Zucchini Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

zucchini turkey meatballs

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These turkey meatballs skip the breadcrumbs and, instead, are made with fresh zucchini and pantry spices. They’re topped with an easy roasted red pepper sauce and served with broccoli cauliflower “rice”.



For the Meatballs (see note)

  • 8 ounces ground turkey
  • 4-ounce zucchini, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Sauce

  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen brand)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
  • 3 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Broccoli Cauliflower Rice (see note)

  • 4 ounces broccoli florets
  • 8 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Garnishes

  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh basil


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, garlic powder, onion, powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and egg together. To form the meatballs, scoop approximately 3 tablespoons (approximately 1 1/2 ounces) of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet. Place the meatballs in the skillet and brown them on one side. Carefully turn the meatballs using a spatula and brown on the other side. Keep rotating the meatballs until they are mostly browned all over. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and turn the heat off the pan while you make the sauce.
  3. Place the red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, and salt in a blender. Blend until the sauce is smooth. Transfer the sauce to the pan that you cooked the meatballs in. Turn the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Place the meatballs in the sauce, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer the meatballs, turning them once, while you make the broccoli cauliflower rice.
  4. Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Pulse the vegetables a few seconds at a time until they are broken down and resemble rice. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the veggie rice and stir to coat it with the oil. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook the veggie rice for three to four minutes, or just until it starts to turn tender.
  5. To serve, spoon the veggie rice onto a plate. Top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with the feta cheese and fresh basil.


Notes about the meatballs: Because there are no breadcrumbs in the meatballs they are pretty delicate. I used a thin spatula to turn them in the pan as they browned to keep them from falling apart as they cooked. If you want to skip the whole meatball-making part, you can cook the ground turkey with the zucchini and spices (omit the egg) to make a meat sauce. Brown the turkey first for a couple of minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients. Once the sauce is pureed just add it right to the pan with the cooked turkey and simmer it while you make the veggie rice. Notes about the veggie rice: If you don’t have a food processor look for cauliflower “rice” in the produce section. I haven’t seen broccoli rice at my store, so if you don’t want to finely chop broccoli just omit it and use the same amount of cauliflower rice in its place.