Dairy and Egg Free Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, and a few housekeeping notes….

I’ve recently had a lot of requests for a dairy and egg free meatball recipe and am happy to finally get around to sharing my family’s favorite. You know me, I want easy, no-big-deal type recipes and this one fits the bill. It is so easy yet healthy and delicious. I can make this entire dinner start to finish in under 30 minutes, with kids yanking at my leg and others screaming for homework help. In other words, it doesn’t get any easier than this and your family will love it. Also, you can easily make the sauce and meatballs ahead of time and freeze.

A couple of tips:

  • use dark meat ground turkey because the lean stuff tastes dry.
  • omit the grated veggies and just use grated onion in the sauce if you don’t have veggies on hand. I simply like sneaking in veggies when possible.
  • use GF pasta and GF panko crumbs if you need to (kinnikinnick brand carries a GF panko)
  • I like to bake my meatballs for two reasons, reduce the fat in frying and it is faster and easier to bake them in the oven and add to sauce later.
  • I like to serve dairy free garlic bread with this dish: DF baguette, cut in half and sliced lengthwise. Melt 2 T. DF margarine and add 3-4 minced garlic cloves. Brush on both cut sides of bread, wrap in foil and bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Unwrap, position bread to open face and set broiler on high. Broil to toast lightly, 1-2 minutes and KEEP AN EYE ON IT!
  • This spaghetti and meatball recipe can be used to make leftover meatball sub sandwiches the next night. MY personal favorite!!

Finally, a few housekeeping notes. It seems as if I have had more than the usual negative comments on my blog recently. I don’t like the negative tone and I don’t like wasting my time addressing insensitive remarks. So if you choose to leave this type of comment here, think again. I won’t read it and I won’t address it. My blog was created nearly three years ago as a forum to share my favorite recipes and offer my personal stories regarding our struggles and even triumphs regarding the world of food allergies. I didn’t start this blog to be controversial, a know-it-all or even an alarmist. I LOVE the positive and loving messages so many of you give to me in your comments and emails. Words cannot express how much they have meant to me and how it has kept me going on the REALLY tough days of advocating and writing. Your positive energy has been a true blessing and I am so grateful. For those of you that troll around and talk smack…different story. If you want to stir the pot, go write to Joel Stein or something. I have no interest in addressing ridiculous and negative comments. Also, please keep in mind that all my recipe postings are provided here for FREE because I truly enjoy creating them and love to give them to all the food allergy mama’s out there who simply want to bake and cook great food for their families. No, I am not a chef, I did not go to culinary school, I am not a nutritionist, I am not a doctor or allergist. I am simply a mom whose passions include my family, great food and working to educate about food allergies. That’s the bottom line.


For Sauce:

1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 small onion, peeled and gated

1 c. grated, peeled veggies (I like a combination of carrots and zucchini) simply omit if your kids aren’t thrilled with the veggies)

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Organic with Basil)

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce (Muir Glen)

1 3/4 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning

1/4 tsp. dried Thyme

1 T. fresh Italian parsley (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

F0r Meatballs:

1 lb. dark meat ground turkey

3/4 c. panko crumbs

1 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning

1/4 tsp. dried Thyme

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

2 T. water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the meatball ingredients until mixed together. Use your hands to roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, heat a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat for about a minute. Add olive oil and grate onion and/or veggies directly into pot. Add seasonings, and salt and pepper to taste and saute about five minutes or until onion is translucent. Add canned tomatoes and tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes (during the time the meatballs cook).

Heat a big pot of water to boiling and cook pasta according to package directions. Add cooked meatballs to sauce and simmer for five additional minutes. Drain pasta and pour into a big bowl, adding meatball/sauce mixture to spaghetti. Serve with crusty bread, garlic bread and a salad.

96 Responses

  1. I’m not one for comments, but have to let u know how much this blog means to people in the FA community. Please don’t let the negative comments get you down, those folks have other issues!!

  2. I’d like to join everyone in thanking you for this amazing blog. I spent years looking for recipes like these that don’t use strange substitutes for some of the common allergens. I use your recipes at least once a week and everyone loves them. Thank you so much!

  3. I am intrigued to try your meatballs! I have tried quite a few ways and they always end up crumbly. Maybe I needed to switch to turkey? I will try them next time I make my sauce!

    Thanks for your blog. I love it! We are milk, egg, and nut free as well. I have your latest book and LOVE it!

