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Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

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Make healthy comfort food with Turkey Zucchini Meatballs. These use ground turkey and plenty of grated zucchini to make the most tender meatballs. Serve with an easy homemade sauce over pasta noodles or veggies for a delicious, healthy meal!

In addition to these healthier meatballs, we’ve got choices. Try some Curried Meatballs, classic Spaghetti and Meatballs, or the ones we love on pizza, my Sausage Meatball Recipe!

A stockpot of meatballs with sauce.

Zucchini Meatballs

While I love a good hearty beef and pork meatball recipe, I also enjoy trying new healthier versions. Using zucchini to add moisture to meatballs is pure genius. I normally actually add cold water to the ingredients, so adding grated zucchini is a great alternative PLUS it adds a healthy veggie which I can get on board with!

We actually LOVE these meatballs just as much as my beef and pork versions. SO many good things to say about them.

Why we love these meatballs

  1. Healthy. Veggies inside meatballs? YES please.
  2. Tender. The zucchini adds moisture to the meatballs and makes them super moist.
  3. Simple. While the ingredient is a bit long, these really are simple to make. Homemade food is not hard, friends!
A bowl of the spaghetti with sauce and meatballs.

Ingredients Used for the meatballs

  • Ground turkey – I used half regular turkey and half spicy turkey sausage. You can use all ground turkey, if desired.
  • Zucchini – The star of the show! Use about 1 cup of shredded zucchini.
  • Egg – The egg helps to bind the meatballs together.
  • Breadcrumbs – I used half Panko and half Italian breadcrumbs. You can use all of one kind if you’d rather.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Use freshly grated parmesan cheese instead of that powdered version!
  • Tomato Paste – The paste adds a ton of flavor and shouldn’t be skipped.
  • Seasonings – Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, Italian seasoning and dried basil.

Ingredients Used for the sauce

  • Olive Oil – I use extra-virgin olive oil to sauté the veggies.
  • Onion and Garlic – Diced onions and minced garlic are the start of a delicious sauce.
  • Tomatoes – A combo of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes (fire-roasted is best), and tomato paste.
  • Chicken Broth – I always use a lower-sodium version.
  • Sugar – A pinch of sugar helps to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Seasonings – S&P, basil and Italian Seasoning.

How to make Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

You can make these meatballs as big or as little as you like. But make sure you adjust the baking time accordingly.

  1. Grate a zucchini. Use a food chopper or box grater to shred a zucchini. You’ll need about one cup for this recipe.
  2. Mix up the meatball ingredients. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients – the ground turkey, zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, tomato paste, and seasonings.
  3. Bake meatballs. Bake meatballs (on a parchment lined baking sheet) in a preheated 400 degree oven. Bake for approximately 17-18 minutes, or until done.
  4. Make sauce. In a stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until softened. Then add the remaining ingredients – the tomatoes, paste, broth, sugar, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer (slightly bubbling) over medium heat and cook, approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Add meatballs to sauce. When meatballs are done, add them to the sauce and simmer a couple more minutes.
  6. Serve. Serve the turkey meatballs and sauce over pasta or veggies of your choice. Add some extra freshly grated parmesan cheese.
A stock pot of meatballs and sauce with a ladle.

What to pair with this pasta

I love serving these meatballs over pasta. Like the REAL thing. I’m not a fan of wheat pasta or chickpea pasta. Gimme the regular ole pasta noodles please. BUT I do enjoy them over veggies or better yet, a combo of pasta AND veggies.

Other zucchini recipes

When zucchini is in season, you’ve got to try all the delicious recipes!

Spaghetti and turkey meatballs.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

Please let know if you try this recipe. Be sure to comment and leave a review on the blog so I can see what you think. You can also like my Facebook Page, follow me on Pinterest, and catch me on Instagram.

xoxo ~Sue

A stock pot of meatballs and sauce with a ladle.

Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Make healthy comfort food with Turkey Zucchini Meatballs. These use ground turkey and plenty of grated zucchini to make the most tender meatballs. Serve with an easy homemade sauce over pasta noodles or veggies for a delicious, healthy meal!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 7 servings (3 meatballs plus sauce)
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage links – remove from casings
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

For the sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 3 cloves garlic – diced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 30 oz. fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

To serve:

  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • pasta and/or veggies

Instructions

  • Grate one zucchini (approximately one cup) with a box grater or food chopper.
  • Make meatballs. Place all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl – the turkey, shredded zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, tomato paste, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and basil. Mix with your hands until well combined. Form into approximately 22-24 meatballs.
  • Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 17-18 minutes, or until done.
  • Make sauce. Meanwhile, in a stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until softened. Then add the remaining ingredients – the tomatoes, paste, broth, sugar, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer (slightly bubbling) over medium heat and cook, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Add cooked meatballs to sauce and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Serve meatballs over pasta or veggies. Add freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

I love serving these meatballs over pasta. Like the REAL thing. I’m not a fan of wheat pasta or chickpea pasta. Gimme the regular ole pasta noodles please. BUT I do enjoy them over veggies or better yet, a combo of pasta AND veggies.

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 1019mg | Potassium: 939mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1073IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 191mg | Iron: 5mg

22 Comments

  1. We started using turkey more instead of ground chuck and I love trying new recipes with it. I have a ton of zucchini leftover so I am making a batch of these today. I can’t wait to try it with the tomato paste to boost the flavor.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I hope you love them as much as we do, Jennifer! 🙂

  2. Such a great alternative to traditional meatballs. Perfect over zoodles too! So full of flavor!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Leftovers are fantastic!!

  3. I love adding grated vegetables like zucchini and carrots to meals like this. These meatballs look really delicious and I know my family would enjoy them a lot.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Let me know how they turn out for you! 🙂

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks so much Inger! 🙂

  4. You put zucchini in these? What a great way to use up all that zucchini from the garden!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes! It’s a great way to use zucchini!

  5. What a great way to use up all of the zucchini we have this time of year! These look amazing.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Karen!

  6. Michaela Kenkel says:

    These meatballs were so good!! Mixed them up for our big family dinner this weekend and they were devoured! Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Oh I’m so glad to hear that Michaela! Thanks for trying them! 🙂

  7. We love using turkey whenever we can and these meatballs were delicious! I loved the moisture and tenderness that the zucchini adds too!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      The zucchini is magic in these meatballs! Thanks Julie!

  8. Katelynn Badger says:

    Hi Sue! These meatballs are amazing!! Zucchini noodles with my grandmother’s homemade pasta sauce is a weekly meal in our household. However, my fiancé has the biggest appetite and I’ve struggled to pair our healthy pasta with a protein that is not only yummy and filling but compliments the pasta too. I don’t know why I never thought of meatballs – so glad you posted the missing piece. 🙂 We both agree that they are so yummy and I love that they are a healthier option as well! I also love your tips for getting the meal on the table fast on hectic weeknights. Thanks again for sharing and we are excited to have them again next week since I froze half of the recipe!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Katelynn!! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the meatballs!! Thanks for trying them, and you’ll have to tell me all about your grandmother’s homemade pasta sauce. 🙂

  9. Mike Ringsdorf says:

    These pictures are awesome, but the taste is even better!

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