Thai Basil Zucchini Meatballs

zucchinimeatballsBite-sized meatballs made with lean ground beef and shredded zucchini tossed in a flavorful Thai-inspired sauce. The perfect appetizer, side-dish or topper for rice, pasta or salad.

zucchinimeatballs5I really have a thing for meatballs. Meatballs and mini things. Mini things are cuter. Mini things are fun to make and even more fun to eat. Mini things fit in cute little jars and adorable little bowls. They just always win over my foodie heart.

I’ve been experimenting with different ways to hide veggies into things you normally would not expect veggies to be in. Beets in smoothies, carrots in smoothies, more beets in ketchup and now zucchini in meatballs. The more I talk to new moms trying to incorporate more veggies into their little ones’ diets, the more off-the-wall interesting ideas I come up with. Stay tuned…….. 😉

zucchinimeatballs3Using a cheese grater, I shredded the zucchini extra fine so the blind eye would never guess veggies were hidden inside these meatballs. Whenever i’m cooking with beef, I prefer to use grass-fed lean ground beef (personal preference), however you could sub for turkey, chicken, lamb – whatever.

I debated whether I wanted to toss these meatballs in an Italian-style tomato-based sauce or something a little more…. exotic? I can’t tell you what my fascination is with Thai-like flavors, other than that sauce experiments always seem to work and they just appeal to my taste buds.

However, I have no doubt a tomato-based sauce would pair just as nicely. Since these meatballs have already worked their way into permanent rotation in my house, Italian-style meatballs are next. I owe it to my heritage. As well as my taste buds.


Thai Basil Zucchini Meatballs

Makes ~28 meatballs; Serving size: 4 meatballs coated in sauce


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (1 medium-sized zucchini)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs

Thai Basil Sauce

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger)
  • 1 tbsp No Salt Added Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cut off both ends of zucchini. Set a stand-up box grater on a plate or cutting board on the counter. Shred the zucchini by continuously running it over the medium-sized holes of the grater. Gather the shreds in a clean kitchen towel or several layers of paper towels and squeeze to press out as much moister from the zucchini as possible.
  3. In a large bowl, combine shredded zucchini, ground beef, egg and bread crumbs. Mix mixture until well-combined.
  4. Roll meat into small balls using ~1.5-2 tbsp of meat. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray (less mess for you to clean). Line meatballs ~1 inch apart and bake for ~20 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, prepare sauce by heating a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add all sauce ingredients and whisk until well-combined. Bring mixture to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens.
  6. Transfer cooked meatballs to a large bowl. Pour sauce over meatballs and toss until all of the meatballs are lightly coated. Transfer to a serving bowl/platter and dive in!


Nutrition Facts per Serving (4 meatballs coated in sauce)

Calories: 195; Total Fat: 11 gm; Saturated Fat: 4 gm; Cholesterol: 71 mg; Sodium: 500 mg; Carbohydrates: 9 gm; Fiber: 1 gm; Sugar: 4.5 gm; Protein: 14.5 gm

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  2. says

    These look so good! So hearty + wholesome too! At first I though that the zucchini was a total substitute for the meat..but in a strange way i’m kinda relieved that it’s not! These would go great with some bolognese too, right?

    • dishingouthealth says

      Yessss definitely!! I’ll need to try that next time. Just an easy way to sneak in some extra veggies/fiber 😉


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