Family Friendly Meatballs With Hidden Vegetables

Meatballs are a family favourite in most households and are so easy to hide those extra veggies in that the kids or maybe the fussy husband won’t eat on their own. The traditional spaghetti and meatball recipe tends to just be the meat with an egg, breadcrumbs, sometimes a little milk and maybe a few fresh herbs inside to make the meatballs served with durham wheat pasta. Yet for someone who is looking for a healthy gluten and dairy free option, traditional spaghetti and meatball recipes are not going to cut it.

Then there is the fact that to get your required 5 servings of veggies a day, veggies really need to be part of every meal. As I am aware of the importance of veggie intake for good health, these days I make a conscious effort to add some degree of veggies to every meal.

With 1- in 5 Australian’s not even coming close to their daily recommended intake of veggies both in adults and children, by being conscious of the amount of veggies you are eating in your day, by adding to every meal, makes getting those recommended 5 serves of veggies a day in that little easier.  If you are needing to get more veggies into your families meals, its all about getting creative and thinking where you can hide them.

What goes with meatballs instead of pasta?

Meatballs and spaghetti dishes are perfect for adding those extra veggies into your kids meals. Pairing your meatballs with zoodles is also a great way to get more veggies into your meal, yet if zoodles are likely not something you will get your kids eating, load the meatballs up with hidden veggies instead and serve with gluten free pasta.

Today there are a number of naturally gluten free pasta options  available. Our favourite gluten free pasta in our household is buckwheat pasta, which can be found in the health food aisle in your local supermarket. While it has the word wheat in it and may sound like its wheat, buckwheat is actually a grain like seed that is naturally gluten free making it a great alternative to regular wheat based pastas which are not so great for the gut.

You may also like to pair your meatballs with rice, quinoa, or serve alongside a salad.

Check out my recipe how to make healthy meatballs that are healthy, have added veggies and the kids will love below.

Family Friendly Meatballs With Hidden Vegetables (gf, df, egg free)

The main veggies I used were carrot, zucchini and capsicum. Feel free to use whatever veggies you like though.


500g free range pork mince or grass fed beef mince

1 large carrot grated

3/4 zucchini grated

Handful of fresh basil leaves

1x garlic clove

1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Dried herbs- chives, oregano, paprika, chilli, herbamare.

For the sauce: 

400ml tin tomatoes

2 tsp tomato paste

1 tbsp tomato puree

1/2 large capsicum

1 tbsp tinned coconut milk

dried herbs- Italian herbs, paprika, oregano. Use a teaspoon of each.

Himalayan pink rock salt and pepper to taste


1. Grate carrot, zucchini and any other vegetables you would like to use or if you need, grind up veggies in  a food processer so they are even smaller.

2. Chop up the fresh basil and with a garlic press, crush the garlic cloves.

3. place the mince meat in a large mixing bowl and using a wooden spoon break apart the mince meat, then add veggies, fresh herbs, garlic , nutritional yeast flakes and dried herbs to the bowl and mix through with hands, until its all mixed together evenly in the mince.

meatball mix

4. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper. Then take out even portions of the mince meat mixture and mould them into balls, placing them on the baking paper.

5. Once all meatballs are made and placed in the baking tray, place in the oven and cook for minutes.

6. While meat balls are in the oven, its time to make the sauce. Place all sauce ingredients into a high speed blender and pulse a few times if you like a chunkier sauce or a little more times for a smoother texture sauce.

7. Remove meatballs from the oven, heat a pan over medium heat on the stove top and place a tablespoon of coconut oil, before placing the meatballs into the pan to brown up. Keep turning the meatballs so they don’t get overcooked on one side.

8. While meatballs are on the stove top, you can now make your pasta or healthy zoodle spaghetti alternative that you will serve with the meatballs. If you want to give zoodles ago, you will need a good spiraliser to make them. To learn more about spiralisers and what to look for you click here. 

9. Cook meatballs for a further 5 minutes in the pan turning regularly before pouring the sauce into the pan over the meatballs.  Simmer on low for a further few minutes before serving.



Makes about 12-14 meatballs depending on size you make them.

Don’t forget to like, leave a comment, and share this post on social. If you do end up making these delicious meatballs make sure you snap a picture, share to your social and tag Nutritious Vitality‘ on Facebook. And let me know what veggies you hide in your meatballs without the kids even knowing.

Here’s to good health and happiness x


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Nutritionist Seaford

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