I love to cook but there are some days after a long work day that I want nothing more than to just relax and not have to make dinner. Sometimes I can convince the hubs to go out to dinner or to just order in and eat on the couch while binge watching Netflix. Other times, we can get by on leftovers or (my personal favorite) “Fend For Yourself” nights (gives me the perfect excuse to eat scrambled eggs or cereal for dinner and he can eat things that I will never ever make/eat….looking at you tuna).
We all have our go to weekly staples and I want to share one of my favorites. I discovered this while I was on the Fast Metabolism Diet (phase 3). It seems that when you’re trying to eat healthy (like most of us try to do, especially on week days), finding a recipe that doesn’t require a ton of expensive ingredients, doesn’t take a lot of prep and actually tastes good is impossible…but I am here to prove that misconception wrong. Allow me to introduce Turkey Zucchini Meatballs. Who says spaghetti and meatballs can’t be healthy?!
For an added bonus, you can easily double the recipe and freeze a batch so those days you REALLY don’t want to cook, you can just reheat them and no effort is required. Also works great if you’re out of town and your husband and/or kids are at home and would only eat pizza/burgers/steaks while you’re gone so they can still get some sustenance and eat their veggies.
This recipe is gluten, diary and sugar free (but if you want to substitute those gluten free or sprouted grain breadcrumbs for regular breadcrumbs or add in some Parmesan cheese I certainly won’t stop you! I’ve made it both ways and either way its yummy.).
For this meal you need 1 pound of ground turkey, 1 zucchini, 1/3 cup sprouted grain breadcrumbs, 1 large egg, 1/2 cup diced onions, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.
You can buy sprouted grain breadcrumbs or you can easily make them yourself. I have been able to easily find sprouted grain bread in Publix and Walmart but so far have been unable to find breadcrumbs anywhere but online. If you go the route of making your own breadcrumbs, Ezekiel bread is my favorite and is found in the frozen bread section. Take 5 slices and put in a food processor or strong blender, and process/blend until you have very fine crumbs. Pour crumbs into a bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss well to coat, spread on a baking sheet and then bake for 10-12 minutes at 375°, making sure to stir a couple times while the breadcrumbs are baking. You want to bake them until they are golden and crisp.
If you don’t fancy the sprouted grain breadcrumbs but still eat gluten free, you can substitute for gluten-free breadcrumbs you can find at pretty much any grocery store.
Alternatively, if you just don’t care or don’t have the above on hand, regular breadcrumbs also work just fine.
Grate 1 cup of zucchini and combine that, the ground turkey, egg, diced onion, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix together.
Once thoroughly combined, roll them into balls and place on a baking sheet. Pro tip: you can use a cookie dough scooper to get perfectly proportioned and symmetrical meatballs and to keep your hands from getting dirty. This recipe yields between 18-24 meatballs.
Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes, until the turkey is browned and no longer pink in the center
You can serve it with pasta sauce (I recommend the kinds with no added sugar) and I’ve served it as a main entree as well as over pasta. If you’re gluten/sugar free I recommend trying brown rice pasta and I’ve also served with whole wheat pasta. Can also serve over “zoodles” or spaghetti squash for even more veggies. You can’t go wrong!
For anyone not dairy free and for who loves cheese as much as me, you can sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top, because what is spaghetti and meatballs without cheese?
Turkey Zucchini Meatballs 1 pound ground turkey 1 cup grated zucchini 1 large egg 1/3 sprouted grain breadcrumbs* 1/2 cup diced onion 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste 1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and mix thoroughly 2. Roll into meatballs, roughly the size of golf balls. Pro tip: use a cookie dough scooper to do this 3. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes, until the turkey is browned and no longer pink in the center 4. Serve with pasta sauce and/or over brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Can also serve over "zoodles" or spaghetti squash *sprouted grain breadcrumbs can be substituted for gluten free or regular breadcrumbs