Have you ever had turkey zucchini meatballs? They are wonderful because they are easy to make, delicious to eat, and low in fat, calories, and carbs. They are kid-friendly which means it’s a good way to get your kids to eat veggies.
Why should you eat baked turkey zucchini meatballs? If you are anything like me, being half Italian, my favorite meal has always been spaghetti and meatballs. I love it so much that I could eat it every day and never get tired of it at all. So when I was forced to change my diet and eat low carb foods I had to find another meal that would make me think I was eating something just as good.
There’s nothing wrong with eating beef meatballs, I still eat them often, but I will show you how good turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs are, and when you add zucchini it’s just an added plus in order to get some veggies in our meal.
What are Turkey Zucchini Meatballs?
Turkey zucchini meatballs are the same thing as beef meatballs but using turkey instead of beef. The ingredients are pretty standard but can also vary a little depending on your likes. We have a few standard ingredients that we like to use.
Zucchini is a large part of these turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs. The zucchini is shredded and the water squeezed out of it and mixed into the turkey, along with some eggs and seasonings which makes moist, yummy meatballs without all of the breadcrumbs that would otherwise make them dry.
Are Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs Healthy?
For sure, turkey zucchini meatballs in the oven are healthy. You can’t go wrong with any of the ingredients that make up this recipe.
Ground turkey is high in protein and lower in fat than ground beef. Zucchini is without a doubt a healthy vegetable, with vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and low in carbs.
Our turkey zucchini meatballs without breadcrumbs are also only 0.3 NET Carbs each!
Anytime that you bake something instead of frying something it’s always healthier. Baking requires little to no oil which means fewer calories consumed and also helps you avoid harmful carcinogens.
So all in all you can rest assured that our baked turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs recipe is a winner and you can indulge guilt-free.
What Ingredients are in Turkey Zucchini Meatballs?
Ground Turkey – Turkey meat which is ground up and low in calories and fat.
Zucchini – Green squash which is low in calories and carbs and high in vitamins.
Eggs – These help to bind the meatballs together.
Salt – A common everyday spice that enhances the flavors of foods.
Pepper – Black, which is the most common type of pepper.
Garlic – A very flavorful spice that is common in a lot of foods, especially Italian.
Italian Seasoning – This spice is a blend of several spices and is common in…yeah you guessed it…Italian foods.
Scallions – Also known as green onions, these have a mild onion flavor and also add color to your recipes.
Parsley – A common green seasoning, in this recipe add a lot of color. Use it as a garnish on top of the turkey zucchini meatballs when you are ready to serve them.
Can I Substitute the Eggs?
There are several reasons why you may want to find a substitute for eggs, from allergies to dietary preferences.
You might be a little surprised at but you will be glad to learn there are a lot of egg substitutes in these turkey zucchini meatballs.
First of all if you are looking to replace just the yolks, sometimes you can just use the egg whites instead.
Applesauce – If you are baking, sometimes applesauce can be used to replace eggs.
Banana – The same is true with mashed banana.
Avocado – Ripe and mashed.
Chia seeds – Mixed with water they expand. They take on a slight nutty flavor.
Egg replacements – Made from potato starch, and tapioca starch.
Tofu – Can also be used in baked goods.
Vinegar and baking soda – Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar will work best.
Yogurt – Plain.
Arrowroot Powder – From plants and sold as a powder.
Carbonated Water – It adds moisture to recipes and can be used in cakes, cupcakes…etc
Gelatin – Not the sugary, flavored kind, but instead the unflavored kind.
There may be others…
Can I Use Breadcrumbs?
If you are looking to make low carb meatballs, then you certainly do not want to add regular wheat breadcrumbs to the turkey meatballs.
If you want to use anything that resembles breadcrumbs you can use almondflour or crushedporkrinds as fillers.
You will find that even though you may be used to putting breadcrumbs in your meatballs, you won’t even miss them in these turkey meatballs. The eggs will do a nice job of holding them together.
You may be a person that does not like ground turkey or you may go to the store and they may not have ground turkey so we need to find some replacements so that you can still make meatballs that go well with zucchini. Here are some suggestions:
Ground Beef – Any percent fat will work.
Ground Pork – They grind up pork like they do with turkey.
Ground Chicken – This is a little lighter than turkey and it’s usually made from white meat.
Meatloaf Mix – A blend of 3 types of meat: beef, veal and pork.
Ground chicken is similar to ground turkey. I find that the taste is not as strong as turkey. For that reason, some people like it for its milder taste. On the other hand some people don’t choose to use it because they are looking for more flavor so they will go with the turkey.
I’ve been raised eating beef meatballs but these turkey zucchini meatballs or any of the other variations make a welcome change once in a while, and sometimes I have served them and my family and friends don’t even notice any difference once you put tomato sauce on them.
