Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs (Oven-Baked)

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Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs are oven-baked and come together with just a few simple ingredients. They make for a quick weeknight meal and are meal prep and freezer-friendly! In addition, they’re a great way to enjoy zucchini in a savory way and a fun way to sneak more veggies into your diet! Enjoy them as is or toss them in your favorite marinara to serve with pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

Got Zucchini? Make these Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Do you have a backyard garden? Are you part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? Or are you a weekly visitor at your local Farmers’ Market? If you answered yes to any of these questions and you’re here reading this post, you most likely are looking for some new ways to enjoy zucchini…or simply use it up! If you answered no to the questions but still want to give this recipe a try, you’re in luck because zucchini is a pretty easy vegetable to get your hands on as it’s widely available at most grocery stores!

These Zucchini Turkey Meatballs are made with no breadcrumbs or eggs and are Whole30-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free. They’re fast-and-easy to make, made with just 6 ingredients, delicious and freezer-friendly.

Ingredients for Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

A few ingredients is all you need to make these meatballs!

  • Ground turkey – feel free to substitute ground chicken, beef or bison. Use what you have on a hand! We prefer a 93/7 lean ground turkey.
  • Shredded zucchini – you’ll need about one medium zucchini to make 2 cups of shredded zucchini. Below we share how to shred zucchini. If you’d like feel free to mix in shredded carrots or add some finely diced onion.
  • Dried Italian Seasoning – a blend of spices that adds delicious flavor. If you don’t have dried italian seasoning on hand feel free to use a mix of any of these spices – basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, or coriander.
  • Garlic powder – you could substitute fresh garlic if you have it on hand. About 3-4 cloves, minced.
  • Onion powder – you could substitute fresh onion if you have it on hand and don’t mind a little extra  chopping. About a 1/2 cup finely diced.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – adds just a little kick. Feel free to omit.
  • Sea salt & black pepper

Confused about poultry labeling? Check this post out to learn all about how to choose the best chicken in the grocery store. 

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How to make Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

You’re going to love how easy these Whole30-friendly meatballs are to make!

  • Step 1: preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
  • Step 2: If you haven’t already, shred the zucchini with a grater. Place and spread the shredded zucchini out on one half of a double layer of paper towel, top the zucchini with another double layer of paper towel or fold the paper towel over the zucchini and press down with hands to absorb moisture from the zucchini. See photos above.
  • Step 3: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix with spoon or clean hands.
  • Step 4: Form into 28 golf ball-sized meatballs (about 1 1/2 oz. each) and place on the baking sheet.
  • Step 5: Bake for 18-20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and insides are no longer pink
  • Step 6: Serve as is or toss with your favorite marinara sauce. We like Primal Kitchen Marinara Sauce!

For 10% off of all Primal Kitchen products use code: REALFOODRDS

How to shred zucchini

There are a couple of ways you can shred zucchini. With a food processor is one way or with a grater. We tend to reach for our graters for ease and for less dishes to clean. Shredding zucchini is very similar to shredding a block of cheese. Simply trim the ends and then hold the zucchini with one hand and with the other hand hold the grater so that it’s secure and stable. Drag one end of the zucchini up and down the grater to make strands. When you get close to the end of the zucchini, be careful not to nick your knuckle.

How to remove water from zucchini

Because zucchini contains quite a bit of water, some recipes that include zucchini, suggest removing some of the water. To do so, simply place and spread the shredded zucchini out on one half of a double layer of paper towel, top the zucchini with another double layer of paper towel or fold the paper towel over the zucchini and press down with hands to absorb moisture from the zucchini

How to serve Turkey Zucchini Meatballs?

These meatballs are delicious as is without any sauce. They make for a great protein option and pair perfectly with any vegetable. For a balanced meal, we like to serve them with a side of roasted broccoli, green beans or asparagus and a baked sweet potato or are Crispy Ranch Roasted Potatoes that everyone is crazy for. Because of the Italian seasoning that the recipe calls for, the meatballs are also perfect for tossing in marinara sauce. From there you can serve them however you’d like – with a side of your favorite veggies or served over pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

Looking for guidance with meal planning? Check out Real Plans, a highly customizable online meal planning service that includes over 300 of our very own recipes.

How to freeze meatballs?

Freezing meatballs without sauce: when freezing meatballs without a sauce we like to place the cooled meatballs on a baking sheet spaced out so that they aren’t touching. Then place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. The reason we like to pre-freeze the meatballs on a baking sheet is so that when they’re in the container they don’t freeze together. This way you can remove exactly the number of meatballs you want to heat and serve.

Freezing meatballs with sauce: if freezing meatballs in a sauce, allow them to cool and once cooled to room temperature, transfer the meatballs and sauce to an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, heat them in microwave from frozen or thaw them in the fridge overnight or just enough to remove from the container to heat in a covered pan on the stove.

Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs are meal prep friendly!

You know we love a good meal prep recipe and this one certainly fits the bill. Not only are these meatballs incredibly easy to make, they’re also freezer-friendly (as mentioned above), budget-friendly and they reheat ever so nicely. We like to portion them out into microwave and oven-safe glass containers and add a big serving of vegetables to round out the meal. It’s a delicious reheat-and-eat meal to enjoy throughout the week. You can also make the meatballs ahead and store them in a larger glass container and enjoy them for an easy weeknight meal. We recommended consuming the meatballs within 4-5 days after making them.

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Italian Turkey Zucchini Meatballs are oven-baked and come together with just a few simple ingredients. They make for a quick and simple weeknight meal and are meal prep and freezer-friendly. Serve them as is or toss them in your favorite marinara sauce and top them over pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

  • Author: The Real Food Dietitians
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 18 mins
  • Total Time: 26 mins
  • Yield: 28 meatballs (7 servings) 1x
  • Category: Entree

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. 93/7 lean ground turkey (may sub ground chicken, beef or bison)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, loosely packed
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
  2. Place and spread the shredded zucchini out on one half of a double layer of paper towel, top the zucchini with another double layer of paper towel or fold the paper towel over the zucchini and press down with hands to absorb moisture from the zucchini.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix with spoon or clean hands.
  4. Form into 28 golf ball-sized meatballs (about 1 1/2 oz. each) and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and insides are no longer pink.
  6. Serve as is or toss with your favorite marinara sauce. We like Primal Kitchen Marinara Sauce!

Notes

  • Feel free to change up the spices and herbs with what you have on hand. Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary or a mix of them would also be a tasty option.
  • If prepping the meatballs ahead, allow them to cool to room temperature and then place them in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 meatballs
  • Calories: 195
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 420 mg
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 25 g

 

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About Stacie Hassing

Stacie is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian from rural southern Minnesota where she and her husband reside on 5 acres with their two pups, Walter & Lucy. She’s a creator of simple and wholesome recipes, a lover of nature, a crossfitter, a seasonal runner, and she’s on a mission to inspire as many as she can live a healthier and happier life from the inside out.



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