Meatballs in cinnamon-tomato sauce

Total Time
4 hr 19 min
12 min
4 hr 7 min
A hint of cinnamon adds intriguing, warming flavor and aroma that complements the sweetness of the tomatoes in this Greek-inspired entrée. The sautéed onions and breadcrumbs help keep the meatballs moist while the egg helps bind them. Lightly oil your hands to keep the meatballs from sticking to them as you roll them. Instead of the orzo, you can serve this with couscous, spaghetti, or rice if you prefer. Avoid lifting the lid of the slow cooker while the food is cooking because peeking slows down the cooking process. Serve this entrée with a Mediterranean-style salad with feta cheese and Kalamata olives to complete your Greek-inspired feast.


Olive oil

2 tsp, extra-virgin

Uncooked onion(s)

1 large, chopped


3 medium clove(s), minced

Plum tomato(es)

14½ oz, canned, broken up

Cinnamon stick(s)

1 average

Dried oregano

1 tsp


¼ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground

Uncooked extra lean ground turkey breast

1 pound(s)

Dried plain breadcrumbs

cup(s), seasoned


1 large egg(s), lightly beaten

Table salt

½ tsp

Cooked orzo

2 cup(s), hot


  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Transfer half of the onion mixture to a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Transfer the remaining onion mixture to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano, sugar, and pepper; stir well.
  3. To the onion mixture in the bowl, add the turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and salt; mix well. Shape into 24 meatballs; place on top of the tomato mixture in the slow cooker. Carefully spoon some of the tomato mixture over the meatballs. Cover the slow cooker and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 3–4 hours on high or 6–8 hours on low. Discard the cinnamon stick. Serve the meatballs and sauce with the orzo. Yields 6 meatballs, about 1⁄4 cup sauce, and 1⁄2 cup orzo per serving.