Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
November 2, 2013
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!

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

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!


Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 15 (1 1/2 inch) meatballs 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian


These delicious meatballs are packed with sneaky nutrition. Makes a great, flavorful freezer meal!


  • 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


Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a sheet pan that has sides or a 9×13 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.

Freeze For Later:

Option 1 (Uncooked Meatballs): Follow steps 1-4. Store uncooked meatballs in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. Or, if stacking meatballs in a container, divide single layers with parchment paper. Seal and freeze.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked Meatballs): Follow Steps 1-5. Let cool. Freeze the cooked meatballs in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. Or, if stacking meatballs in a container, divide single layers with parchment paper.

Prepare From Frozen:

Option 1 (Uncooked Meatballs): Thaw the uncooked meatballs. Follow Step 1. Bake according to directions in Step 5. Or, if cooking directly from frozen, increase baking time by about 30 minutes (total baking time will be about 50 minutes); cover with foil if they are getting too brown on the outside.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked Meatballs): When ready to cook the fully-cooked meatballs, thaw in the refrigerator. 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. Lastly, you can warm up the meatballs in marinara sauce in the slow cooker over Low heat for about 2-3 hours.

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

Looking for more ground beef recipes?

Check out our Top 10 Ground Beef Freezer Meals!

Ground Beef Freezer Meals

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17 replies
  1. 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:

          Here are the USDA’s recommendations on refrigeration and meat, according to their website today:

          Raw ground meats, all poultry, seafood, and variety meats: Refrigerate 1 to 2 days.
          Raw roasts, steaks, and chops (beef, veal, lamb, and pork): Refrigerate 3 to 5 days.
          Cooked meat, poultry, and seafood: Store in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days.

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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 🙂

  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. 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 🙂

  6. 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?

  7. 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.