  4. I love all of your recipes!! I can’t wait to try your meatballs too. I love the fact that baking them will help keep my kitchen the slightest bit cleaner. 🙂

    By the way, I used your chocolate birthday cake recipe for my son’s 5th birthday yesterday and it was a huge hit (as always!) I think it’s the best birthday cake recipe I own!

  5. From one Kelly to another – YOU ROCK! Be true to yourself and ignore those that want to bring you down. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

    Once again, thank you for bringing 100% positive change to my family and many others.

  6. This is my first time to comment, but I had to write to let you know how much we love your blog and cookbook! You have been a lifesaver to us! The trolls obviously have never witnessed their young child having an anaphylactic reaction and being rushed to the ER. Nor, have they had to tell their child that they again cannot have the same treats that their classmates are having!

    Keep up the great work!

  7. After strawberry picking this weekend, my formerly egg allergic twin sons and I used your awesome recipes to make strawberry bread and strawberry chocolate chip cake. Two of our favorites! I’ve had people request your recipes more times than I can count! I appreciate all that you have done and continue to do in the food allergic world. I was so grateful to discover your blog over a year ago when I was new to cooking for boys with food allergies. It was important to me that they still get to eat “normal” foods. Thanks to you, they have never known the difference. Neither have any of my guests! 🙂 Ignore the ignorant people of this world, and keep up the good work! God bless you and your family!

  8. mmmmmm! Meatballs! Can’t wait to try.

    re: the negative people. It is inevitable noise in a world of advocating for the safety and inclusion of our little citizens.

    While I expect the noise – this is absolutely not the forum for it.

    This is about food – love – Moms – and more food …. TREATS!! the stuff non-allergic kids eat without a forethought but allergic kids have to be wary of unless their Mommie’s (who have researched the facilities of every product in the recipe) make it for them.

    My daughter is allergic to Milk Egg Peanut TreeNuts …. but thanks to YOU, Kelly, and wonderful companies like Cherrybrook and Divvies etc …. my daughter LOVES to bake!!
    If only I could get her to keep her fingers out of the batter 🙂

  9. Wow. I am PROFOUNDLY moved by every single comment here. Tears are in my eyes. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me. It’s so odd, the past few months have presented more than usual challenges, whether at my child’s school, dealing with the administration to move forward a food policy, dealing with the airlines in preparation for our trip during spring break, dealing with some restaurants, the school protest situation in Florida, the Chicago family who’s suing the Chinese restaurant involved in the 13 year old girl’s food allergy death last year and then finally, the negative nancy’s commenting and emailing me. I really believe we are all doing the best we can with what we have to work with. We have never asked for special treatment or consideration, just the opportunity to make our children feel included and safe. I believe our children’s voices deserve to be heard as well. It’s just so unfortunate that many adults say things and make decisions based on their own perspective, and not trying to see the situation from all sides. More empathy, love and compassion needs to be felt in this world, especially for those who have special needs, bodies, circumstances, issues, whatever it is. It is so important to take a step back, breathe and really feel and think about others, not just how it affects our personal situation. There isn’t one food allergy mama I know who hasn’t done this over and over again. We’re always trying to accommodate and help make things easier, often taking the burden on ourselves to make everything for parties and get togethers. It can be exhausting. And even that I don’t mind so much as I know you feel the same. But it is the negative naysayers who want to debate the issue of food allergies in an attacking manner that gets old.

    I can’t thank you enough for your incredible words of encouragement. You’ve truly inspired me. And as my one of my favorite journalists always says, onward….

  10. how do I know if it is “dark Ground Turkey”? should that be on the label??
    I have looking for a good meatball recipe!

    • ashleigh, I love to get my ground turkey from whole foods, behind the meat counter and it will say “dark meat ground turkey”. i also have bought the other store brands with great success….look for the turkey to say 93/7….NOT lean.

  11. Thank you for helping me keep my children safe with all your allergy friendly recipes!!! I made the Spaghetti and meatballs tonight and the WHOLE family ate it ALL up! No leftovers….it was a hit! 🙂

    • I LOVE that Lnielsen!!! Truly makes me so happy to know your entire family ate it up!!! xoxo

  12. Where can I find allergen safe ground turkey and panko breadcrumbs? The kinnikinnick brand breadcrumbs has allergy warnings. My daughter is allergic to dairy, peanuts, treenuts, beef, soy and eggs…I’m so wary of buying ground meat which could easily have dairy or beef ingredients. Same with sausages!

