Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs {Freezer Meal}


This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!

My entire family really enjoyed these Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs over spaghetti the other night. The finnicky 3-year-old took one bite, announced “MMM!”, and proceeded to eat quite a few. The lovable, yet opinionated husband said, “This should be in the regular rotation of meals for sure.”

These little orbs actually include all four food groups and are quite healthy. They are full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, low fat ground turkey, and some Parmesan cheese. Plus, they are cooked in a tomato sauce, which makes for a pretty well-rounded meal when served on top of whole wheat spaghetti.

This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!

Perhaps the best part was that I had plenty leftover for lunch the next day and to freeze for meatball subs later. I stored them in our favorite freezer container by MightyNest called the 8×8 Square Glass Cake Pan with TrueFit Lid (affiliate link). We use this for all kinds of freezer meals. (Read more about our favorite Freezer Storage containers here.)

This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!

Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!
Author:
Serves: 40 mini meatballs (about 1 inch diameter each)
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup finely shredded zucchini (or finely shredded carrots will work)
  • ½ cup fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 cups organic marinara sauce (about 2 regular-sized jars)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the turkey, zucchini, Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, ketchup, salt, and pepper. Mix well using your hands.
  3. Shape the turkey mixture into about 1-inch diameter meatballs. Place meatballs in rows on the baking sheet, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Wash your hands well.
  4. Note: If you like your meatballs browned on the outside, saute them in a large pan with a little oil over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. You will NOT cook them through this way. I almost always skip this step because it's messier and doesn't make a huge flavor/texture difference to me.
  5. Place baking sheet on middle rack in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or internal temp reaches 165°F. (Note: If you browned the meatballs first, baking time will decrease to 15-20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to determine doneness.)
  6. Place all the meatballs and marinara sauce in a stockpot. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. (Make sure to put the lid on. It splatters!)
  7. Serve over whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta. Top with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.
Notes
Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze: Roll meatball mixture into 1-inch meatballs and store in single layers in a freezer container or bag. Divide layers by parchment paper. Seal well and freeze. Note: DO NOT brown the meatballs before freezing. It is not safe to freeze partially cooked foods.

To Prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Cook according to instructions.

 


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Comments

  1. Maeve Bolin says

    I just made these, and they turned out great! I used two time savers that I usually use with meatballs. First, I mixed everything in my standing mixer – super quick and non-messy. Then, I baked the meatballs instead of sautéing – 350 for 20 minutes did the trick. I am looking forward to trying them out tonight.

    • Rachel says

      Maeve, I hope your family likes them! My kids and hubs never has known all the vegetables I sneak in there. Thanks for leaving a comment with your changes. Great ideas! I am all for easier!

  2. melissa says

    Made these tonight. They were so good! my husband who is super picky RAVED about them the whole meal!!

    • Rachel says

      Awesome, Melissa! I’m in your boat. A meal that my husband raves about counts as a big “win” in my mind.

  3. Brittany says

    These have been a total life saver for me so far! My one year old son was refusing all meat and veggies. I tried everything which way I knew how to cook different meats and veggies, but he refused to eat any of it. I tried out these meatballs and he LOVES them. I love them because I’m finally getting some meat in him AND I can sneak in different types of veggies and he has no clue (not to mention I’m getting to sneak in veggies into my husbands diet too 🙂 .) Thank you!

    • Rachel says

      Brittany, I love this comment so much! My first child was the same way exactly. That’s why I started developing recipes where we hid veggies. If it brings you any hope, he is now a huge vegetable lover at age 7. Never would I have imagined him loving mushrooms, spinach, cucumbers, etc. Keep working at it! P.S. Have you seen this post? You might find it helpful. https://thrivinghomeblog.com/2012/10/5-simple-ways-to-sneak-fruits-and-vegetables-into-your-kids-food/

      • Brittany says

        That’s perfect!! The last few days I have been looking for exactly a list of recipes like this. I”ve made the pumpkin french toast and the blueberry pumpkin bake french toast and they were huge hits with my family. Excited to try more recipes. Cannot thank you enough for this blog and sharing your recipes and knowledge.

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