I am gluten-free and want to make some turkey meatballs. I was thinking about putting almond meal in the mixture. Would that be okay instead of breadcrumbs? If not what would be a good substitute? I don't really want to buy breadcrumbs or bread for one thing of meatballs. This is not something I make very often.
Breadcrumbs in meatballs (and meatloaf) will help to keep them moist by absorbing fat and juices that are given off as they cook. I don't think that almond meal would have quite the same effect.
I tend to add some extra moisture through additional vegetables (finely minced in a food processor, then cooked to soften them up and evaporate any liquid that they extract. (you'll still have plenty of retained moisture in there). I typically stick with the italian standards -- carrots, onion & bell pepper, but you could mix it up depending on what flavors you're trying for.
Go right ahead and use the almond meal.
In its list of uses for almond meal, this source says:
Use almond meal in place of breadcrumbs in meatballs.
In fact one of the recipes on the site is for Meatballs Parmesan. It calls for ground meat without specifying a type, so I assume your turkey would be fine.
In addition, the description of this almond meal product states the following:
Use almond meal in place of bread crumbs in meatballs, or as a coating for chicken and fish.
Whilst bread crumbs are good, so is almond meal. I'm 50 been cooking since 8, and for 42 years I've used ground almonds in meatballs and only sometimes bread crumbs. Both do the same job but almond IMHO is the better one to use.
There is no need whatsoever for breadcrumbs in meatballs, they are there only as a filler (to make more servings)
They are mistakenly labelled as binders (to make everything stick together), but they do not have that property
Most meats when finely ground are themselves good binders
Using eggs or milk is usually sufficient to hold a mixture of ground meat and herbs together
Adding ground nuts will add interesting tastes and textures, but they are just another filler that your binder will have to hold together