them in a 275F oven for 5 minutes or so to refresh them.
  • Whenever making meatballs, try to use the “rope” method described above. It is fast but above all, the meatballs will be much lighter and less dense since they aren’t being compacted like they would be if each was rolled between your hands individually.
  • The buns, sauce and meatballs can be prepared in advance and frozen. They all reheat very well.

I shared this post on Living Locurto’s Living Creative Thursday Link Party and on TidyMom’s I’m Lovin’ It Link Party.

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