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Turkey meatballs in a post with pasta sauce

Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs

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

Yield: About 32 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs (6-8 servings) 1x
Prep: 15 minutesCook: 25 minutesTotal: 40 minutes


  • 1 1/4 pounds (20 ounces) lean ground turkey* (sub: ground chicken)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini or carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (preferably whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 cups marinara sauce (about 2 regular-sized jars)
  • Optional for serving: 1 pound whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta

*We recommend NOT using the 99% lean ground turkey. It’s much better to get turkey that’s less lean, so the meatballs are more moist and flavorful.

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Make It Now:

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Make Meat Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, add the turkey, shredded zucchini or carrots, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, egg, ketchup, salt, and pepper. Mix gently using your hands just until combined.
  3. Form Meatballs: Scoop a heaping tablespoon of mixture and shape the turkey mixture into about 1 1/2-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. Bake: Place baking sheet on middle rack in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or internal temp reaches 165°F. (Use a meat thermometer to determine doneness.)
  5. Warm in Sauce: Place all the meatballs and marinara sauce in a large pot. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is warmed through and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Make sure to put the lid on. It splatters!) 
  6. Optional for Serving: Serve over whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta. Top with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

Freeze For Later: Roll meatball mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and store in single layers in a freezer container or bag. Divide layers by parchment paper. Seal well and freeze. 

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


  • It’s very likely you’ll have leftover meatballs. Freeze them for later!
  • Dairy-Free Version: In place of Parmesan cheese, use more breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt.
  • Gluten-Free Version: In place of the Panko bread crumbs, use almond meal or gluten-free bread crumbs (I prefer to make my own with GF bread). Serve over gluten-free pasta. I really like Banza brand.
  • Where We Get Meat: We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. Read my honest review here.
© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Cuisine: American Method: Baked