    Also, I wanted to add to the voice of the grateful bunch, Kelly, you have changed our life! I was lost and scared when we first got the allergy diagnosis but things have changed since then. My 3 year old never, ever has to feel left out because if there’s ever something she wants to eat, there’s a recipe for it- at foodallergymama’s! Thank you so much for all that you’ve done and all that you continue to do!!

    • Oh darn Chandni, it looks like the gluten free version panko won’t work for you! You could honestly use and allergen safe cracker, bread crumb (use your favorite bread and proccess it to fine crumbs) in place of the panko, cup for cup. You will have no problem finding ground turkey to be allergen safe, as long as it is plain. Sausages you are very wise to stay away from. Let me know how it works for you!!!! Thank you also for your sweet words!

  13. Kelly – don’t let the negative jerks get you down. Your recipes are fantastic and you’re doing an amazing job for all of your kids (and helping us give ours some great treats too!). Just this past weekend we had 2 of your recipes at a family party (I always make at least 2 things so my son will have some options for dessert) and a family friend who has a nut allergy was there. He lit up when he learned that he could eat the cupcakes AND the cookies – his mom says its rare that he ever eats dessert outside of their house. Regardless, he managed to put away 6-8 of your sugar cookies – the look on his face was priceless, as was the look on his moms! Thank you!

    • Oh Carla I love that story! I LOVE hearing these kids get little moments of normalcy. It truly inspires me. These kids are so incredible. So glad you enjoy the treats! xo

  14. Kelly-
    I just want to say thank you for all that you do. I was so confused and overwhelmed when my son was diagoned with his food allergies. It felt like he was allergic to every food out there and I couldn’t make him anything safe. I purchased your book and I love it. It gave me a sense of confidence to know that I can make safe things for my son. Again, thank you for all that you do!

    I saw this on Today and thought of you. Talk about negative parents. Until a parent has lived a day with a child with food allergies or any allergies at that, I don’t think they will truly understand the stress and fear a parent goes through trying to keep their children safe nor do they have a leg to stand on when complaining.

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/42247030#42247030 (here is the clip)


    • Emily thank you for your kind words. I could have written your first paragraph word for word myself. We all have been there haven’t we?

  15. I know it can’t be easy to hear anything negative on a blog that you pour your heart and soul into but I want you that your hard work has made our lives better and for that I can’t thank you enough.

    • Thank you so much Liz, you hit the nail on the head. I appreciate your kind words!

  16. Made this for dinner last night and everyone LOVED it! Best meatballs ever! Your recipes are the best – so excited that you are sharing dinner ideas. Thank you so much! God bless you and your family!

  17. I’m just catching up from our Spring Break trip (a cruise where they really accomodated my daughter’s milk/egg allergy in the dining room. They even promised no cross contamination as long as we didn’t eat at the buffet. It was amazing, they assigned a hostess to us and let us pick Madelyn’s meal each night for the next night). The best thing I got on the trip … Mexican vanilla! I digress though …

    I don’t know why, but we’ve also experienced the food allergy negativity recently. We’ve had people flat out tell us that they don’t believe in allergies, some closed-minded articles about allergies, and most recently we’ve had family making ignorant comments about the food allergy. It’s hard to swallow.

    Through it all though, I have fallen in love with baking and cooking again. A lot of that is due to your blog. I love the fact that you aren’t a doctor, a nutritionist, or anything else. You are just a mom. Your recipes are easy to follow after a long day at work and having the baby tugging at your leg.

    As I sit here smelling your banana bread getting ready to come out of the oven, I want to thank you again (I can’t thank you enough). Please keep up the good work and don’t let the negative nellies get to you. I couldn’t stand that they’d break your spirit and ruin your good work for the rest of us.

  18. Kelly, I’ve never posted but have to today after reading about the trolls… I am not much of a cook and definitely not a baker but your recipes have given me the confidence to bake for my egg, nut, dairy allergic son. Yesterday I made your choc chip brownies and my family of 5 devoured the whole pan. Can’t tell you how grateful I am !! This is my favorite allergy site and I so appreciate the support and encouragement from your blog!

