Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

in Dinner

Zucchini Noodles and Turkey Meatballs // www.acozykitchen.com

Welcome to the meal I’ve been eating almost every single day for the last few weeks. I’m obsessed with zucchini noodles. Mainly because there’s nothing I love more than normal Spagehtti and Meatballs, but since I’m trying to cut back on flour, this is sufficing…for now.

There are plenty of zucchini noodles around the web; this is my version, which I’m strangely excited to share.

Let’s start with how to make zucchini noodles. For this post, I used a Spiralizer. I borrowed it from a friend of mine because I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to a new kitchen gadget (between the waffle maker and ice cream maker and the damn pasta maker attachment, I feel like I have too many); I’m currently still gauging if I actually want to buy one myself. If you don’t want to buy one, you can use a mandolin, though be careful because they can be a bit dangerous, or you can use a julienne vegetable peeler. The Spiralizer is the only kitchen tool that will make noodles that are spirally and beautiful, like these:


I mean, I can just stare at them all day long. Am I the only one obsessed with how pretty they are?!

Zucchini Noodles and Turkey Meatballs // www.acozykitchen.com

The meatballs I usually make consist of pork and beef and tons of parmesan and bread crumbs and even a bit of milk. They’re heavenly. These healthy things aren’t gluten-free or paleo or anything like that because seriously I’m eating noodles made of vegetables so let me live! I added a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and a teeny bit of bread crumbs because the world isn’t going to crumble if I do.

I also used dark meat because white turkey meat tastes like cardboard and I ain’t got time for that. I just don’t.

Zucchini Noodles and Turkey Meatballs // www.acozykitchen.com

Nothing will ever taste as delicious as flour pasta to me, but I really do love these. And I love how I feel after I eat a plate of them. I feel full, light and springy. It’s a good dose of healthy meets comfort, which I’m all about these days.

The one caveat of zucchini noodles is the water that the zucchini releases when it cooks. In the past, when I’ve baked with zucchini I’ve just added a bit of salt and then wronged them out, but I don’t like this method when cooking. I like my zucchini noodles to be a bit crunchy. To solve this issue, I usually just either deal with the water situation OR lightly pan fry them in another skillet.

And then there are evenings where I don’t have time to make my own pasta sauce. My favorite store-bought brand is Cucina Antica. I usually flavor it up with spices and red pepper flakes.

Zucchini Noodles and Turkey Meatballs // www.acozykitchen.com

Zucchini Noodles and Turkey Meatballs // www.acozykitchen.com

Other good resources for Spiralizer-type things:

Ali’s blog, Inspiralized (she makes vegetable “rice”!! How amazing and smart is that?!), is an awesome source for inspiration.

I love Nom Nom Paleo. I usually go on there and get a bunch of ideas and then sort of make my own stuff.

Skinny Taste does a pretty good-looking Asian version.

And I love Love and Lemons and all their healthy vegetable noodle dishes.

Zucchini Noodles and Turkey Meatballs // www.acozykitchen.com

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

Print this recipe!

Healthy-ish Turkey Meatballs:
1 pound dark ground turkey
2 tablespoons dried fine bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Classic Tomato Sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves
2-3 sage leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can of good quality tomatoes like San Marzano
1 parmesan rind (optional)

4 medium zucchinis, ends trimmed and either spiralized or julienned

1. To a large bowl, add the ground turkey, dried bread crumbs, parmesan, egg and salt.

2. In a medium sauté pan, placed over medium heat, pour in a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the diced onion to the oil and cook until translucent and soft, about 5-7 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the minced garlic, Italian parsley, sage and crushed red pepper. Add the onion mixture to the bowl of meat. Mix the turkey mixture until completely combined, but being careful to not over mix. Scoop out two tablespoons of the turkey mixture, and using your hands, roll it into a ball. Repeat until all meatballs are formed.

3. To sear the meatballs, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan (you can use the same one you just used for the onion mixture–we’re into saving dishes around here). When the oil is hot, gently add the meatballs and sear on all sides for about 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer them to a bed of paper towels to drain. Repeat until you’ve seared all of the meatballs, adding more oil, if the pan needs it.

4. To make the tomato sauce, add the olive oil to a dutch oven or medium pot. When the oil is hot, add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sage leaves and crushed red pepper; cook for an additional minute, until fragrant. Pour in the can of tomatoes and add the parmesan rind (if using); mix and cover the pot, allowing the tomato sauce to simmer, over low heat, for 20 minutes.

5. Remove the rind and using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the tomato sauce until smooth (if you’re using a regular blender you may need to do this in batches). Transfer back to the pot and salt to taste.

6. Add the seared meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.

7. To make the zucchini noodles, add a teaspoon of olive oil to a sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add the zucchini noodles, cooking them for about 3 to 5 minutes. I say go with what you like. I go a bit under because I like them to have a bit of bite. Add them to a big bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce. Place the meatballs on top and garnish with a small sprinkling of parmesan cheese and a handful of Italian parsley.

