Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies {Freezer Meal}


Delicious meatballs with sneaky nutrition. Makes a great, flavorful freezer meal!

These meatballs are full of flavor and packed with sneaky nutrition thanks to the finely chopped carrot, onion, garlic, and parsley. Our entire family loves them!

When I make these, I usually double the recipe and freeze half of them for future lunches or dinners. They make such a great freezer meal!Delicious meatballs with sneaky nutrition. Makes a great, flavorful freezer meal!

Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies {Freezer Meal}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These delicious meatballs are packed with sneaky nutrition. Makes a great, flavorful freezer meal!
Author:
Serves: 15 1.5 inch meatballs
Ingredients
  • 1 medium carrot, finely shredded or minced in food processor
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped or minced in food processor
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (by hand or in food processor)
  • ⅓ cup fresh loosely packed parsley, finely chopped or minced in food processor
  • ½ cup fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (How to make your own)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a sheet pan that has sides or a 9x13 casserole dish with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the carrot, onion, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix in the ground beef. Use your hands to combine well.
  4. Roll meat mixture into meatballs, using about 2 tablespoons of mixture per meatball. They will be about 1½ inches in diameter. Place on sheet pan, leaving a little room between each one.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Cut one open and make sure there is no pink in the middle to assure doneness. Internal temp should be 160 degrees F.
Notes
Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Option 1: Do not bake meatballs first.
After rolling out meatballs (step 4), freeze in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. Or, if stacking meatballs in a container, divide single layers with parchment paper.
To Prepare:
When ready to cook, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then bake according to directions (step 5). Or, if cooking directly from frozen, increase baking time by about 30 minutes (total baking time: about 50 minutes); cover with foil if they are getting too brown on the outside.
To Freeze:
Option 2: Bake meatballs first.
After baking meatballs (step 5), freeze in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. Or, if stacking meatballs in a container, divide single layers with parchment paper.
To Prepare:
When ready to cook, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then warm up over low to medium-low heat on the stove in some marinara sauce. If you warm frozen meatballs in sauce it will take longer, so stir continually so sauce doesn’t scorch. Another option, although not the preferred method, is to warm frozen meatballs by themselves in the microwave in 30 second increments until warmed through, being careful not to overcook.

Use them to make our Healthier Meatball Sub Sandwiches or serve on top of some whole wheat spaghetti with our Homemade Marinara Sauce.


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Comments

  1. Leslie says

    I put carrots in several meals that most people wouldn’t think to: meatloaf, potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, spaghetti sauce. In my opinion carrots add a nice crunch to salads without a whole lot of flavor. They are also easily hidden with ground beef.

    • Rachel says

      Totally agree! Great tip!

  2. Jeana says

    I’ve been thinking of making meatballs packed with veggies just like these! I was planning on putting spinach in them, do you think that would work or do you think it might be too wet?

    • Rachel says

      I use fresh chopped spinach all the time in meatballs. The frozen kind would probably be too wet, though. Great idea!

  3. Jeana says

    Thanks! I have the pickiest eater in the world at home right now so I’m trying to pack as much nutrition into everything I can that she’ll actually eat 🙂

  4. Bobbie says

    We get all our beef from my mom who butchers so it is already frozen once it arrives at our house. Since I would need to thaw our beef prior to making the meatballs would I need to cook them before I freeze them? I’m very new to freezer meals and am expecting a little one this December so I’m trying to get my freezer ready!

    • Rachel says

      You can defrost the beef. Make it into meatballs and then you can for sure refreeze the meatballs. It does not seem to affect the taste or texture, and it’s safe according to the USDA as long as you thaw it correctly and freeze right away. I’ve done it many times. Congrats on your baby on the way! You’re already a smart mama by trying to stock up. 🙂

  5. Jayme says

    I’m venturing back into freezer meals and I am perusing your recipes…I’m excited about this one because of the veggies! I try to use ground turkey when possible…would it be an acceptable substitution?? Thank you 🙂

    • Rachel says

      Absolutely! In fact, I make these with ground turkey often. Enjoy!

  6. Rachel says

    I always put grated carrot and zucchinis in my pasta sauces… wondering if I cooked them out first, could I do the same here…? these sound really good 🙂

    • Rachel says

      Oh yeah, that would be awesome.

  7. Jeni says

    Hi. These sound perfect for my upcoming family reunion! I will probably triple it to have enough.
    Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Rachel says

      You’re welcome! I know they will be a big hit at your reunion. Have fun!