Another guest post another DELICIOUS kid-friendly recipe for you! Today’s hidden veggie meatballs recipe is brought to you by my friend Jen, mom, founder, and kitchen CEO at What My Kid Eats. Jen and I connected on Instagram and I instantly became a huge fan of her recipes—> I know you will too! Take it away Jen!
Hidden Veggie Meatballs are packed with healthy ingredients and make for a delicious lunch or dinner. Finger food, over pasta, or in a meatball sandwich, these meatballs are perfect for the whole family!
Before having kids, I always told myself I wasn’t going to be that kind of mom that hides vegetables in everything. I was convinced my children would love vegetables as is because I would start them young with lots of fresh healthy foods…and then I had children. Children who loved tasting all types of wholesome meals and healthy vegetables when they were babies. Children who then turned into finicky toddlers, full of spunk and personality, declaring once favorite vegetables as their arch nemesis. That brings us to the beginning of my hidden veggie journey!
I still serve vegetables whole in a variety of ways-steamed, roasted (aren’t all vegetables more delicious when roasted?), boiled, raw. Even if I know it won’t get eaten, I’m hoping they’ll at least try it, continue to be exposed to it, and eventually like it.
In the meantime, while I wait for the day my children are gleefully gnawing down raw vegetables like little bunnies, I will continue to hide veggies in as many foods as I can. While I do hide the veggies by blending them in, I make sure the ingredients are known to my kids. I was nervous at first that this would turn them off to the foods but have found it actually encourages them to try the veggies if they know they’ve had it before, in a different form.
One of my favorite ways to hide veggies is in these tasty hidden veggie meatballs. This recipe is quick and easy and I often make a batch while my kids are napping so they’re warm and ready for lunch, with extras leftover to freeze for quick lunch or dinner. I’ve also served these as a family dinner, with sauce and pasta or in a sandwich with marinara sauce and cheese. Sauce is a great way to take the veggie hiding to another level if you have a finicky eater that is turned off by the green color of these meatballs.
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 small zucchini
- ½ of a medium onion
- 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp Italian seasonings
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 400. Wash zucchini and chop off ends. Roughly chop (cut the zucchini a few times so it fits in a food processor). Peel and roughly chop onion.
- Place turkey, zucchini, ½ onion, spinach, garlic, egg, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper into the food processor. Blend until smooth and all veggies are incorporated. Add breadcrumbs and process until combined.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop heaping spoonfuls of meat mixture onto a sheet pan lined with a nonstick mat or tin foil. Lightly use fingers to form into round mounds. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Get your kids to eat their veggies and enjoy them too with these hidden veggie meatballs! Click To Tweet
These meatballs are super moist due to the vegetables hiding away in them so they won’t roll into nice little balls like your typical meatball but don’t be discouraged! Just scoop your meat mixture into heaps on a sheet pan and have faith that they’ll turn out well! The soft texture and perfect finger food size makes these a great food for babies practicing self feeding. I’m tempted to throw even more vegetables in this recipe…carrots, celery, mushrooms. The options are endless! I’d love to hear if anyone tries to get creative and add even more vegetables!
Jen Evans is a stay at home mom to a 1 and 2 year old who has become passionate about feeding her family healthy, fun to eat foods. She shares simple and wholesome toddler food ideas on Instagram @whatmykideats and on her blog WhatMyKidEats.com. When she’s not taking pictures of what her kids eat or chasing two energetic toddlers around, Jen loves playing board games with her husband and relaxing with a good TV show. Be sure to follow her for toddler meal inspiration and simple family friendly foods!