healthy meatballs

Healthy Meatballs with Hidden Vegetables

  • Author: Amy Palanjian
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 22
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: about 20 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


With the texture you expect from a traditional meatball, but added nutrition from three types of veggies, your whole family will love these.


  • 1/2 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat with nonstick spray. Place the carrots, parsley, and onion into a food processor. Grind well, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and grind to combine into a smooth mixture. Portion into 2-tablespoon size meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with warm marinara sauce and pasta (or ketchup and other simple sides!) as desired.


To store, let cool fully and store in an airtight container in the fridge or up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Grind the veggies up before you add the rest of the ingredients to make sure they are all uniform in size. This is key. You’re aiming for the veggies to have a similar consistency as the ground meat.

Resist the urge to add in more veggies. There is over a cup of veggies in this recipe, which is enough to add extra nutrients, yet you honestly can’t tell.

Serve them with a sauce your family likes, whether that’s marinara, meat sauce, or even ketchup.

Simmer them in marinara sauce for even more tender and flavorful meatballs.

Even though there are vegetables tucked into this recipe, I still recommend being honest with your kids about what they’re eating. Let them take a bite, be excited about their dinner, and then share the good news!

To make these gluten-free, simply use GF breadcrumbs (these are really good) or even cornmeal.

Serve them diced or mashed to younger toddlers and babies as needed.

Sub in ground turkey if desired.

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