September 10, 2013

Toddler Friendly Spinach & Zucchini Meatballs

Today I'm linking up with the Kid-Tested, Mom-Approved Party. Read up on how you can join the fun, there are lots of ways to participate! 

My daughter is a very picky eater. She hates nearly all fruits and likes very few vegetables. As a mom, I stress out about what she is NOT eating all the time. I offer her fruit on a daily basis, only to watch it fall to the floor and be consumed by our dog. I'm constantly trying to be creative and sneaky to try and get some good stuff into her body. Sometimes it works. Most of the time, it doesn't.

Miss A loves pasta. And bread. Lots and lots of bread. She is quite the carb-o-holic. She also likes chicken, ground beef, rice, mashed potatoes, yogurt, crackers, Cheerios, and mac and cheese. The first time I made her spaghetti and meatballs, she devoured it! I was so excited because I realized there were so many ways I could hide vegetables into the sauce and meatballs. 

In these meatballs I hid zucchini and spinach. I grated a whole zucchini and chopped up several fresh leaves of spinach. I baked them in the oven and served them with a side of pasta with a small amount of tomato sauce. At first I thought she was going to pick out the spinach, but she must have been really hungry because she gobbled it up! I was so relieved! It's a victory in this house whenever she eats everything off her tray and I may have a done a little happy dance and told her she just had a ton of vegetables!

Servings: 6 meatballs
1/2 package of ground beef
1/4 cup italian bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1/8 dried oregano
1/8 dried basil
1 zucchini, grated, and excess moisture drained
Handful of spinach, chopped
1/2 cup pasta, cooked
1/4 cup of jarred or homemade tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. In a bowl, combine ground beef with all ingredients. Lightly mix together and form into balls (if mixture is too sticky, add a little more bread crumbs). Arrange on baking sheet, making sure to have an inch a part and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

In a saucepan, bring water to boil for the pasta. Follow the directions as indicated and serve alongside the meatballs with tomato sauce. Cross your fingers and hope your toddler will enjoy it!

You can double up this recipe and freeze the extra meatballs, unbaked. When ready to bake, defrost and bake as indicated.


  1. I use spinach but hadn't thought of putting zucchini in meatballs - great idea!

  2. Great idea! And looks yummy. I'm going to try making these. Thanks Christina!

  3. Genius!! Lex loves herself spaghetti too... I'm officially going to start hiding veggies in hers too!

  4. Love this idea! I'm going to make this next week for sure! I'm always trying to find new ways to hide veggies in our food!

  5. I'm glad I'm not alone with a picky eater! My babe is THE pickiest! She loves fruit, not so much on the veggies. She flat out refuses to eat meat or beans. I totally get you being worried about what she is NOT eating! This week has been a bit better so I'm hoping things will continue. These meatballs sound amazing! I'll definitely be giving them a try. Your daughter is so cute!


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