Grating zucchini into turkey meatballs is a perfect way to keep the lean protein tender and juicy with the added bonus of sneaking in extra fiber.
Ground turkey breast is one of my favorite types of lean protein because it is literally a blank canvas just waiting to be transformed by my imagination. When cooking with ground turkey, I love discovering new and creative ways to incorporate extra flavor and moisture. If you fail to consider those two factors, you will end up with a dry and tasteless dish. The reason traditional Italian meatballs are so tasty is because they are made with three types of meat: ground veal, ground pork and ground beef. Why do these meats taste so good? One word: fat. And we all know that fat = flavor.
Don’t worry, Liz to the rescue.
Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
- 1 lb ground turkey breast
- 1/2 medium zucchini grated - squeeze out excess water with paper towel
- 2 tbs onion grated
- 1/4 c parsley chopped
- 2 tbs sundried tomatoes packed in oil finely chopped
- 1/4 c Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated pepper
Tomato Basil Sauce
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1/2 remaining zucchini chopped & optional
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional
- 58 oz whole peeled tomatoes each can should be around 24oz
- 1 c fresh basil loosely packed and finely sliced in
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat broiler to 500 degrees or High.
- Line broiler pan with foil and spray with non-fat cooking spray.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and shape into 20 balls.
- (Quick tip: score meat into 4 sections and form five balls in each section.)
- Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side and reserve.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and saute onion for 3 minutes adding a bit of salt and pepper to release juices.
- Add zucchini if using and continue to saute 3-4 minutes.
- Add red pepper flakes if using.
- When vegetables are tender, add crushed garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn garlic - it will ruin the dish and you will have to start over.
- Add both cans of whole peeled tomatoes and their juices.
- Using scissors, quickly chop the tomatoes in the pan. See how easy that was? No mess. :)
- Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
- Add the meatballs and half of the basil.
- Simmer for 20 minutes or as long as you have - the longer the better.
- Check for seasoning adding salt and pepper as needed.
- Garnish with extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil before serving.
Looking for more delicious and easy dinner ideas? I’ve got you covered! Head over to my Pinterest Board for recipes!