Comin’ in hot with some Meal Prep Meatballs and Zoodles today! No sad desk lunches here, folks.
Meal prep is the best and also the worst. Let me explain – sometimes, I try to save time by making a HUGE batch of something. I then plan to eat said thing for the whole week. By the 4th or 5th day, said thing is NOT appealing anymore and it’s a sad situation.
The fix? This, this, this! Ok, so here’s why these meal prep meatballs will help you avoid that! This recipe makes about 55-60 small meatballs. I wrote the recipe with half the amount of zoodles that you need. Meaning, you’ll have about 8-10 servings of meatballs, and 4-5 servings of zoodles. So, we’re gonna freeze up half of these ‘lil meatballs for a later date – a day in which you open the fridge to find that you have no food prepared (only ingredients!) and that you are hangry. The other half of the meatballs will go into the fridge with your zoodles – leaving you enough servings to make 4-5 yummy meals, but not so many servings that you are determined to never eat another meatball as long as you live.
Sound good? Good. When you’re ready to eat the second half of your meatballs, just whip up another batch of these zoodles – it’s super fast so it will hardly feel like work.
Should we talk about zoodles? I think so. I have only made zoodles a few times in my life thus far and here’s the thing – I like them, but I’m not sure if I like them enough to eat a plate of all zoodles. Ya know? So, I’ve made a mish-mash of half noodles and half zoodles for this recipe. You can use all zoodles, if you’re into that, or all noodles, or half & half like I did. Pro tip: you won’t really notice the zoodles mixed in with the regular pasta, so it’s a super-sneaky way to get some extra veggies in. Also, did I mention that there’s parmesan in the meatballs? ?? This is healthy-ish meal prep food, and it is not sad at all.
Making zoodles does require a spiralizer – there are lots of options out there but I’ve consistently heard good things about this spiralizer. I actually own the spiralizer attachment for my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer – it’s awesome, and it saves space because you don’t have this whole bulky contraption to get out every time you need to get some spiralizing action going. They’re normally a little pricey, but Amazon sells some that are certified refurbished (meaning someone bought it and returned it, so it’s now discounted) which makes it a little more affordable.
Herby noodles, parmesan meatballs, a little fresh spinach + lemon zest action, and some more parmesan to top it all off? I am in. Get ready to be the boss of meal prep!
Speaking of meal prep – do you want to see a post on how to meal plan and meal prep? Let me know in the comments! ?
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo!
Meal Prep Meatballs with Zoodles
- FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs use Gluten-Free if needed
- 1 cup grated parmesan See Note
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- FOR THE ZOODLES
- 1 large zucchini, spiralized
- 4 oz whole wheat pasta use Gluten Free if needed
- 6 tbsp butter
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 5-6 ounces fresh spinach
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- more parmesan, for serving
- Prep: Make your zoodles following the instructions on your spiralizer. I never peel my zucchini first - the skin is totally undetectable. Put your zoodles in a paper towel-lined bowl and gently press a paper towel over the top of them to get out excess liquid. Cover bowl (with a clean paper towel or plastic wrap) and pop it in the fridge while you cook the meatballs!
- Make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with foil and spray with cooking spray (trust me - you need to do both!). Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large mixing bowl using your hands (wash hands and take any rings off first!). Roll into small balls (see photos above for reference). You'll have 50-60 meatballs. Place on baking sheets and bake for 20-22 minutes. If they're on the bigger side, add a few minutes to the bake time. Meatballs are done when no longer pink inside (cut into one of the larger ones to check).
- Make the zoodles: While the meatballs are cooking, get your noodle situation going. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, saving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. While the noodles are boiling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for a few minutes. Then add the parsley, spinach, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Saute until the greens have wilted. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer while you're finishing up the pasta, etc. to avoid burning anything. Bump the heat back up to medium/high. Add your zoodles (from the fridge) to the pan with the butter and greens. Let them heat up for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. This is as much as you'll cook your zoodles - it keeps them from getting mushy but still heats them up. Add the regular pasta and stir (tongs are useful here) to get everything mixed together. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed. Add a little of the reserved pasta water if you want to make it more "saucy". Add about half your meatballs in and stir everything together. Serve with more parmesan and lemon zest!
- Meal Prep + Storing: As I mentioned in the blog post (above), I only made half as much zoodles/pasta as you would need to use up all the meatballs. My idea here is that you can freeze half the meatballs (in tupperware) for a later date. This way, you've saved yourself from a little work later on, and you won't have so many servings of your meal-prepped food that you get sick of it. Plus, the cooked pasta/zoodles would get kinda gross in the time it would take you to eat a double batch of it. This way you're getting 4-5 servings of zoodles and meatballs, and when you're ready to eat the remaining half of the meatballs, just thaw them in the fridge and make another batch of the zoodles/pasta. Or pair them with regular noodles and traditional pasta sauce!All that being said - we are a two person household. If you have a big family and you aren't worried about excess leftovers, double the zoodles part of the recipe and you'll have 8-10 servings of the zoodles AND of the meatballs!
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