I’m sharing how to make a 5 ingredient healthy turkey meatballs recipe in a slow cooker…and there is a secret ingredient – zucchini! Plus, because the recipe is made in a slow cooker, it makes for a super easy, no fussing while it cooks weeknight meal.
It may sound silly, but I love meatballs. They are a great way to add protein to a meal and easy to cut up for the kids to enjoy. Meatballs are a very kid friendly meal, and are just all around comforting! With a few teaks and swaps (ground turkey vs. ground beef for the meat and using zucchini) they become healthy meatballs!
I especially love this recipe because it’s basically a whole meal in one bite – veggies, protein and even a few carbs. These ground turkey meatballs are actually a take on a ‘porcupine’ meatball, have you ever heard of them? A porcupine meatball is a meatball made with rice, which cooks when the meatball is being cooked. I’ve tried making them the traditional way (stovetop), but I honestly found it very time consuming and didn’t like that the rice wasn’t cooked all the way. After recipe testing this, I’ve made these into an easy recipe using ground turkey and made in a slow cooker, which cooks the meatballs perfectly!
If you don’t love meatballs as a main meal, these make a great appetizer as well! Typically, when we host a party, I always love to have some sort of meatball recipe on hand since they are filling and easy to eat while mingling (as long as you make them small enough!)
So many of my friends have thriving gardens at their houses and they are always ending up with excess vegetables to share. One of the most shared veggies is always zucchini. They are relatively easy to grow and often abundant. Don’t look at me for gardening advice, I seem to neglect gardens sadly.
So, the question is, what do you make with all of that zucchini? I’d start with these 5 Ingredient healthy turkey meatball recipe! And after that, you can take a peak at this roundup which has plenty of ways to make delicious food using zucchini.
This recipe is seriously the perfect ‘set it and forget it’ meal. Great for busy nights and even crazier nights.
As I mentioned above, I love giving these to the kids. For their dinner, I just cut these up into small pieces for them to enjoy.
For Nick and I, we usually eat these over cauliflower rice with a side of broccoli. You can, of course, substitute traditional white rice, but the cauliflower rice helps to keep the meal even that much more healthy!
I am all about easy meals (love that these meatballs only have 5 ingredients – making it a perfect addition for Five Ingredient Fridays) and love it even more when they are healthy and kid-friendly. This one checks all the boxes!
5 Ingredient Healthy Turkey Meatball Recipe
- 1 jar marinara sauce (24 oz.) I like to use tomato and basil or garlic
- 1 cup zucchini grated and patted dry with a paper towel to remove excess liquid. 1 small or 1/2 medium-large zucchini
- 1 lb. ground turkey 93% lean
- 3/4 cup white rice uncooked
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- Pour 1/2 jar marinara sauce in a slow cooker
- Add grated zucchini, ground turkey, dry white rice and bread crumbs in a bowl. Mix well.
- Add a generous pinch of salt (if you like your food a little saltier).
- Use a cookie scoop to form even 1.5 tablespoon sized meatballs (or form with your hands) and place balls in the slow cooker.
- Pour remaining 1/2 jar of marinara sauce over meatballs.
- Cook on high for 4 hours