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Veggie Packed Meatball Recipe {Crockpot}


Spaghetti and Meatballs is a favorite dinner for kids. Pack in the veggies in this meatball recipe and it will be a favorite dinner for moms too!

Veggie Packed Meatball Recipe

How Do You Make Homemade Meatballs?

The Meat.

The Binder.

The Veggies.



Veggie Packed Meatball Recipe

Crockpot Cooking

We love to use our crockpot for making dinners because it makes your cooking life so much easier on those nights when you really just don’t have time to put dinner together at 5:00 pm.  This meatball recipe is great, because you can make them ahead and then just throw them in your crockpot with the sauce.  Dinner prep requires only cooking up a pot of noodles and bam – you’re ready!  The veggies are included in the meatballs so you don’t have to think up a veggie side dish for this dinner.

We have found some helpful tips when using your crockpot:

  • Preheat your crockpot.  It is kind of like a small oven, and so turning it on 20 minutes ahead can make a big difference.
  • When you are putting ingredients in your crockpot, follow this order:  meat, spices, vegetables, other non-liquid ingredients, and lastly, liquids.
  • Chicken is best cooked on high, and beef is best cooked on low.
  • Unless you are cooking a lot of food, a small to medium crockpot is a good size.
Veggie Packed Meatball Recipe

Portion Sizes for Kids

A lot of the time parents don’t think their kids are eating the right amount.  They are either eating too much or not enough.  The great thing about kids, is when they are little they actually have really good appetite regulation.  They know when they are hungry and they also know when they are full and should stop eating.  As adults, our appetite regulation has been influenced by so many different factors, that we often use outside cues to tell us when and how much we should eat.  Unfortunately, instead of letting our kids regulate themselves, we try and do it for them.

Kids might eat a lot at one meal and not very much the next.  Or a lot one day and not a lot the next day.  This pattern is completely normal.   Kids in general don’t eat a lot at one time.  We like to serve our kids smaller portions because it is less overwhelming for them.  For spaghetti and meatballs, serving in a small kid-size bowl is a great way to help your kids eat and learn good portion size.  Pasta is a food that is really easy to overeat, so the dish you serve it in can make a big difference.

Veggie Packed Meatball Recipe

More of Our Favorite Heathy Pasta Dinners:

Veggie Packed Meatball Recipe


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3 from 46 votes

Veggie Packed Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs is a favorite dinner for kids. Pack in the veggies in this meatball recipe and it will be a favorite dinner for moms too!

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 584kcal


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium tomato, red
  • 1 medium bell pepper, red
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 pound turkey, ground
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 1/2 cup spaghetti or marinara sauce
  • 8 ounce fettuccine pasta, dry


  • Roughly chop onion, tomato, and bell pepper. Add to a blender or food processor along with the spinach. Blend until finely chopped, but not pureed. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes to soften veggies. Remove from heat and allow to fully cool.
  • Add turkey, veggies, egg and bread crumbs to a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, fully combine and shape into meatballs. Place into slow cooker and cover with spaghetti sauce. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until they are no longer pink in the center.
  • Before serving, prepare fettuccine as directed on package.
  • Serve meatballs over fettuccine.


Calories: 584kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 1114mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 16g
Keyword : Veggie Packed Meatballs


Veggie Packed Meatball Recipe

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Recipe Rating


Thanks for the recipe! Looks awesome! But can I leave out the bread crumbs? Or can I put quinoa flakes instead or the panko if the texture have to have panko?

If you don’t add breadcrumbs, the texture will be extra mushy and might not stay in a ball form. You could substitute quinoa flakes or panko so help give the meatball structure.

I make veggie meatballs all the time but I put 1/3 cup of carrots and celery that I put in the food processor. Sometimes I even put a handful of spinach. They are delicious!

1 star
The meatballs were too soft and they fell apart in the crockpot. The only think that I did differently was using gluten-free Panko bread crumbs instead of regular. If I did this again, I would drain the juice off the vegetables and use a very low fat ground turkey. Maybe it would help to brown the meatballs in a skillet before putting in the crockpot.

Good tips – these have turned out soft for us as well, but not falling apart. Our kids like them because they are easy to chew!