This chopped romaine salad may look gourmet, but it’s super easy to make. Just get the turkey meatballs in the oven first and chop up a head of romaine, a pint of cherry tomatoes (hopefully the multi-colored ones), and those cute Persian cucumbers (you don’t even have to peel or de-seed them).
Then, if you can get your hands on some Kalamata olives, that is unquestionably the best ingredient to go with for it’s meaty, salty, and briny qualities. But, that said, green olives, olives stuffed with cheese, or Greek marinated olives would work well, too.
Toss everything together, and top with those warm turkey meatballs, and you’ve got one heck of a salad supper.
Drizzle everything with a good quality olive oil and vinegar dressing or follow my lead with a yogurt dressing (it’s really tangy and takes just a few minutes to make).
What’s in the chopped romaine salad?
Whenever I make a salad, my goal is to get a variety of textures and colors to make things interesting. Plus, the flavor and freshness of the ingredients definitely beat a salad-in-a-bag.
Kalamata olives, juicy cherry tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers can be chopped or sliced. I especially love the spicy bite of the pickled red onion.
For the dressing, I like to use plain yogurt mixed with champagne vinegar for a little tangy richness. Though, feta would be a really nice choice if you were skipping the yogurt!
Let’s chat about the champagne vinegar.
The acidity is milder than red wine vinegar, sort of like a cross between red and white wine vinegars. Lately, it’s been my go-to acid for vinaigrettes, even homemade mayonnaise.
To make turkey meatballs, you need ground turkey (ground chicken may be substituted) and something to help bind everything together. For example, try either panko or regular breadcrumbs.
Which brings me to my next point — moisture.
To egg or not to egg?
I usually include an egg for moisture when making meatballs (for example, these gluten-free meatballs or Dutch oven meatballs). However, this recipe only calls for 10 ounces of ground turkey, so I wouldn’t recommend the egg unless you plan to double the recipe.
1 egg for every 2 pounds of ground meat goes a long way, and you don’t want too much liquid or the meatballs will fall apart.
A great alternative, if you like, is to add just a tiny splash of milk to the breadcrumbs before mixing the meatballs, since dairy is another way to keep the meatballs tender on the inside.
I like to get my cooked ingredient in the oven while I chop and prep the salad because it saves overall time.
To get started, mix the ground turkey with the seasoning and breadcrumbs and shape into uniform round balls, about 1 1/2 to 2-inches wide.
Bake the turkey meatballs in the oven
To bake turkey meatballs, you need a baking sheet or dish coated with olive oil. The oven should be preheated to 400°F.
Depending on the size, the meatballs are done anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes and will have some light browning on the outside. The safe internal temperature for turkey is 165 °F.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the salad ingredients and the dressing. That way, the meatballs come out around the time everything is prepped and ready to go.
How to Serve the Meatball Salad
I like to massage a bit of the yogurt dressing into the romaine first (easiest to do in a large bowl). Top with the meatballs and all the veggies. Serve with extra yogurt dressing on the side. Taste for saltiness. You may want to add more salt, but watch out because the olives are already salty.
If you like this recipe, you might also like my chicken meatball recipe with buffalo sauce or any of the salads linked below!
More Salad Recipes You Might Like:
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TURKEY MEATBALLS & YOGURT-DRESSED SALAD
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 ounces ground turkey
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons za’atar seasoning
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 date pitted and minced
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 4 ounces grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
- 6 pitted kalamata olives chopped
- 1 persian cucumber sliced thinly
- Preheat. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Mix. In a medium bowl, lightly mix the ground turkey, garlic, breadcrumbs, za’atar, and season with salt and pepper.
- Roll and bake. Use an ice cream scoop or your fingers to form uniform balls and transfer to the sheet pan. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
- Pickle the onion and make the dressing. In a medium bowl, toss the vinegar, a large pinch of salt, and the sliced red onions together. Within a few minutes, the red onion will begin to pickle. When the onions are soft, squeeze to release excess liquid and transfer to a plate. To the same bowl, add the yogurt and minced date; whisk to form a thick, smooth dressing. Chop the romaine and place it in a bowl.
- Prepare the salad and serve your dish. Chop the romaine and distribute on one half of each plate. Top with the grape tomatoes, olives, and cucumber. Place the pickled onions and meatballs on each plate next to the salad and drizzle with the yogurt dressing. Enjoy!