Vegetarian meatballs are made with grated zucchini, basil and Parmesan cheese for a really flavorful meatless meatball. They hold together beautifully and are baked to perfection in the oven for an easy meatless meal!
I’ve had tons of easy vegetarian recipes on the blog this month already.
Seriously delicious eats!
Today I’m sharing my go-to vegetarian meatballs that are made with grated zucchini.
They are crazy good. They get perfectly browned and cooked in the oven (yay for hands off!) and they hold together beautifully.
The zucchini melts right into the rest of the ingredients so you mainly just get a really flavorful, perfectly seasoned veggie meatball that will have you diving back in for more forkfuls.
And I should know, I’m a bit of a meatball fanatic. I also seem to have passed that on to my 8-year-old daughter, who can out eat me when it comes to meatballs! 😳
My easy baked turkey meatballs are the go-to in our house and I almost always have some on hand in the freezer.
But I am also a veggie lover through and through, so I’m so excited to be sharing these meatless meatballs with you today.
Cause I think you are going to be as obsessed as I am. Even my husband enjoys these and comments on how good they are. He’s not usually super stoked for my vegetarian versions of things, so that’s really saying something!
Side note: they go really well with a glass of rose wine. Or maybe it was just Friday afternoon and I needed an excuse to sip that glass while enjoying these meatballs for a late lunch after I photographed them.
I’ll never tell. 😉
Now, I’ve got some notes, tips and substitutions coming up below on how to make zucchini meatballs. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on vegetarian meatballs:
- You’ll want to finely grate the zucchini for this recipe. You can use the fine side of the grater or use a fine slicer in the food processor.
- Be sure to squeeze all the liquid out of the zucchini before you sauté it. (I grate mine onto a couple of paper towels and then use them to squeeze the grated zucchini in a ball over the sink to squeeze out the water.)
- Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray that with cooking spray so these meatballs don’t stick. They’ll still brown on the bottom, but this helps make clean up a breeze.
Also, I want to point out that these do use breadcrumbs, so they aren’t gluten-free. But I bet they’d work just fine with gluten-free breadcrumbs, if you want to try that.
OK, now that we’ve made them, let’s eat them up!
Serving ideas for vegetarian meatballs:
– Serve with spaghetti and marinara for a veggie version of the spaghetti classic.
– Use for meatball subs and sandwiches
– Cut in half and use for meatball pizzas
– Incorporate them into a meatball lasagna
– Use as a vegetarian protein on top of grain bowls or noodle bowls
– Serve as an appetizer for a party
So many ways to enjoy them!
You could definitely meal prep these, too, to have ready to go for the week since they reheat so well.
Also, these would be great to make and have on hand if you have a vegetarian member of the family. They can have their own meatballs at the ready when you make regular meatballs or a meat-based spaghetti sauce. 👍
Also, since this makes a lot — even more than my daughter and I can possibly cram in our mouths — I wanted to share some tips on how to store them.
Leftover vegetarian meatballs will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
And they hold up fabulously in the freezer, too.
Tips on how to freeze meatballs:
– I cook all of my meatballs before freezing, so they are ready to reheat and serve.
– Once the meatballs are cooked and cooled, you can place them in a freezer ziptop bag or a freezer-safe container.
– Label the bag and pop it in the freezer for 5-6 months.
– To defrost, it’s best to take the bag out of the freezer and let the meatballs thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
– Then you can reheat them on the stove or in the microwave and you’ll be ready to eat! 👍
Zucchini meatballs, totally the way to go. I hope you give them a try!
(If you do, tag me on Instagram. I always love to see what you are making!)
P.S. Stay tuned because I have another version of veggie meatballs coming up tomorrow.
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- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed of excess water (about 3 1/2 to 4 cups total, before squeezing to remove water)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or hard Italian cheese)
- Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and zucchini and season with the salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
- Sauté the zucchini mixture until the moisture is gone, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the zucchini mixture to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a fork until just combined.
- Form into small balls (about an inch in diameter) and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until the meatballs are lightly browned and firm.
- Serve hot and enjoy! (See notes below for serving ideas.)
You’ll want to finely grate the zucchini for this recipe. You can use the fine side of the grater or use a fine slicer in the food processor.
Be sure to squeeze all the liquid out of the zucchini before you sauté it. (I grate mine onto a couple of paper towels and then use them to squeeze the grated zucchini in a ball over the sink to squeeze out the water.)
Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray that with cooking spray so these meatballs don’t stick. They’ll still brown on the bottom, but this helps make clean up a breeze.
You can try using gluten-free breadcrumbs if you'd like these meatballs to be gluten-free.
Serving ideas for vegetarian meatballs:
- Serve with spaghetti and marinara for a veggie version of the spaghetti classic.
- Use for meatball subs and sandwiches
- Cut in half and use for meatball pizzas
- Incorporate them into a meatball lasagna
- Use as a vegetarian protein on top of grain bowls or noodle bowls
- Serve as an appetizer for a party
- Leftover vegetarian meatballs will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Cooked, cooled meatballs can also be kept in the freezer for 5-6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then heat in the microwave or on the stove with some sauce.
This recipe is adapted from Skinny Taste.
Serving Size:3 meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 479mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g