I’ve been cooking turkey for over a decade. It’s low in fat and rich in protein. But I admit it can be bland.
That’s why I was thrilled when I discovered turkey meatballs and zucchini spaghetti. This combination creates a mouthwatering fusion of flavors and textures.
I’ve experimented with various aromatic herbs and spices to find what compliments the zucchini spaghetti best.
Here’s my turkey meatballs with zucchini recipe so you can have a delicious and health-conscious dish.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Number of Servings: 4
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For zucchini spaghetti:
- 4 medium zucchinis
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup onion, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the turkey meatballs: turkey, onion mixture, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, minced garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and black pepper. Mix well until everything is evenly incorporated.
- Roll the mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each meatball.
- Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes or until they are cooked through and golden brown.
For the zucchini spaghetti:
- Make the zucchini spaghetti while the meatballs are baking. Use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to create thin, spaghetti-like strips from the zucchini.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté for about one minute until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Add the zucchini spaghetti to the skillet and toss them in the garlic-infused oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the zucchini softens slightly but remains al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s what to keep in mind when making healthy turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles:
- If you want low-carb cooked meatballs, use almond flour instead of breadcrumbs.
- Customize the seasoning. Add your favorite herbs and spices.
- Carefully cook zucchini noodles. You don’t want to overcook them, or they’ll become too watery. Cook until the noodles are just tender.
- If you don’t want to bake the meatballs, you can pan-fry them in a skillet with some olive oil.
- You can also steam or boil the zucchini noodles in a large bowl for a few minutes if you want a very soft texture.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The turkey is cooked when it reaches 165 degrees .
- Calories: 320kcal
- Total Carbs: 10g
- Protein: 23g
- Fat: 16g
- Fiber: 1g
What to Serve With Turkey Meatballs and Zucchini Noodles?
Serve turkey meatballs and zucchini noodles with:
- Marinara sauce - Has a rich and tangy flavor that pairs well with the savory meatballs and adds a burst of color to the dish.
- Pesto sauce - Serve the turkey meatballs with zucchini spaghetti drizzled with homemade or store-bought pesto sauce. The fresh basil and pine nut flavors enhance the dish’s flavor.
- Alfredo sauce - This is a great choice if you want a creamier dish. It’s made with Parmesan cheese, butter, and heavy cream that complements the turkey meatballs and contrasts nicely with the light zucchini noodles.
- Garlic butter sauce - Adds a burst of flavor to the zucchini spaghetti and nicely complements the seasoned turkey meatballs.
- Mixed greens salad - The fresh and crisp salad provides a nice contrast to the warm meatballs and zucchini spaghetti.
- Roasted vegetables - Such as broccoli, bell peppers, or asparagus, make excellent side dishes. The charred flavors of the roasted veggies complement the meatballs and zucchini noodles.
- Garlic bread or cauliflower breadsticks - They are perfect for sopping up any leftover sauce. Plus, cauliflower breadsticks are a low-carb option.
Which Ground Turkey to Buy for Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles?
Buy lean or extra lean ground turkey for turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles. This turkey has a low-fat content, so it’s a healthy option. For example, turkey labeled as lean has around 7% to 10% fat, while extra lean can have as little as 1% to 3% fat.
Also, look for turkey without any additives, fillers, or artificial flavors to ensure you get the healthiest meat possible.
Another thing to look for is antibiotic-free. This ensures the bird wasn’t treated with antibiotics during its growth.
If possible, choose organic, pasture-raised, or free-range turkey.
This means the bird had access to outside space and could forage naturally, which means more nutritious and better-tasting meat.
“Turkey is rich in protein and an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins. Skinless cuts have fewer calories and less fat than those with the skin on.”
- Sharon O'Brien for Healthline.com
Finally, you can choose both fresh and frozen turkey, whatever is more convenient for you. If you’re buying a frozen turkey, make sure there aren’t any crystals or freezer burn on the package.
This means the meat is bad quality, kept in unsanitary conditions, or the use-by date has expired.
Also Read: Recipe for Potato Meatballs
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Turkey Meatballs With Zucchini Noodles
Store turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure the dish has cooled to room temperature. You can store the meatballs and zucchini noodles together or separately.
They are safe to eat for up to three days when stored in the fridge.
You can also freeze the leftovers together or separately. If freezing separately, place the cooled meatballs in different containers.
If freezing together, place the meatballs on top of the spaghetti noodles in one container.
Cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Label the containers with the date of freezing and the dish name.
The dish will keep its quality in the freezer for up to three months.
You can reheat the turkey meatballs and zucchini spaghetti in the microwave. Heat on medium heat for one to two minutes. Make sure to stir. Continue heating in short intervals until the dish is cooked all the way through.
Another option is to reheat on the stovetop. Use a warm skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Spray the skillet with a nonstick spray to prevent sticking. Heat until the dish is warmed through.
If you’ve frozen the meatballs and noodles separately, thaw them overnight in the fridge.
When they are thawed, heat them separately in the microwave or stovetop, as described above. Once everything is heated, combine and serve immediately.
Note: Make sure not to overheat the zucchini spaghetti, as it can turn dry and mushy. Or, add some sauce or broth to retain moisture.
Can I Use Ground Chicken Instead of Ground Turkey for the Meatballs?
Yes, you can use ground chicken instead of ground turkey for the meatballs. You’ll get similar results as with turkey.
Can I Freeze Raw Meatballs for Later Use?
Yes, you can freeze raw meatballs for later use. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the meatballs to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, separating the layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Can I Use Another Vegetable for the Zucchini Spaghetti?
Yes, you can use another vegetable for zucchini spaghetti. Try using spiralized carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or even spaghetti squash. Keep in mind that different vegetables may have varying cooking times, so adjust the cooking process accordingly to achieve the desired texture.
Key Takeaways for a Delicious Meal
Make the meatballs and zucchini spaghetti by following the recipe above.
This is a great recipe for meal prep, as you can make the ingredients in advance and cook when you have time.
Also, it’s extremely healthy. Turkey is full of protein, and zucchini has vitamins and antioxidants.
Make sure to buy quality meat to get the most nutrition and health benefits. We’ve tried and tested countless meat deliveries to create a round-up of the best organic meat delivery services.
Each of these grows birds without any hormones or additives. Plus, the birds are allowed to roam and forage, which ensures the meat is full of nutrients.
Check them out, and choose the best delivery service for you.