  19. People who are not affected by food allergies will never understand how difficult it is to stay alive day to day. These are the parents/grandparents that still send their children to school with PBJ sandwiches and chocolate bars. It’s ignorance and lack of consideration for others. But I bet if their child was allergic, it would be a different story. Luckily my son is old enough to stay away from allergens and is not afraid to speak up when he doesn’t feel safe in his environment. My family and friends are so grateful for the recipes you share because I share it with them also. The fact that your recipes don’t contain eggs, nuts and dairy is a true testament to your efforts because your treats don’t lack in flavor or taste. You are a devoted mother and your passion to help and support other food allergic individuals is obvious. Thank you for your time!

  20. Thank you for posting this recipe! I actually made it tonight and it was a hit :0) My 20 month old ate the entire thing and my favorite part was adding all the healthy veggies and she didn’t even know. Thanks again!

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  22. Hi- First, keep doing what you’re doing. As a mom of an almost 3 year old with egg and nut (tree nut and peanut) allergies, you are an inspiration! I bought your cookbook (with a copy for grandma) when my son was first diagnosed and use it constantly. One of the reasons I love it is that you use ordinary, easy to find ingredients–and the recipes come out well! (Just made the corn muffins with Monday night chili, in fact.) I am beginning to try to make my own recipes–mostly baking 🙂 because that seems to harder to find without eggs. I made a similar turkey meatball recipe but used lean ground turkey and mixed in some milk with the panko to keep it a little moister. (I know that wouldn’t work for dairy allergy people but maybe soy milk?) While you are (thank goodness) ignoring the trolls, I also wanted to let you know I read your blog for encouragement too. My son is starting preschool in the fall and whenever I second guess myself for being a pain in the butt at his school, you remind me I can never be too careful or too vocal in my son’s defense. Thank you again and good luck with all of your new endeavors. em

  23. SOOOOO glad I found this recipe! I was tired of having no meatballs in my spagetti! Hope they turn out delic & my LO loves them too!! 🙂

  24. Thank you for the great recipe. What type of pasta are you all using. I can not find any that are not processed in a facility with eggs. I did try the Rienzi pasta because it does not state either way but after I gave it to my daughter the next day she had a terrible rash on her back.Please any suggestion i keep researching but I feel like
    i get no where.Thank you in advance.

    • I know this is an old post, but that is the only pasta I buy because it says on the box it is free of peanuts and eggs and not even made in the same facility. We have never had an issue. My daughter is allergic to egg, peanut and even squash (among other things). They make a pasta with squash in it and we still haven’t had issue. The pasta for kids says stuff on the box, the others don’t but we still haven’t had issue when using non-kid pasta. Hope that is helpful to others.

  25. I love finding blogs that offer advice and recipes for those with food allergies. My son has a peanut,egg and mustard allergy. I am also wondering what brand of pasta you use??

  26. Thank you!! You saved a frustrated mama and my son was recently diagnosed with egg and milk allergy, on top of his wheat allergy. Everyone loved these-even those who aren’t allergy kids.
    I put them in for the last hour of the spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker and they cooked up really well.
    Thank you again!

  27. Our 20 month old daughter was diagnosed with Dairy, Egg, Nut, Oat and Sesame allergies. Your cookbook has allowed our family to again enjoy foods that we used to. I am so happy I will have recipes to make her as she gets older so she doesn’t feel like she is missing out. I want you to know that our family appreciates your website and cookbook tremendously. Thank you!

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  29. Who in their right mind would make and post negatives comments regarding your recipes? My three year old grandson is allergic to beef, eggs, peanuts, nuts, shellfish and soy and his menu is limited. Cooking using the proper ingredients is essential and if we are not aware the results for him are deadly! Your site is wonderful and helpful. I truly hope that you are able to set aside these mindless uncaring people and ignore their negatives comments. Thank you for all your hard work and caring for these folks with allergies. Keep up the great job!

  30. Just discovered your blog and can’t wait to try a modified version of your turkey meatball recipe. I am just discovering how food allergies can affect our lives and appreciate finding you and the information you provide.

  31. I just tried the meatballs! So good! I did substitute Saltine crackers for the Panko bread crumbs because I didn’t have any and it worked just fine. Thank you again for another awesome recipe!

  32. I just came across your blog this morning while researching egg and dairy free meatballs, these sound yummy by the way! I just want to say thank you for all of your recipes! My daughter is about to turn one so were venturing into more solid foods and as you know, with egg and dairy allergies, the options are very limited. It’s nice to see so many different types of recipes and many that don’t take hours.

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  34. This is one of my favorite recipes! I had never made meatballs in my life, but this recipe made it so easy. Thank you so much, Kelly! You have been an amazing resource in my family’s food allergy journey.