Zucchini Meatballs

Food Styling and Prep by Catrine Kelty Photography by John W. Hession

If you plant zucchini, you know how it can divide and conquer a garden. When that happens, the urge is to give them away, make zucchini soup, fry it, pickle it, sauté it and the list goes on. My advice is to make these delicious meatballs. Serve them plain or with a light tomato sauce. They are perfect as an appetizer when made mini size. Change the texture by adding pine nuts or raisins, or come up with your own additions. Cooked rice or quinoa can be substituted for the breadcrumbs.

Serves 8–10

2 medium size zucchini, shredded
1¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup minced, fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
2 large eggs, slightly beaten with a fork
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup vegetable oil
Tomato sauce (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread the zucchini on non-stick baking sheets and place them in the oven. Turn off the heat, and let the zucchini dry out for a couple of hours to remove excess water. This step can be done a day ahead.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic parsley, salt, oregano, eggs and cheese. Coarsely chop the zucchini, add it to the bowl and mix well. Refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes.
  3. Scoop small amounts of the mixture into your hands and form meatballs the size of a small egg (to make about 18), or make them larger if you prefer. Roll the balls in the flour.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat and fry the meatballs, turning them occasionally so they brown evenly—or bake them in an oiled casserole dish in a preheated 350ºF oven for 20–25 minutes.
  5. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish; serve hot with tomato sauce if preferred.

Recipe from Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Categories: Appetizers, Side dishes