Dinner/ meat

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

21 December 2021 By Aleksandra

These delicious turkey meatballs are tender, flavorful, and thanks to zucchini – juicy and not dry. They are pan-fried then simmered in a simple tomato sauce. You’ll love these light and juicy turkey meatballs!

Turkey zucchini meatballs with tomato sauce and spaghetti on a beige plate.
Labeled ingredients for Spätzle.

Ingredients

Labeled ingredients for turkey zucchini meatballs.

Here’s what you need to make these delicious meatballs:

  • ground turkey – any kind, white or dark meat, you can also use ground chicken or beef
  • sauteed onions and garlic – they really taste better with fresh onion and garlic in comparison to garlic and onion powder (huge difference in flavor)
  • dried basil – you can also use fresh basil which would be more aromatic or Italian seasoning
  • zucchini – makes the meatballs more moist and makes them more healthy!
  • egg, milk and breadcrumbs – bind the meat mixture
  • parmesan – adds so much flavor

For the tomato sauce (this recipe is based on my simple marinara sauce) – you can also use store-bought if you don’t want to make your own!

  • crushed tomatoes – use the best you can find
  • sauteed onions and garlic
  • leftover shredded zucchini – to use up the whole zucchini

Pasta – I used spaghetti but you can use any pasta, for example, penne. Instead of pasta, you could make zoodles (zucchini noodles).

Step by step instructions

Sauteed onions and garlic in a pan. All the ingredients for the meat mixture in a white bowl.

STEP 1: Cut the onion into cubes and press the garlic through a garlic press.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium/large frying pan over medium-low heat.

When hot, add the onion, cook for about 5 minutes with a pinch of salt or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.

STEP 2: Make the meatball mixture: Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, squeeze out the excess moisture and measure out 1 cup (or 140g) of shredded zucchini (reserve the remaining zucchini for the sauce).

Add 1/2 of the sauteed onions with garlic into a large bowl (reserve the rest for the sauce). Add ground turkey, breadcrumb-milk mixture, egg, 1 cup of shredded zucchini, grated parmesan, dried basil, season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Raw meatballs on a white plate. Meatballs are being pan-fried in a pan.

STEP 3: Knead the mixture for 2-3 minutes or until well-combined – you should start to see that it becomes more elastic. The mixture will be rather loose and sticky but after kneading, the meatballs should hold their shape.

TIP: If the meatballs are not holding their shape (the zucchini was probably not squeezed enough), you can add more breadcrumbs to the mixture.

Shape the meatballs: shape 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) meatballs from the mixture. You should get about 24 meatballs. Place them on a plate.

STEP 4: Heat frying oil in a medium/large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan making sure they’re not overcrowded (I pan-fried them in two batches). Cook them until browned on all sides and almost cooked-through in the middle. Transfer them on a plate.

TIP: Alternatively, you can bake the meatballs at 400°F (200°C) for about 15 minutes. I like to underbake them a little them simmer them in the sauce until done. Pan-fried meatballs will taste better thanks to browning them.

Ingredients for the tomato sauce in a pan. Meatballs are being cooked in tomato sauce in a pan.

STEP 5: Add the remaining onions and garlic to the pan along with crushed tomatoes, remaining shredded zucchini and balsamic vinegar.

Cook the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. I also like to mix it with a hand blender but this is optional.

STEP 6: Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer them for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve the meatballs with the sauce and cooked pasta. Sprinkle with more parmesan and chopped basil/parsley.

Enjoy!

Storage

These meatballs reheat very well. Keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days them reheat with the sauce in a pan. I would recommend to keep the sauce and pasta separately to avoid mushy/too soft pasta. They can also be frozen.

Cut in half meatball stuck on a fork. Turkey meatballs with tomato sauce and spaghetti on a beige plate.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

These delicious turkey meatballs are tender, flavorful, and thanks to zucchini – juicy and not dry. They are pan-fried then simmered in a simple tomato sauce. You’ll love these light and juicy turkey meatballs!
Pin This Recipe! SAVE THIS RECIPE
Turkey zucchini meatballs with tomato sauce and spaghetti on a beige plate.
Print Recipe

RATE THE RECIPE

(click on the stars)

No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 1115kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion or 2 medium
  • 6 cloves garlic don't worry, only half goes to the meatballs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 lb (450g) ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs 40g
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan 45g
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt or to your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 2 (14 oz/400ml) cans crushed tomatoes or 1 jar tomato passata
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 12 ounces spaghetti 340g

Instructions

  • Cut the onion into cubes and press the garlic through a garlic press.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium/large frying pan over medium-low heat.
  • When hot, add the onion, cook for about 5 minutes with a pinch of salt or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.
  • Make the meatball mixture: Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, squeeze out the excess moisture and measure out 1 cup (or 140g) of shredded zucchini (reserve the remaining zucchini for the sauce).
  • Add 1/2 of the sauteed onions with garlic into a large bowl (reserve the rest for the sauce). Add ground turkey, breadcrumb-milk mixture, egg, 1 cup of shredded zucchini, grated parmesan, dried basil, season the mixture with salt and pepper. Knead the mixture for 2-3 minutes or until well-combined – you should start to see that it becomes more elastic. The mixture will be rather loose and sticky but after kneading, the meatballs should hold their shape.
  • Shape the meatballs: shape 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) meatballs from the mixture. You should get about 24 meatballs. Place them on a plate.
  • Heat frying oil in a medium/large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan making sure they’re not overcrowded (I pan-fried them in two batches). Cook them until browned on all sides and almost cooked-through in the middle. Transfer them on a plate.
  • Add the remaining onions and garlic to the pan along with crushed tomatoes, remaining shredded zucchini and balsamic vinegar.
  • Cook the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. I also like to mix it with a hand blender but this is optional.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer them for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Serve the meatballs with the sauce and cooked pasta. Sprinkle with more parmesan and chopped basil/parsley.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Alternatively, you can bake the meatballs at 400°F (200°C) for about 15 minutes. I like to underbake them a little then simmer them in the sauce until done. Pan-fried meatballs will taste better thanks to browning them.
  • You can also use store-bought marinara sauce if you don’t want to make your own.
  • If the meatballs are not holding their shape (the zucchini was probably not squeezed enough), you can add more breadcrumbs to the mixture.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Tried this Recipe? Rate the Recipe and tell us what you think in the Comments!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




The maximum upload file size: 1 MB. You can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here