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Pan Seared Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

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Super juicy, lots of flavor, simple prep and fast to cook! Zucchini turkey meatballs are your new back pocket recipe for a speedy homemade and lightened up meal taking 5 ingredients that cook in just 10 minutes on the stovetop.

grated parmesan over turkey meatballs and red sauce pasta on a plate

Yes! Calling all my meatball lovers!

That, and I’m also calling all my lovers of quick easy meals and those of us just trying to sneak in those extra veggies wherever we can (like hidden veggie soup.)

Zucchini turkey meatballs are going to make the whole family happy for so many reasons, but let me start with these:

  • all the deliciousness of comfort food but lightened up
  • simple prep
  • cooks fast (pan-seared!)
  • stays juicy
  • extra veggies
  • lean meat

collage of ingredients for zucchini stuffed meatballs


raw meatballs rolled on parchment paper

While I’m always excited to share a recipe with you guys, I am extra stoked for this meatball recipe. We make these meatballs for the kids all. the. time. They both love them and I love they have extra veggies in them and that this recipe cooks super fast.

My usual M.O. is to prep, sear on both sides, turn off the heat and then let them steam and finish cooking without heat while I go pick up the kids at school. We get home and dinner is ready to go, which I’m pretty sure is one of the greatest feelings ever.

overhead image of zucchini turkey meatballs in a cast iron skillet

How to make Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

Also known as “how to make super juicy, moist healthier meatballs that don’t fall apart in the pan and don’t require preheating the oven” but that was too long. 

The hardest part about prepping the meatballs is grating the zucchini, which isn’t even hard! Hooray for us. All the other ingredients are already ready to go!

The steps can be boiled down to this simplicity…

  • Chop the ends off and grate the zucchini on the largest grater size
  • Combine everything (except the water) in a bowl and mix is well with your hands to ensure even mixing
  • Roll into 2 tablespoon size balls
  • Pan sear in a heavy bottom skillet, flip, reduce the heat, add water and cover to steam for the rest of the cooking time

Whoa, we’re done. Isn’t that fantastic?

collage of steps for making zucchini turkey meatballs

How do you know when the meatballs are done?

There are two ways to know if the meatballs are done. They are cooked when the center of the meatball reads 165°F on the thermometer. Alternatively, you can cut a turkey meatball in half and check the coloring. If the center is cooked throughout showing no pink meat, they are cooked.

What do I serve with turkey meatballs?

How you would typically serve meatballs is a great way to serve these turkey substituted beauties! My favorite way is to serve them with chickpea pasta and ready to go pasta sauce.

On a sub roll with sauce and cheese makes a delicious sandwich or toss them with sauce and serve as an appetizer at your next party!

overhead angle of cavatappi pasta with meatballs and cheese

What if I don’t have basil paste?

Not a problem! Finely chop up 2 to 3 basil leaves instead. You want 2 teaspoons of basil. You can also substitute dried basil, but the flavor will not be as strong.

Can I freeze zucchini turkey meatballs?

Yes, you betcha! We do this all the time and it is so clutch on nights when you don’t know what to cook or have the time or energy. Just defrost them in the microwave and reheat.

pasta piled on circular plates

I’d love to hear your favorite way to enjoy these round bites of deliciousness, so tell me in the comments and leave a rating for the recipe! Make sure you don’t miss a recipe by subscribing to my newsletter at the top of the page!

Pan Seared Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

Juicy, flavorful meatballs lightened up with ground turkey meat and grated zucchini.  Zucchini turkey meatballs are super fast to prep and cook in 10 minutes on the stove top for an easy, healthy weeknight meal!
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Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pan seared meatballs, pan seared turkey meatballs, turkey meatballs, zucchini turkey meatballs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 20 meatballs
Calories: 63kcal
Author: Lauren


  • 1 ¼ pound 93% lean ground turkey meat
  • 2 teaspoons basil paste or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ cups grated zucchini about 2 small or 1 large zucchini
  • cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup water


  • Combine the ground turkey, basil paste, chopped garlic, grated zucchini, parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well with hands.
  • Roll the meatball mix into 2 tablespoon-sized balls. Place on parchment paper or cutting board.
  • Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom 13-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Have a matching lid set aside for later. When the oil is hot, gently place the meatballs in the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the pan side is golden brown.
  • Turn over and reduce heat to low. Add water and immediately cover the pan with the lid to steam the meatballs. Cook for 5 minutes until meatballs are cooked through (no pink.)
  • Remove from the pan and enjoy with pasta, on a sandwich or substitute in any recipe calling for beef meatballs.


  • Depending on brand, ground turkey meat comes already weighed.  This recipe uses a 1.3 pound package, but anything from 1 pound to 1.5 pounds will work but the total yield will vary.
  • If you do not have access to basil paste, finely chop 2 to 3 fresh basil leaves.
  • For quick meatball making, use a medium sized cookie scoop.  My favorite is a #30 scoop and holds 2 tablespoons.


Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 53IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

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