Instead of Zucchini
If you don’t have regular green zucchini, here are some alternatives:
Yellow squash can also be used instead.
Scallions or Onions
Out of these we like yellow squash the best, but you can replace the zucchini with almost any other vegetable that you like.
How to Make Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
To have success in making baked turkey zucchini meatballs I will show you step by step our instructions.
Shredding the Zucchini
The first thing to do after washing and drying off the zucchini is to shred it.
1. Cut off the ends and then use a box grater and with one hand hold onto the grater and the other hand on the squash. Run it up and down until all of it has been shredded.
2. You need to use some cheesecloth, paper towels, or coffee filters to squeeze the water out of the squash. Take a small amount of shredded zucchini at one time and place it in the cloth and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze…
Once you have all the water out, then squeeze it one more time to make sure that it’s as dry as possible.
Putting the Meatballs Together
3. Now put the ground turkey in a big bowl.
4. Add the shredded zucchini to the bowl.
5. Next add the eggs, spices…salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. The last ingredients to add are the scallions and parsley.
6. Mix all of the ingredients together but do not overmix or else the meatballs will become rubbery.
7. Use an ice cream scoop to semi-form the meatballs and place them on the cookie sheet.
TIP: Use aluminum foil or parchment paper for an easy clean-up.
What Temperature to Cook Turkey Zucchini Meatballs?
10. To cook your turkey zucchini meatballs, place them on a baking tray and bake them at 400degrees for about 20 minutes.
Tip – If they are not cooking evenly then flip them over halfway through cooking.
How to Tell When they are Cooked?
When you bake your turkey zucchini meatballs they should cook for approximately 20 minutes. In order to tell if they are cooked, they should be evenly brown on all sides.
If you are going to transfer the baked turkey zucchini meatballs into sauce and continue to simmer them, then you don’t have to worry so much that they are thoroughly cooked because they will continue to cook.
Alternative Cooking Methods
Even though we baked the turkey zucchini meatballs, baking is not the only method to cook your turkey zucchini meatballs. Here are a couple more methods that you can try:
Frying meatballs was always the way I made meatballs for most of my life. Then the low fat craze came in and everyone was so concerned about eating any fat. That’s when I stopped frying my meatballs and baked them instead. These days I do both.
Follow our above instructions on “Shredding the Zucchini” and “Putting the Meatballs Together.”
When I fry turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs I use olive oil. Pour enough olive oil into a non-stick frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan.
Turn the stove on medium-high and heat the oil for about 1 minute.
Put the turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs one at a time into the hot oil, spacing them apart from each other so that they are not touching each other.
You may have to turn them over half-way through the frying process to ensure that all sides are evenly cooked.
When they are done frying on all sides place them on paper towels to absorb the grease.
After you’ve followed our above instructions on “Shredding the Zucchini” and “Putting the Meatballs Together,” you are now ready to cook them in an instant pot.
First, press the sauté button.
Use about 2 tbsp of olive or avocado oil around the edges of the pot.
When the oil is hot brown the meatballs on both sides in a single layer so that they don’t touch each other while cooking. Brown them 1-2 minutes until they get golden brown.
Take them out of the pot.
Add the sauce and then put the meatballs back in the instant pot. Cover with the lid.
Make sure the venting knob is turned to sealing.
When it’s done, naturally release the pressure for about 5 minutes Next change the knob to the venting position and release the steam. When the steam is fully released then you can open the pot.
Handle the turkey zucchini meatballs lightly. Do not overmix the meat and do not pack the meatballs tightly or else they will become rubbery or tough.
Try to make the turkey zucchini meatballs uniform in size so that they will cook evenly.
You can use an ice cream scoop to place the turkey zucchini meatballs on the baking sheet.
If you like spicy food, then add a few shakes of hot pepper flakes to the mixture.
So that turkey meatballs in the oven don’t fall apart during the cooking process, make sure to brown them on all sides.
The recipe calls for fresh parsley and fresh garlic, but if you don’t have these ingredients at home feel free to use driedparsley and choppedgarlic in a jar, or even garlicpowder. They will still add some of the needed flavor.
If you can make homemade sauce rather than using jar sauce it will make the whole dish taste better obviously.
Diets This Recipe is Good For
Gluten-free – Usually meatballs have gluten in them, but these turkey zucchini meatballs are made with no breadcrumbs, therefore gluten-free.
Nut-free – Absolutely no nuts or nut flour in these turkey meatballs.
Dairy-free – No dairy products in this simple meatball recipe.
Paleo – Happily this is a good recipe that has everything in these meatballs to fit into a Paleo diet too.
What to Serve with Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
It’s easy to find different foods that pair up with turkey zucchini meatballs in the oven. The ways are endless..
With salad or on top of a salad.
With zucchini noodles, you can make a version of low carb spaghetti and meatballs.
