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.
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.)
- 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)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the turkey, zucchini, Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, ketchup, salt, and pepper. Mix well using your hands.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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!)
- Serve over whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta. Top with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.
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.