If you’re having trouble getting veggies into your little ones (or yourself), these sneaky zucchini meatballs are for you! Loaded with veggies, and 100% wholesome ingredients, these “meatballs” are just what your dinner menu needs.
Serve with whole grain pasta, or pasta of choice. Or serve them alongside some Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) or Sweet Potato Noodles to really amp up your veggie intake.
Meatballs are a classic Italian dish, and this veganized version will excite even your most traditional Italian grandmother.
Get ready to be impressed!
By the way, for even more impressive vegan dinner ideas, be sure to check out this collection when you’re done here. 😉
Why you’ll love these zucchini meatballs
- They’re made using tons of healthy ingredients like zucchini, carrots and chickpeas, but more on that below.
- Baked, not fried! To keep the healthy train going, these delicious bites are baked, rather than fried, with no oil required at all.
- All you need is 15 minutes of hands on time preparing these bad boys, then stick them in the oven.
- Kids LOVE these! That alone makes parents everywhere do a little happy dance.
What’s so “sneaky” about them?
As mentioned above, these zucchini meatballs have got a ton of healthy ingredients. Loaded with zucchini and carrot, providing vitamins and nutrients like Vitamin A, potassium, fiber, B6 and more!
Plus, the base is made using chickpeas (no one will know!) for a healthy dose of plant protein and iron.
As an added bonus, these “meatballs” are not only vegetarian but there’s no eggs or dairy so they are vegan friendly too. And since there’s no bread crumbs or flour used here, but wholesome oats instead, they’re even gluten free eater safe. (Just make sure to grab certified gluten free oats, if needed)
Lastly, there’s a fair bit of walnuts in here for additional protein and healthy fat!
You and your kiddos will not taste the chickpeas or veggies in here, I promise.
The predominant flavours in these zucchini meatballs are a delicious blend of Italian seasoning, and marinara sauce, if using.
Here’s what people are saying about these zucchini meatballs
- “My kids loved these! Thank you! Definitely adding this to the weekly rotation.” – Judy
- “Thank you! My kids and hubby loved these and asked when I’d be making them again.” – Sara
- “Delicious! We are slowly transitioning to more wfpb and this was perfect for dinner tonight! ‘Husband approved’, too! 🙂 Thank-you!” – Jill
Trust the reviews, you’ve got to try these!
How to make sneaky zucchini meatballs
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
To make this simple recipe, gather your base ingredients.
Shred the zucchini and carrots, and drain and rinse your can of chickpeas.
Add the shredded veggies, chickpeas, oats and nuts, plus your seasoning, lemon juice and tamari to the bowl of your food processor. (photo 1)
Process until combined, without over processing. Try leaving some chunkier pieces for the best meatball texture. (photo 2)
Then scoop balls of the batter and shape your zucchini meatballs. You should get 12 in total. Then bake them to golden perfection. (photo 3)
Once baked, serve your zucchini meatballs with your favourite pasta and marinara sauce, or make a meatball sub!
Garnish with fresh parsley or basil, and a sprinkling of vegan parmesan cheese if you’d like.
Now dig in! 🙂
How long do they keep?
Your zucchini meatballs will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Just reheat in the oven or toaster oven. Or break them up in a skillet with some pasta and marinara sauce to make a bolognese type dish.
You may freeze these raw or baked for up to 2 months.
To freeze raw, do so in a single layer until solid. Then place them in an airtight container separating the layers with parchment paper. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake when ready to cook them.
To freeze them after baking, make sure they are completely cooled down to room temperature and freeze in an air tight container. Thaw and reheat in the oven or toaster oven.
Can I make them nut free?
I’m happy to report that these delicious zucchini meatballs taste just as great using pumpkin seeds to replace the walnuts. So if you’re facing a nut allergy, be sure to swap for pepitas instead.
More veganized classic Italian dishes
- Vegan Penne Alla Vodka [Healthier Than Grandma&’s!]
- Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto
- Vegan Gnocchi made from scratch!
- Vegan Pasta e Fagioli
- Pasta Aglio e Olio (Pasta w/ Garlic & Oil)
- Seriously the BEST Vegan Lasagna
These “meatballs” are so so good! They’re moist and full of flavour, and loaded with healthy ingredients. They’re baked, and not fried. Plus, they’re oil free, vegan and gluten free. And if I haven’t already mentioned, they are darn delicious!!
If you tried this recipe, please let me know about it in the comments below. I always love hearing from you! Don’t forget to Subscribe to This Healthy Kitchen to be among the first to get my new recipes! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to see more delicious food and get all the latest updates.
- 1 cup shredded zucchini approx 1 small zucchini
- 1 cup shredded carrot approx 1 medium carrot
- 15 ounce can chickpeas drained & rinsed
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup quick cooking steel cut oats or rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce if not avoiding gluten
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice approx. half a large lemon
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until combined, but do not over process. Some chunkier pieces is totally fine.
- Divide the mixture into 12 balls and place on your prepared baking tray. Bake for 30-35 minutes until edges are golden brown and meatballs are firm to the touch. Then remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with your favourite pasta and marinara sauce.
These are fantastic! I also made a batch of smaller sized ones (24 instead of 12) and they were just as good. Perfect for appetizers too.
Thrilled you enjoyed Andrea. Thanks for the review. 🙂
This is the 4th time I have made this dish. Simple, easy and simply delicious. Thank you.
Thrilled you’re enjoying these, Janice.
Very dry and no flavor.
Sorry you didn’t enjoy them. Since there are more than 30 five-star reviews, I’m wondering, did you change the recipe at all? Sometimes even a small change will alter the results.
What could i use instead of nuts or pepitas. I follow Esselstyn program
I’m not sure, I haven’t tested these without the nuts or pepitas.
Loved these. No substitutions needed. Even my grown son likes them. Easy to make too! Thanks.
Can you freeze them before you cook them?
Thrilled you enjoyed these Stacy. Thanks for the review. 🙂
See our freezing directions under the heading “How long do they keep?”
These look great and taste good, but I’d add onion and more salt and pepper. The Parmesan helped and overall I will absolutely make these again!
Glad you enjoyed Thelma. 🙂
Omg, one of my favorite meatless foods. They are good hot with sauce and pasta or as an appetizer, dipped in sauce.
Thrilled to hear it Norma. Thanks so much for the review. 🙂
I am addicted to these. I am making them again today, my husband who is a meat eater loves them.
Thrilled to hear that Kathi! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review. 🙂
Mary Pat Allen
Made these tonight- they were yummy! My bf had them on spaghetti. I put mine in a tortilla with spinach vegan lemon pepper dressing. They were quick to make, too!
Thrilled you both enjoyed Mary. Thanks very much for taking the time to leave your feedback. 🙂