★★★★★

Easy Vegetarian Zucchini Meatballs

You don’t need meat to make meatballs! These vegetarian Zucchini Meatballs make a delicious meatless meal paired with pasta and your favorite sauce.

Add some zucchini meatballs to your Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe. Or serve them with your favorite Olive Garden salad and garlic bread!

Meatless zucchini meatballs in a white bowl with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.

Vegetarian Meatballs

The search for the perfect meatless Monday dinner is over with these Zucchini Meatballs! So here’s what you want to ask me: DO THEY TASTE LIKE MEAT?

No. They don’t. I’ll be honest. But they taste AMAZING. Just as hearty and satisfying as biting into a meaty meatball but with a lighter twist.

In fact, I prefer meatless options that don’t try to imitate the taste of meat. It’s entirely it’s own thing! Pile your Zucchini Meatballs onto a sub or a bowl of pasta and you have a healthier alternative to meat that’s truly delicious.

The texture of these meatballs is wonderful. The breadcrumbs help hold them together, and baking them browns them up slightly. Zucchini meatballs are an easy vegetarian dinner idea that everyone at the table will enjoy.

Ingredient Notes

  • Zucchini – I shredded my zucchini with my food processor. If you want it even finer, return it to the bowl of the food processor for a second round of shredding. I don’t mind the coarsely shredded zucchini, however, I know my kids prefer it to be not as noticeable when you take a bite.
  • Breadcrumbs – White or whole wheat breadcrumbs (not Panko) work best. For a low carb alternative, substitute ground chickpeas or pork rinds!
  • Parmesan cheese
Zucchini meatballs on a foil lined baking sheet.

Easy Instructions

Cook Zucchini. The perfect meatless meatballs start like so many good things: sauteeing garlic in olive oil! Add the zucchini to create a tender texture and infuse it with that irresistible garlic flavor.

Most of the moisture will cook out of the zucchini as you saute it but you’ll still need to squeeze the extra water out using a colander or clean towel.

Make “meatball.” Combine the zucchini with the other ingredients for the meatballs, then roll the mixture into balls.

Bake. Place the meatballs on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until firm and lightly browned.

Serve over spaghetti or Zoodles with a flavorful spaghetti sauce or on a toasted hoagie. Don’t forget the extra cheese on top!

Four zucchini meatballs in a dish with marinara sauce.

Tips and Tricks

  • Do not skip the draining of the zucchini process. Unless, of course, you want soggy meatballs that fall apart!
  • For an even browner meatball, you can flip them over after the 20 minutes, and brown them on the other side for an additional ten minutes. The extra baking time will also dry them out even more, giving them a chewier texture. I enjoy them both ways!
  • I use a 2 Tablespoon scoop to make my perfect meatballs. Scoop the “meat” then use your hands to press and roll them into a ball. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Once these are cooked, add your sauce and enjoy warm. OR, let them cool, place them in a freezer safe ziploc bag and freeze until ready to use! Each batch makes about 20 meatballs.

Recipe FAQs

Can you substitute dried herbs for fresh?

I don’t recommend it as the flavor won’t be nearly as vibrant. The fresh basil adds an amazing dimension to these meatballs.

Can these be made gluten free?

Yes, swap out the breadcrumbs for a gluten free variety or ground up pork rinds for an easy gluten free option!

Are these meatballs vegan?

No. The cheese and egg in the meatballs make these unsuitable for vegan diets, but they are 100% vegetarian.

More Vegetarian Dishes

Yield: 20 meatballs

Zucchini Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

You'll love these meatless Zucchini Meatballs for a healthy, fresh vegetarian dinner! Serve them up with your favorite pasta sauce and noodles for a dinner your friends and family will love!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • several cranks of black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with non stick foil. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, drizzle olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add in shredded zucchini.
  3. Cook for about 5 minutes, until most of the water in the skillet has evaporated. Transfer to a colander and press out remaining liquid.
  4. In a large bowl combine bread crumbs, egg, seasoning, basil, and parmesan cheese. Mix with the zucchini until fully blended.
  5. Using a 2 Tbsp scoop, form 20 balls, rolling tightly, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until firm and lightly browned.
  6. Serve meatballs with your favorite sauce on pasta, zoodles, or a hoagie with cheese! ENJOY!

Notes

  • Do not skip the draining of the zucchini process. Unless, of course, you want soggy meatballs that fall apart!
  • For an even browner meatball, you can flip them over after the 20 minutes, and brown them on the other side for an additional ten minutes. The extra baking time will also dry them out even more, giving them a chewier texture. I enjoy them both ways!
  • I use a 2 Tablespoon scoop to make my perfect meatballs. Scoop the "meat" then use your hands to press and roll them into a ball. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Once these are cooked, add your sauce and enjoy warm. OR, let them cool, place them in a freezer safe ziploc bag and freeze until ready to use! Each batch makes about 20 meatballs.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

4 meatballs

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 394mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Meatless Monday might just become your favorite day of the week when Zucchini Meatballs are on the menu! Whether you eat them with pasta, in a sub sandwich or on their own, these meatballs are heaven for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on August 28, 2017

Comments & Reviews

  1. Fantastic!! I saved this recipe to make again! My husband was shocked when I told him they were vegetarian. He loved them! I shred zucchini ahead of time and let it set in the refrigerator. Most of the water is released into the bowl. I sqeezed and measured 3 cups before adding to the skillet. It was practically dry then. Didn’t need to squeeze again after cooking. Followed recipe exactly after that. Texture was spot on! I got 15 meatballs. I served them in my home canned pizza sauce topped with a sprinkle of mozzarella.

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