Serves 4

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs // www.acozykitchen.com

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker March 27, 2014 at 1:24 am

These look delicious and i’m totally with you on the dark meat. Sooo much more flavour


Erika March 27, 2014 at 6:41 am

Love those noodles.. Everything about this looks amazing!


Jen of My Tiny Oven March 27, 2014 at 7:42 am

Those zucchini noodles are amazing! I might have to get one of those spiralizers, so cool!


Bridget March 27, 2014 at 7:53 am

Hmm, I’ve always steamed my zucchini noodles in a colander over boiling water – and I’ve had no issues with them getting too watery that way. But if you do have leftovers and then reheat, yeah, things end up a bit watery.


Adrianna Adarme March 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Oooo…I’m gonna try steaming them. I haven’t tried it that way.


allie@sweetpotatobites March 27, 2014 at 8:28 am

I need to get my hands on a spiralizer so I can try these zucchini noodles!


Cassie March 27, 2014 at 9:13 am

Williams Sonoma has this spiralizer for 39.95.


Adrianna Adarme March 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm

It’s actually cheaper on Amazon. I’d go that route!


Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen March 27, 2014 at 9:57 am

I’m usually not one for uni-tasker type gadgets, but I’ve been seeing these zucchini noodles everywhere and am getting soooo tempted to buy a spiralizer! This looks delicious!


Abby March 27, 2014 at 10:00 am

These meatballs and zucchini noodles look so good! And it would be so much lighter than normal spaghetti.
I love making meatballs with ground turkey. I even like their texture more than beef meatballs!


Mary Frances March 27, 2014 at 11:35 am

I love zucchini noodles. They’re a great way to lighten up a pasta dish.


Heather @ Sarap Life March 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Wow, I’m late to the game on zucchini noodles. I think I’ll have to try them – I’m always looking for an alternative to something carb-heavy like pasta. I’m also not a fan of having a lot of kitchen gadgets but that spiralizer looks pretty freaking awesome to use. Technology amazes me :-P


Toyota March 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

So I kinda want to lick my screen … although I am pretty sure this wouldn’t do them any justice and I am also very full from my not so healthy dinner of good old British fish and chips. Definitely one I look forward to making


Chrissy March 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm

I ain’t got time for white turkey either. Preach!


Monique Bartley March 28, 2014 at 11:51 am

Hot damn! It’s a Christmas miracle: vegetables that look as appetizing as delicious carby pasta!


Alia March 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm

This looks delicious! I really want to get one of these spiralizers :)
Thanks for sharing this recipe



Megan Brauch April 1, 2014 at 8:54 am

Thank you so much for posting. Looks beyond delicious. Now I just gotta get myself to the grocery and pick up some zucchini!


Susan April 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

I bought my Spiralizer 2 summers ago on Amazon for something like $26 and free shipping. I think it is still sitting in a corner of my living room, but I’m thinking of using it now that you made me aware that zucchini noodles can be the base of an otherwise normal dish. Well alright!


Francesca April 6, 2014 at 6:40 am

I just saw an equally amazing feat accomplished with sweet potatoes + a spiralizer. Im pretty sold after this recipe!


Barbara July 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I made this for my family tonight and everyone raved about how delicious it was. I’ll definitely be making this again! I used a julienne vegetable peeler and it worked out fine.


Corinna November 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm

The turkey meatballs are to die for!! I prepared them as instructed and then baked them in a mini muffin pan (24) at 350 for 15 minutes, flipped them and baked them for another 8-10 minutes. I also broiled them on low for the last two minutes to brown them a little. So soooo good! I had them with zucchini pasta and a small amount of good vodka sauce. I’ll be making this over and over and over again! Thank you for the recipe!


Adrianna Adarme November 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm

OMGoodness. LOVE! I need to get back to eating healthy like this. Ooof.


Sheila Keast March 8, 2015 at 10:33 am

I made these again last night for dinner they are so tender and flavourful. We are not pasta eaters in our home so the fact that we can have zoodles and meatballs is wonderful. My husband requests these at least once a week for dinner. Ginger cauliflower rice is next :)


Adrianna Adarme March 8, 2015 at 10:53 am

Love this! I’m actually posting a bunch of healthy recipes this week, too!!


Sheila Keast March 8, 2015 at 10:57 am

I can’t wait I’m basically doing wheat free so we love to make the meatballs. I use cauliflower a lot for mash etc; My latest love it risotto made with cauliflower rice :)


Marry March 27, 2015 at 12:10 am

I made this tonight but just used spaghetti. Very delicious. I used a technique from another web site to make the sauce a bit richer. After simmering for 20 minutes place a ladle of sauce in the food processor with 3 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil then return to the pot and use the immersion blender. My boyfriend also recommended adding crushed anise seeds to the meatballs, yes!


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