Make turkey veggie meatballs for your next weeknight dinner or for meal prepping lunches. They're filled with lean protein and shredded veggies and turn out perfectly moist and tender.
Turkey veggie meatballs are easy to make for your next meal with family or for meal prepping lunches for the week. They're mixed together in a single bowl then baked in the oven until perfectly cooked and moist.
Including shredded veggies in your meatballs not only adds moisture but also extra nutrition. This can be helpful if you're looking to add more veggies to your meals!
Serve turkey veggie meatballs on their own, with pasta and marinara sauce, or with some steamed rice and roasted zucchini. They also freeze well (raw or cooked) and reheat beautifully in the microwave.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Ground turkey - Can be substituted with other ground meat if desired, like ground chicken, ground beef, or ground pork. Keep in mind that higher fat meats will release more grease and shrink slightly as they bake in the oven.
- Egg - Adds moisture and structure to your meatballs. I don't recommend omitting the egg.
- Parmesan cheese - Adds flavor and moisture to your meatballs.
- Panko breadcrumbs - Helps add structure to the meatballs and prevent a "rubbery" texture when cooked. Regular or gluten-free panko breadcrumbs will work.
- Shredded vegetables - Zucchini and carrot add moisture and structure to your meatballs. I recommend finely shredding your zucchini and carrot (using the small side of a box grater) for best results.
- Seasoning - Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning add flavor to your meatballs.
How to prevent dry meatballs
Ground turkey is a lean meat that can quickly go from moist to dry when overcooked in the oven. Here are a few of my favorite tips to help prevent dry meatballs:
- Do not omit ingredients - Each ingredient listed in the recipe serves a purpose. The egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, and shredded veggies all help add moisture and structure to the meatballs and should not be omitted.
- Do not overbake your meatballs - This is the number one reason why meatballs turn out dry. Bake your meatballs until they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center, then immediately remove from the oven.
- Use a meat thermometer - I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to test for doneness instead of relying on time alone.
- Meatballs turn out dry anyway? Add a sauce, like a pesto or marinara sauce. It will help cover up a slightly dry meatball.
Meatballs can be frozen, either raw or cooked, for up to three months in a tightly sealed container.
To freeze raw meatballs - Place one inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze the baking sheet for about 1-2 hours, or until meatballs are frozen. This ensures they don't stick together in the freezer. Transfer to to a plastic bag or container, seal tightly, and freeze.
To freeze cooked meatballs - Allow to cool completely to room temperature. Place one inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for about 1-2 hours, or until meatballs are frozen. Transfer to a plastic bag or container, seal tightly, and freeze.
Cooked meatballs can also be frozen in a prepared sauce, like a marinara sauce, to be thawed and reheated together.
What to serve with meatballs
Turkey veggie meatballs can be served on their own, with steamed rice and veggies, or in a sauce with pasta. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Pesto and pasta
- Marinara sauce and pasta
- Steamed rice and roasted veggies
- Mashed potatoes
- Buttered noodles
Turkey Veggie Meatballs
- 1 pound (453 g) ground turkey
- 1 cup (135 g) finely grated zucchini, liquid squeezed out after measuring
- ½ cup (60 g) finely grated carrot, liquid squeezed out after measuring
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (28 g) panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup (50 g) grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add ground turkey, shredded zucchini and carrot (with excess liquid squeezed out first), egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Mix until incorporated.
- Using a medium (1.5 tablespoon) cookie scoop, or your hands, form mixture into meatballs and place onto prepared baking sheet. Recipe should make about 28 meatballs of this size.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to prevent meatballs from drying out due to overcooking).
- Leftover turkey meatballs will keep for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Turkey meatballs (raw or cooked) can be frozen for 3 months in a tightly sealed freezer-safe container.