Make mini-sized meatballs and cook them in chicken broth, add a few chopped veggies…now you have some pretty tasty, easy to make, winter soup.
Of course, when you think of meatballs your mind automatically goes to tomato sauce (with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top)…after all they go hand in hand. I always make my homemade sauce, and then I put it in small containers and freeze it.
You can always use any other sauces of your choice. Of course anything you use should be low carb to match up with your low carb turkey zucchini meatballs.
Turkey zucchini meatballs are one of those foods that you can definitely make ahead in a large batch, and use at other times.
If the ground turkey is on sale then stock up and fill your freezer.
The same with the zucchini, if there is a sale in the store then it’s one of those things that you can buy in bulk. In the summer if you have a garden, or your friend has a garden, take advantage of it and take all of the zucchini that you can get your hands on. Shred it all up, make yourself a big batch of turkey meatballs and freeze them for future meals.
You can make up the turkey zucchini meatball mixture and freeze them raw, or cook them up and then freeze them. Either way, it will be some low carb premade food that will be a quick meal for you and save you time when it matters the most.
How to Store
Once you make your turkey zucchini meatballs and you have leftovers, just put them in a plastic container with an air-tight lid and store them in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
If you don’t eat them all just pop them into the freezer for another meal.
How to Reheat Turkey Meatballs
I find that the easiest way to reheat your baked turkey zucchini meatballs is to throw them in some sauce and heat them up on the stove in a saucepan. Heat them on medium for about 5 minutes. They will stay moist that way.
If they are already in sauce another way that is quick to heat them up is in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Can You Freeze Turkey Zucchini Meatballs?
It’s always nice when we can make some foods and then freeze them and freezing turkey zucchini meatballs is really easy! Here are some benefits:
Can enjoy the yummy food that you made again. Leftovers are yummy.
It’s especially helpful when you come home from work and need to make something easy and quick…
What’s nice about these turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs is that you can either freeze them before they are cooked or after they are cooked…the best of both worlds!
To eat them later, just take them out of the freezer and put them in the saucepan on the stove with some sauce on medium heat and in 15 minutes you have your meal. Make a quick vegetable or salad and you are all set.
More Zucchini Recipes
If you’re in the mood for some other Zucchini Recipes then try our:
These baked turkey zucchini meatballs are easy to make, delicious to eat, and low in fat, calories, and carbs. They are kid-friendly and are a good way to get your kids to eat their veggies.
2 pounds of Ground Turkey
2 cups shredded Zucchini
2 Jumbo Eggs or 3 large Eggs
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp raw Garlic
½ cup Scallions
Shredding the Zucchini
The first thing to do after washing and drying the zucchini is to shred it. Cut off the ends. Then, using a box grater, with one hand hold onto the grater and place the other hand on the squash. Run it up and down until all of it has been shredded.
You then need to take some cheesecloth, paper towels, or coffee filters to squeeze the water out of the squash. Take a small amount of shredded zucchini at one time and place it in the cloth and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze…..once you have all of the water out of it, then squeeze it one more time to make sure that it’s as dry as possible.
Putting together the Meatballs
Now you need to put the turkey in a large bowl.
Add the shredded zucchini to the bowl.
Next step is to add the eggs.
Now add all of the spices….salt, pepper, garlic, italian seasoning.
Then the last ingredients to add are the scallions.
Mix all of the ingredients together but do not overmix or else the turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs will become tough or rubbery.
Use an ice cream scoop to semi form the baked turkey zucchini meatballs and place them on the cookie sheet.
Place the tray in the oven and bake the turkey zucchini meatballs in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. If they are not cooking evenly then flip them over halfway during the process.
In order to tell if the baked turkey zucchini meatballs are cooked, they should be evenly brown on all sides.
If you are going to transfer them into sauce and continue to simmer them, then you don’t have to worry too much if they are cooked thoroughly because they will continue to cook in the sauce.
0.3 NET Carbs Per Meatball
Handle the turkey zucchini meatballs lightly. Do not overmix the meat and do not pack the meatballs tightly or else they will become tough or rubbery.
Try to make the turkey zucchini meatballs uniform in size so that they will cook evenly.
You can use an ice cream scoop to place the meatballs on the baking sheet.
If you like spicy foods then add a few shakes of hot pepper flakes to the mixture.
So that the turkey zucchini meatballs don’t fall apart during the cooking process, make sure to brown them on all sides.
The recipe calls for fresh parsley and fresh garlic, but if you don’t have these ingredients at home then feel free to use dried parsley and chopped garlic in a jar or even garlic powder. They will still add some of the needed flavor.
If the meatballs are not cooking evenly then flip them over halfway during the baking process.
If you’re going to transfer them into sauce then you don’t have to worry if they are completely cooked because they will continue to cook in the sauce.
Homemade sauce is always better than jar sauce, if you can make it.
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