Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

About recipe

These meatballs have a secret—they’re half veggie, half turkey. The grated zucchini gives the turkey a lot of moisture, and the meatballs hold together without eggs. Feel free to use grated yellow summer squash instead of zucchini. Serve with the suggested salad below, or toast whole wheat pita on the free rack in the oven while the meatballs cook. 

Ingredients (serves 4)


  • 1 large zucchini 
  • 1/2 shallot or small red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 pound ground turkey 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, parsley, or dill (optional) 
  • Non-stick cooking spray 

Optional chickpea, cucumber, and feta side salad: 

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) 
  • 1/2 shallot or small red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced 
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, parsley, or dill (optional) 


Make the meatballs: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Working over a large bowl, using the large holes of a box grater, grate the zucchini. To the bowl with the zucchini, add the shallot, panko, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt. Use your hands and toss gently to combine. Add the ground turkey and herbs, and toss again to combine all the ingredients. 
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet or spray with non-stick cooking spray. With wet hands, form the turkey mixture into 16 meatballs (around 2-3 tablespoons each) and place them on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove meatballs from oven, flip over, and bake until they are cooked through, another 15-20 minutes (internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F). 
  5. Serve alongside the chickpea, cucumber, and feta salad, with toasted pita bread, or with a cooked whole grain of your choice. 

Assemble the salad: 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. 
  3. Serve alongside the meatballs.
Subscribe for news