I never ever realized that America knows my childhood easy meatball recipe with rice. My mom made “hedgehog” meatballs all the time. When I first googled to see what comes up for “meatballs rice” I saw porcupine meatballs. Honestly, at first I thought they were made with porcupine meat until I saw images of a spiky animal at the top of the page. No judgement.
Russian hedgehog = American porcupine. Just 10 times bigger.
These turkey meatballs with brown rice are called “porcupine meatballs” because when rice is cooked it is sticking out from the meatballs like needles. My mom always made porcupine meatballs in a clear sauce made out of broth and spices. Where as I noticed all American recipes come up with tomato sauce. Also my mom and I made the meatballs large. Like you will eat 1-2 meatballs only. That is how we made them. This recipe yields 10 large porcupine balls.
I decided to make slow cooker porcupine meatballs because I thought they make a perfect candidate for a no pre-cooking crock pot recipe. Even brown rice is uncooked. The liquid and steam over 8-10 hours should be plenty to cook the rice. Plus while rice is slowly expanding it acts as a binder along with eggs to keep ground turkey shaped into meatballs.
For my mom’s version of porcupine meatballs I used vegetable stock made with organic bouillon cubes and a bit of cornstarch to thicken it. I love buying the cubes because then I can have as much stock as I want whenever I want. As opposed to homemade one that needs to be defrosted and takes a lot of room in the freezer. And store bought carton broth is so expensive plus has to be used up ASAP. Organic bouillon cubes are the best!
These slow cooker porcupine meatballs came out amazing! I promise! They held their shape. They were flavourful and tender. And so juicy and a bit saucy. Not to mention how filling these rice meatballs are on their own because of brown rice + turkey. They freeze well too! And here is more healthy meatball inspiration: Mexican turkey meatballs, turkey quinoa meatballs with sweet onion sauce, easy turkey meatballs and even meatless meatballs with Parmesan (no one will know).
Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs with Brown Rice
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed & drained*
- 2 eggs, large
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning or 1/2 tsp dried basil + 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- Green onions, parsley or dill, finely chopped (for serving)
- In a large mixing bowl, add turkey, rice, eggs, salt, Italian seasoning and pepper. Using your hands, mix very well.
- Form 10 large meatballs a size just a bit shy of a tennis ball’s size. Place in a single layer on a bottom of a large slow cooker. Meatballs will fit snuggly. Just pack them gently and tight.
- In a medium bowl, whisk broth with cornstarch and pour gently over the meatballs. Cover and cook on Low for 7-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours. Serve hot with a salad or a green smoothie.
*Rice is not cooked or pre-cooked.
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving = 1 meatball:
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Cholesterol: 101.2 mg
Sodium: 314.7 mg
Total Carbs: 14.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 20.5 g
WW Points+: 5