Hidden Veggie Meatballs

Hiding veggies seems to be one of those hot button parenting issues. Do you hide veggies to ensure your little ones are getting the appropriate daily amount of vegetables (1 cup of veggies for kids age 2-3 years old, according to the USDA)? Or do you only serve vegetables whole and hope to encourage a love for healthy foods?

I’m on the fence. I prefer the best of both worlds. I regularly serve my children whole vegetables, raw and cooked in a variety of ways. I also add veggies (hidden or not) wherever I can. Why not boost the nutrition-and often the flavor-of our everyday favorite foods?

This is how these Hidden Veggie Meatballs were born. Every time I made meatballs, I would add more and more veggies until we ended up with these green goodies.

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I often make these for lunch. They’re quick and freeze well. I like to freeze them in small baggies or parchment packs with 3 meatballs per bag (about how many each of my kids eats in one serving). I’ve made these big and small, omitted some of the veggies when I don’t have them and added other veggies when I need to get rid of them.

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Due to the high vegetable count in these meatballs, they will be very moist before they’re cooked. You won’t be able to roll these in your hands as you would with regular meatballs but have faith! They will firm up in the oven, remaining moist and light, not dense like some meatballs….perfect for little mouths!

I’ve recently been using quinoa flakes in a lot of my cooking because it ups the protein, adds healthy amino acids and many other nutrients. If you don’t have quinoa flakes, breadcrumbs work just as well.

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My kids love these meatballs fresh from the oven, just eaten plain as the main course of lunch or dinner but we have also enjoyed them as meatball subs, even chopped up with eggs for breakfast!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know in the comments below and also let me know your stance on hiding veggies for kids!

Hidden Veggie Meatballs

  • Servings: 20 meatballs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: Jennifer Evans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 small zucchini
  • ½ of a medium onion
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup quinoa flakes (can substitute bread crumbs)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp Italian Seasonings

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Wash zucchini and chop off ends. Roughly chop zucchini (so it fits in the food processor). Peel and cut onion into large chunks onion.
  2. Place turkey, zucchini, ½ onion, spinach, garlic, egg, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings, salt, pepper into the food processor. Blend until smooth and all veggies are incorporated. Add quinoa flakes and pulse until combined.
  3. Use a tablespoon to scoop heaping spoonfuls of meat mixture onto a sheet pan lined with a nonstick mat or parchment paper. Lightly use fingers to form into round mounds. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and firm.

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