Recipe Challenge: Chicken-Zucchini Meatballs With Feta

Dana Calidonna, RD | Nutrition Specialist
/ August 14, 2020
Chicken-Zucchini Meatballs with Feta

Adapted from New York Times Cooking

Meatballs made with lean proteins like chicken breast or turkey have a tendency towards being dry, but these meatballs have a secret weapon: zucchini. Shredded into the meatball mixture, the veggie increases the nutritional value and also adds much needed moisture. The meatballs alone are perfect for meal prep and would freeze well. Serve on top of a salad or with extra roasted veggies and a yogurt-based sauce like tzatziki.

Makes 4 servings 


  • 3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds) 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper 
  • 1 large shallot 
  • 1/2 cup oats 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes 
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, basil, parsley, or dill, plus more for serving 
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 large lemon) 
  • 2 ounces feta cheese
  1. Heat oven to 425*. Grate one zucchini over a large bowl using the large holes of a box grater. Grate half of the shallot into the bowl as well. Add the oats, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and use your hands to combine. Add the chicken and herbs and toss gently until combined. 
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. With wet hands, form the chicken mixture into 16 meatballs (around 2-3 tablespoons each- I used a ⅛ cup measuring cup to portion out) and place them on one side of the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. 
  3. While the meatballs are roasting, cut the 2 remaining zucchini into ½ inch thick slices, lightly coat with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Coarsely chop the remaining half shallot and combine in a small bowl with the lemon juice and season with salt. 
  5. Add the sliced zucchini to the other half of the baking sheet with the meatballs (or use a new baking sheet if there isn’t enough room) and bake until the meatballs are cooked through and the zucchini is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. 
  6. Meanwhile, crumble the feta into the shallot mixture and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper. Stir, breaking up the feta a little and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  7. Serve meatballs with ~1/4 of the feta sauce and more fresh herbs scattered on top. 

Nutrition Facts (per 4 meatball serving): 228 calories, 12.5g fat, 7.8g carb, 1g fiber, 26.3g protein (if using extra lean ground chicken).


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