I’ve had this recipe for Turkey Meatballs with Veggies on the blog for about 6 years (SIX! wow), so I decided it was time for an update. New photos, a new ingredient, new take on this whole blogging thing. Oh, and now I have kids, so a new take on life. Did you know kids specifically don’t like eating what you’re eating, no matter what you’re eating? Yeah, me either. #toddlerproblems…or should I say #parentproblems?
Turkey Meatballs with Veggies, though, might change your kids minds. Turkey meatballs are basically the 2000s way of making yourself feel healthy while eating meatballs–right? Lean protein, etc etc, you get it. Now, if you stuff them with a bunch of veggies, you get the 2010s way of making things even HEALTHIER. A little onion (for flavor, mostly), a little carrot, a little spinach, and boom–healthy meatballs. Well, healthIER, meatballs. They may not be the picture of health, but if you’re going to eat meatballs, you might as well try to fill them with some fiber, vitamins, and general awesomeness that veggies provide.
Did my kids notice the veggies? Yes. Actually, my son asked me why the meatballs had green stuff in them. I could have been more stealthy. I could have pureed the spinach so there would be fewer green flecks and clumps. But, I’m lazy. Nobody’s got time for that. After all, I did make homemade meatballs. As soon as I put some sauce on the meatballs (which he apparently likes now), he happily chowed down on his 4 meatballs, and made no subsequent mention of hidden veggies. His sister didn’t notice the veggies and powered through her meatballs in about 10 minutes.
If your kids are especially good at detecting hidden veggies, you can change this recipe around. The carrots and onions seemed to slide by undetected, but you could use a food processor to really finely mince (or basically puree) them. You could puree the spinach, but your kids might notice it. Why not try another veggie? Maybe zucchini? Or mushrooms (extra yum, since they provide “meatiness”). Process them all in the food processor, then add them right in to the meatball mixture.
If you’re feeling extra, you can double the recipe and freeze the remaining meatballs. The prep time will be a few minutes longer, but you’ll have another ready-to-go weeknight meal.
Savory. Filling. Veggie-packed. Prep-ahead. Kid-friendly! Try these meatballs and let me know what you think by commenting below!
Turkey Meatballs with Veggies
- about 1/4 cup minced onion (1/8th of a medium onion)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 lb ground turkey You can use any kind of ground turkey
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- sprinkle pepper
- 1/4 cup frozen spinach thawed, extra moisture squeezed out
- 2 tablespoons grated carrot
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add the onion, garlic, turkey, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, spinach, carrot, egg, and parmesan cheese. Using clean hands, mix until just incorporated (but don't over mix).
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Use a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop to scoop out some meatball mixture, and gently roll it into a ball. Place on the baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining mixture.
Bake for about 20 minutes until completely cooked through.
When you put the meatballs in the oven, put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Add the pasta, and cook through according to the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat up your marinara (or other sauce) on the stove as well. Once it begins to bubble, reduce it to low to keep warm.
Coat the meatballs with sauce, and toss with pasta. Serve with extra grated parmesan, if desired.
You can try cooking the meatballs by simmering them in the sauce.
If you're looking for a prepared marinara sauce, I recommend Rao's. It's the best I've ever had.
Calorie information is for the meatballs. It does not include sauce or pasta.