food processor

Every mom is constantly trying to sneak more veggies into the kid’s diet, right? Well,  my mother in law inspired me last time we visited her and the outcome was this delicious mini meatball recipe that my kids love and is full of veggie goodness.  I think they are great too and usually make myself an extra one to snack on when I cook them for the kids.  They would even make a great burger.

I don’t worry terribly about the amount of fat my kids intake in a meal like this, because they are light eaters and  eat a pretty healthy, well balanced diet so a little fat is still good for them and these meatballs are very tasty the way they are.  But, if it looks a little fatty for you or your kids, then I would suggest  cutting the sausage in half and upping the amount of lean meat.  I wouldn’t suggest cutting the sausage all together though as it is integral to the flavor and really what makes them so palatable for the kids.

This is a good sized recipe and will make 20-40 meatballs, depending on size.  This is the best part though.  After cooking them, lay them out on a cookie sheet in a single layer and put them in the freezer for an hour to overnight and then put all the little meatballs in a gallon freezer bag.  You can then take out the desired amount and heat them in the microwave.  30 seconds on high, turn, then another 30 seconds on high.

This is best made using a food processor. If you don’t own one, look to the bottom of this article for notes on making them by hand.

Hide-a-Veggie Meatball Recipe

1 lb. Very lean ground beef or ground turkey (both are equally good)
1 lb. ground pork sausage
1 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
2 medium carrots or 2 handfuls of baby carrots, cut into chunks
1 small onion, cut into chunks (about 1/2 cup or so)
2 cloves of garlic
2 slices of whole wheat bread (or any other kind of bread), regular sized slices not large – adjust for larger slices.
1 egg
1 t dry Italian seasoning (or a smidge each of oregan0, basil, thyme and/or rosemary, whatever you have is totally fine)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Put everything but the meat into the food processor and blend until very small bits, but not too much. Add the meat and mix until everything is well incorporated.

Pinch off small balls, roll them a little in your palm and place them in a large frying pan (oven safe only) in a single layer. Depending on how big of pan you have, you may have to do two batches.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Place the pan over medium heat and cook the meatballs until they are nicely browned on one side. Turn each meatball over using a pair of
and brown on the other side.

Take the pan and place it in the oven. Bake the meatballs until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Remove and serve.

Remember to freeze any leftovers for an easy quick meal at a later time.


If you don’t have a food processor, you can easily make these by hand in a large mixing bowl, it will just be a little more work.

The carrots, onions, garlic and zucchini need to be shredded and then use a knife to cut those shreds as small as you can. Use dried bread crumbs instead of the bread slices, about 1 cup.

Add all the ingredients in the bowl and then mix well with your hands.

Proceed as stated above.

Nutritional Information –  Full Version
Nutritional Information – Light Version

Note:  Although the total fat and saturated fat is significantly lower in the light version, the grade didn’t change.  hmmm.