Sneaky Veggie Meatballs

by N'Ckyola
6 Servings
30 min

My family LOVES meatballs. Doesn’t matter what’s in them as long as they are GOOD. And have gravy or some sort of sauce.

When I make meatballs, I take the opportunity to sneak in some colorful goodness with any veg I happen to have on hand. Most recently, I made this exact recipe over in my Instagram stories & since so many people asked about them, I thought I’d share the recipe & technique.

I hope you enjoy!

Servings will vary depending on how the meatballs are served. As appetizers they will go very quickly.I used Italian sausage veggie meatballs in the dish pictured. I mixed it with pasta & it made about 6-8 servings. If serving with a side dish, it would be even more - this is great for a crowd!

Use any veg you have on hand for this recipe. Just make sure it's not a "wet" vegetable like tomatoes, cucumber, or lettuce.Chop the vegetables as small as you can but do not pulverize them (you can use a chopper but you don't want the them like juice or a smoothie). We're going for small bits of veg throughout the meatballs.Watch the video below to see me make them, then head over to the blog for more serving suggestions & tips.

Watch this video to see my technique for making sneaky veggie meatballs & for some fun commentary.

Recipe details
  • 6  Servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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  • 1lb ground meat
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 1 stalk chopped celery
  • 1/4 - 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 chopped radishes
  • 1/4 c bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • seasoning (cumin seed, salt, pepper, cajun seasoning)
For the gravy
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 c water

Hand mix everything in a medium/large mixing bowl. DO NOT OVER MIX.
Coat the bottom of a high sided pan with oil – EVOO is my oil of choice & I like to use a cast iron skillet or an everything pan.
Drop into the COLD pan of oil in 1 layer leaving some space in between each meatball.
Form the meat mixture into balls with a melon baller, small ice cream scoop, or with your hands.
Brown the meatballs on medium heat for about 7-10 minutes per side. Don’t flip them before they are ready!
After the meatballs are all browned, move them over to a plate & start the gravy.
For the gravy
Add a little flour to the pan of meatball "drippings" – no more than 1/4 cup. Brown the flour on medium low heat
Slowly add water starting with 1/2 cup whisking as you add. Bring that to a bubble then taste for seasoning. Add salt & pepper as needed.
Put the meatballs back into the pan with the gravy, add more water as needed – up to a full cup – and stir to coat the meatballs. At this point you can taste & adjust the seasoning as needed.
Let the meatballs simmer in the gravy until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Use any ground meat you like – beef, turkey, chicken, pork, Italian sausage. And use any combination of veggies you like. Anything works with the exception of “wet veg” like cucumbers, lettuce, or tomatoes - this is a great time to use up any veg that might be close to expiring.
  • To make them completely vegetarian, skip the meat & use lentils (or any bean you like). Want a vegan option? Use beans in place of the meat and an egg substitute like ground flaxseeds mixed with a bit of water.
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!