These turkey meatballs for baby and toddler are a great way to get in both protein and veggies in one delicious recipe! Whether you’re looking for finger foods for your baby, or a new recipe for your picky eater, you’ve landed in the right spot.
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Why I love these turkey meatballs for baby and toddler
You’ve gotta have a good meatball recipe on hand! Nothing beats tasty meatballs with a side of pasta. (If they don’t like pasta, try serving them with cubed sweet potatoes on the side.) Mushrooms can be a difficult sell for toddlers, but their naturally meaty texture incorporates really well with the turkey mixture. If they don’t like seeing green things in their food, you can peel the zucchini first.
I partially always make meatballs just to have the leftovers! Sometimes I put leftovers in school lunches for the next day. Or, I’ll make a double batch to freeze the extra for an easy weeknight meal in the future. I am BIG on doubling recipes like this because you’re not adding much extra work, and you already have all the ingredients out. Might as well make extra for next time you’re craving meatballs!
Turkey and veggie meatballs
I used lean ground turkey in this recipe, but you could substitute lean ground beef. Beef is a great food to incorporate into baby’s diet, which might be surprising! As a Registered Dietitian, I often recommend beef as one of the first finger foods for baby. It’s rich in iron and B vitamins that are helpful for baby’s growth and development. Breastfed babies in particular need foods that are rich in iron because breastmilk does not provide adequate iron after 6 months of age.
If you want another baby-friendly beef recipe, try this Baby and Toddler Friendly Mini Meatloaf with Roasted Green Beans.
For the mushrooms, I suggest either white or baby bella mushrooms. You can try something more exotic like oyster mushrooms but it will have a stronger flavor. Baby might do totally fine with that, but toddler may not be as excited unless they have had lots of different mushrooms before.
How to make this recipe
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and slice zucchini into 1 inch rounds.
Step 2: Process zucchini in the food processor until minced. Then remove from processor and put into large mixing bowl bowl.
Step 3: Add mushrooms to the food processor.
Step 4: Process mushrooms until minced and then add to the bowl with zucchini.
Step 5: Using a towel, press out excess moisture from the vegetables.
Step 6: Add remaining ingredients to large mixing bowl (except for turkey).
Step 7: Mix well.
Step 8: Add turkey to the bowl.
Step 9: Using your hands, incorporate the turkey completely with the vegetable mixture.
Step 10: Using a small cookie scoop, form meatballs from the meatball mixture and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Step 11: Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165 degrees F.
Step 12: Enjoy with your favorite pasta!
- What kind of marinara sauce do you recommend? I like Rao’s Marinara, Newman’s Own Marinara, and Victoria’s Marinara. I get both Rao’s and Victoria’s at Costco for FANTASTIC prices. For baby if you want to limit sodium you can either just give them a tiny bit of a jarred sauce, get a low sodium option, or try a homemade recipe (I have one here that is veggie packed.)
- How should I serve these to baby? You can cut them into smaller pieces that are around chickpea size so baby can pick the meatballs up with their fingers. I would add a little bit of marinara and/or olive oil before serving. Serve with a pasta they can pick up with their fingers, some fresh mozzarella cheese pieces, and a cooked veggie on the side for an extra veggie opportunity.
- How should I serve these to toddler? However they will like them 🙂 but you could totally make mini meatballs if they like the cute factor. They will cook faster so keep an eye on them.
- Can I cook these on the stovetop? Yes, it will just increase the total time you spend cooking and a lot more hands on time. But you could absolutely brown them in a single layer in a large skillet over medium heat in batches. Then finish them in a pot with marinara sauce and simmer them til they’re cooked all the way through.
Use a cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop to help form even sized meatballs! It will cut down a little on prep time and the meatballs will cook more evenly.
Other recipes you might like
Turkey Meatballs for Baby and Toddler Recipe
Turkey Meatballs for Baby and Toddler
- Food Processor
- 1 lb ground turkey (93% lean)
- 1 medium zucchini
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- ⅓ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg whisked
- ¾ tsp italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp salt (optional; omit for under 1 year old)
- Sprinkle black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice zucchini into 1 inch rounds; process in food processor until minced. Remove from food processor and add to large bowl.
- Add mushrooms to food processor; process until minced. Add to bowl with zucchini.
- Using a towel, press out excess moisture from the vegetables.
- Add remaining ingredients to bowl, except for turkey. Mix well.
- Add turkey to a bowl. Using your hands, incorporate it completely with the mixture.
- Using a small cookie scoop, form meatballs and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165 degrees F.
- Serve immediately, and drizzle with olive oil or add pasta sauce; or let cool and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 months.