Definitely one of our favorite meatballs recipe. Loaded with nutrients and flavor. It’s perfect for picky eaters: the zucchini are very well combined with all the other ingredients. They give that extra moist that balances the turkey meat. The fresh tomato sauce receives all the juices from the meatballs and becomes super tasty too.
The meatballs are egg free! I substituted the eggs with chia seeds. The seeds will bind together the other ingredients and will also provide a lovely amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, essential nutrients for your baby’s brain.
Let’s start finely grating the zucchini. You will need to squeeze them tightly in your hands in order to remove the extra water.
In a big bowl combine the ground turkey, the squeezed zucchini and also the feta cheese, almond meal, chia seeds, garlic powder, dried thyme and (optional) salt. I didn’t add salt in my mix as the feta already gave enough saltiness. Mix all the ingredients.
Create small meatballs ( 1 Tablespoon of mix each) and coat them with the breadcrumbs.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the meatballs, one next to the other. Leave some space, they should not be too tight. Sear the meatballs for 3/4 minutes at medium/high heat and turn them once. They will get a lovely golden brown color.
Reduce the heat to minimum, add the tomato sauce and water. Add also a pinch of salt. Cover with a net lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!
Double the recipe and freeze it!
Yes, that’s my meal planning strategy 🙂 I usually double the quantities and prepare enough meatballs for at least 3 meals. I cook one family portion and I freeze the others. I like to freeze the meatballs before cooking them. I find that cooking them later from frozen has literally the same exact taste and texture than cooking fresh from scratch.
How to do it? Place the frozen meatballs directly in the pan with a drizzle of olive oil and keep going with the recipe exactly from that phase (sear, add the tomato+water, simmer). You might need only 5 more minutes to cook them completely compared to the regular recipe.
Still, if you cook the meatballs and find yourself with some leftovers you can easily refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. To serve the frozen meatballs I usually thaw them in the microwave for 2/3 minutes adding few tablespoons of water to make the tomato sauce juicy again.
Can I use a different meat?
I tried this recipe both with beef and with chicken. With beef you will get a richer flavor, more juicy as the fat content is higher. Chicken has more or less the same flavor as turkey.
Can the recipe be Gluten Free?
Sure! You will need to substitute the breadcrumbs with either almond meal or rice breadcrumbs.
If you like the “ball” format, check out these recipes too!
- Broccoli Meatballs
- Oat Vegetable Tots
- Fish and Cauliflower croquettes
- Cheesy Baked Spinach Kale Balls
- Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
- Beef Ricotta Meatballs
- Baked Eggplant Mozzarella Croquettes
- Cannellini Beans and Zucchini Muffins
- Chicken and Zucchini Tots
- Quinoa Beef Meatballs
- Butternut squash cheesy croquettes
- Ham & Zucchini croquettes
- Quinoa Oats Zucchini Fritters
- Egg Free Quinoa Broccoli Meatballs
- Chicken Carrot Coconut Burger
- Quinoa Salmon Peas Broccoli Balls
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 lb. finely grated zucchini, extra water squeezed out (3 medium zucchini)
- 4 oz. feta cheese
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup breadcrumbs to coat
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
Finely grate the zucchini and squeeze out the extra water.
In a big bowl combine the ground turkey, zucchini, feta, almond meal, chia seeds, garlic and thyme.
Create small balls, one tablespoon of mix each. Coat them with the breadcrumbs.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the meatballs. Sear them for 3/4 minutes at medium/high heat. Flip them once.
Reduce the heat to minimum, add the tomato sauce, water and adjust with salt. Cover with a net lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!