These kid friendly meatballs (with hidden veggies) are perfect for kids, toddlers, and even baby-led weaning! They’re delicious & super easy!
My son devoured these, and I had to warn my husband to stop eating them, because HELLOOO they were for our son, not for him! I didn’t want them all to disappear by the time our son got home! They are THAT yummy.
Which ingredients go into these kid friendly meatballs?
I combined 2 different types of meat, just in an attempt to broaden his palette. I used ground turkey and ground bison! You can use whichever ground meat(s) you would like! You know your kiddo best!
These kid approved meatballs also include eggs, frozen spinach, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, and panko (I used whole wheat panko; you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs, Italian panko, etc) – again, you know your kiddo best!
Additionally, if you want to sneak even more veggies into these meatballs for your kiddos, you can squeeze a pouch of veggie puree into the marinara sauce! They will never notice. Us moms have to get creative sneaking veggies to our babies!
Which brand of pouches/purees should I sneak into my kids’ meatballs?
In light of the recent (Feb 2021) report of many huge-name, organic, baby food brands containing high amounts of toxic metals, I do want to recommend Serenity Kids organic pouches. These are expensive, but they source from the highest-quality family farms. (Affiliate link, but I truly do recommend this brand!)
Basically any and all of the flavors in the variety pack linked above, would work wonderfully when adding to your kids marinara sauce for the meatballs. Well… maybe not the beet flavor. LOL. But all the rest would be a wonderful addition!
Which other veggies can I sneak into these kid friendly meatballs?
I used organic, frozen spinach just out of sheer convenience. However, you can use any fresh veggie that you’d like! Just make sure it is chopped/grated super small. Grated carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, etc. You want to go with the milder-tasting veggies though – that is for sure.
But uhhhh yea anyway… did I mention that I’m lazy? I highly recommend going the organic, frozen spinach route ;). Just make sure to cook it in the microwave first – and then let the spinach cool off – and then combine the rest of your ingredients with the spinach!
How do I make these kid-friendly meatballs?
You’re gonna roll ’em up into golf-ball sized meatballs. You will be baking them in the oven. You can either bake them in a greased muffin tin, or on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack! You can’t go wrong either way.
Actually, I used both methods when I made mine, because I only had one sheet pan available at the time. So I grabbed my muffin tin and used both methods at the same time! The end result yields the same flavor. So the choice is yours.
Here are the steps to make these yummy meatballs that your babies, toddlers, and kiddos will love!
Meatballs – Step 1:
Set oven to 400 degrees. Microwave frozen spinach according to directions. (You will need CHOPPED frozen spinach – not whole frozen spinach!) Combine in a bowl along with the panko/breadcrumbs, and allow the spinach to cool off while you move on to the next steps.
Meatballs – Step 2:
After spinach has cooled, add your ground meat(s) of choice, along with your desired seasoning.
Meatballs – Step 3:
Add two eggs to the mixture.
Meatballs – Step 4:
Add parmesan cheese to the mixture.
Meatballs – Step 5:
Give everything a really, really, really good stir to combine. With your HANDS! Get in there and get dirty! Add a glug of olive oil to moisten up the mixture if desired.
Meatballs – Step 6:
Form into golf-ball sized meatballs, and bake for 14 minutes, flipping halfway through.
You can use one of the following methods to bake them (or both):
-Option 1: Place meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a wire wrack
-Option 2: Place meatballs in a greased muffin tin
Kid Friendly Meatballs – Final Step:
Set a skillet over medium heat. Add a tiny splash of olive oil. Pour the jar of marinara sauce into skillet. After meatballs have baked for 14 minutes, remove from oven. Add the meatballs to the marinara sauce, (add the veggie puree to the sauce just before adding the meatballs); and toss everything together just long enough, so that everything is heated through and coated.
Let cool, and serve to your kiddos!
Hope you – and your baby, toddler, or kiddo – enjoy!!! I am super excited to add more Kid Recipes, so please be sure to check back and follow along!Print
These kid friendly meatballs sneak in hidden veggies (twice!), and are perfect for baby-led weaning, picky toddlers, and big kids too!
- 2 lbs ground meat of choice (I like to use a mixture of half and half. In this particular recipe, I used ground turkey and ground bison)
- 1 cup panko (whole-wheat, gluten-free, Italian, etc)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 box frozen spinach (CHOPPED, not whole)
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- Seasonings of choice (i.e., a smidge of Italian seasoning, dried parsley, and kosher salt)
- 1 pouch veggie puree (optional)
- Set oven to 400 degrees. Microwave frozen spinach according to directions. Combine in a large bowl, add panko, and allow spinach to cool off.
- After spinach has cooled off, add your ground meat(s) of choice to the bowl, along with your desired seasonings.
- Add 2 eggs to the mixture.
- Add parmesan cheese to the mixture.
- Using your hands, combine thoroughly! Add a glug of olive oil if needed to moisten it up. Make sure everything is mixed very well.
- Form into golf-ball sized meatballs. Place meatballs onto 2 rimmed baking sheets fitted with wire racks, or into 2 greased muffin tins.
- Bake for 14 minutes, flipping once. In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Add the marinara sauce to the skillet. After meatballs have baked for 14 minutes, remove from oven. Just before adding meatballs to sauce, add the veggie puree to the marinara. Finally, add meatballs to the marinara/veggie puree mixture.
- Toss everything together just long enough to coat and combine. Allow to cool, and let your kiddos dig in!
- If you go larger with the size of the meatballs, add to the cooking time. If you go smaller, subtract from the cooking time.
- Ensure that the meatballs come to an internal temp of 165 degrees.
- The brand of puree I would recommend adding to your marinara sauce is called Serenity Kid Pouches (affiliate link)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 14 minutes
- Method: Oven
Keywords: kid friendly, kid recipes, baby led weaning, toddler recipes