Get a huge, filling meal for under 500 calories with this dish of zucchini noodles with turkey meatballs and sauce. Zoodles are a simple way to get a veggie-filled meal and make good use of summer squash. Whether your goal is weight loss or you are just looking to eat more veggies, this is the recipe for you. The tomato sauce is so simple to make!
In retrospect, I think that Monday’s post may have run a bit long. Plus this may be the only site where you get to scroll through colon-related information to get to a recipe. I’ll keep today’s post considerably shorter.
Did you ever notice how recipes typically serve 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 people? I have three people in my family, so I decided to be an oddball and made this recipe three servings. These are massive plates of food, so it should stretch to four servings if you need it to.
If you are in a time crunch, use a jar of sauce and buy zucchini that has already been spiralized. That way, you’ll need to do little else to make this meal other than cook the turkey meatballs.
I actually did buy fresh zucchini that had already been spiralized to make this recipe. It was a huge time-saver. (Thank you, Trader Joe’s!)
The spiralizer that I use when I am putting in the full effort can be found on Amazon. If you do spiralize your zucchini, you can peel off the green outer layer so that your noodles are entirely white. It’s a lot of work though, especially if you count the clean up afterward.
“Maybe the things that were meant to be noodles are already noodles.”– my poor husband who hates cleaning the spiralizer
A few tips before you get cooking…
Zucchini noodles are not wheat noodles. Never boil them in water; they will turn into mush! The goal with zucchini noodles is to heat them gently, not to cook them thoroughly.
The zucchini noodles in this recipe were heated for 3-4 minutes. They will not look cooked, but they will be perfect.
Keep in mind that the zoodles will continue to soften when you add the hot sauce. If you overcook them, they will release too much liquid and not make a good noodle substitute. You’ll end up with a lot of watered-down sauce on your plate.
One of my family members thought the turkey meatballs could have used more spices. The rest of us thought the seasoning was just right.
If you think you might enjoy some extra herbs and spices in the meatballs, don’t be afraid to modify. Having fun in the kitchen is what this is all about!
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles and Sauce – Gluten Free!
with zucchini noodles and sauce. Yesssss!
For the turkey meatballs:
- 1 lb ground turkey, 99% fat-free
- ¼ c oatmeal, dry (choose a gluten-free brand, if needed)
- 1 egg
- 2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ t garlic powder
- ½ t onion powder
- 1 T grated Parmesan
For the tomato sauce:
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 26 ounces strained tomatoes (I used Pomi brand)
- 2 T fresh basil, finely chopped
- ¼ t crushed red pepper
Other ingredients needed:
- 2 lbs spiralized zucchini
- 6 T shaved Parmesan
- 1 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Cooking oil spray of choice
To make the turkey meatballs:
- Mix the following ingredients together well with your hands: turkey, oats, egg, 2 T parsley, ½ t garlic powder, ½ t onion powder, and 1 T grated Parmesan.
- Form the turkey mixture into heaping 2 T-sized balls. You will make approximately 15-16 meatballs.
- Brown the meatballs for 8-10 minutes in an oil-misted skillet, turning them so that they brown on all sides.
- Remove meatballs from skillet and set them aside so that you can prepare the sauce.
To make the tomato sauce:
- Using the same skillet used to cook the meatballs, brown the onion and fresh garlic in the olive oil, until the onion has softened.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, and crushed pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add the meatballs to the sauce, in a single layer.
- Cover the skillet and cook over med-low heat until the meatballs are cooked through. (Approximately 30 minutes.)
To finish the dish:
- Cook the spiralized zucchini until just heated in an oil-misted wok, approximately 3-4 minutes. Turn the zucchini as it warms with tongs, for even heating. You may have to heat the zucchini in two batches.
- Distribute the zoodles evenly among three plates.
- When the sauce and meatballs are finished cooking, distribute them evenly among the plates.
- Top each dish with 2 T of shaved Parmesan and 1 t parsley. Bon appetit!
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). If you have higher energy needs, you can use a higher fat ground turkey or beef to make the meatballs. Consider making the recipe half whole grain noodles and half zucchini noodles if you need to increase the calories here. Another option is to add a side of whole grain garlic bread. (How about cheesy garlic bread? Yum!) If you dislike zucchini, some other options for spiralized veggies are butternut squash, beets, sweet potatoes, or carrots. Check both the fresh and freezer section of your grocery store to see the spiralized veggie options that are available.
What’s your favorite substitute for wheat noodles? Do you like a particular spiralized veggie, shirataki, one of the legume pastas like Banza, or something else? Let me know in the comments below!