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Zucchini “Meatballs”

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Zucchini Meatballs are meatless, made with grated zucchini, garlic, Pecorino Romano, basil, bread crumbs and egg, then baked in the oven and finished in a Pomodoro sauce.

Zucchini "Meatballs" – delicious meatless zucchini meatballs baked and simmered in Pomodoro Sauce.
Zucchini “Meatballs”

These vegetarian meatballs were a HUGE hit in my house, I even let my neighbors and friends try and everyone loved them! Serve them as an appetizer, over zucchini noodles, whole wheat pasta or with a crusty piece of bread on the side. You can see more zucchini recipes like this here.

A few weeks ago I made these awesome eggplant “meatballs” and the most asked question I got in the comments and on Facebook was can you make them with zucchini? Loving the idea, especially since I have a few giant zucchinis on my counter I put this to the test and they turned out awesome! I had to change the recipe a bit from the eggplant one since zucchini is very watery, and they turned out great, even better than the eggplant in my opinion and everyone who tried them, loved them!


Zucchini Meatballs

4.84 from 54 votes
These meatless Zucchini Meatballs are made with grated zucchini, garlic, Pecorino Romano, basil, bread crumbs and egg, then baked in the oven and finished in a pomodoro sauce.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
These meatless meatballs were a HUGE hit in my house, I even let my neighbors and friends try and everyone loved them! Made with grated zucchini, garlic, Pecorino Romano, basil, bread crumbs and egg, then baked in the oven and finished in a pomodoro sauce.
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 4 meatballs


  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/4 lbs unpeeled zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 ounce 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups quick marinara sauce or jarred, I love DeLallo Pomodoro
  • part skim ricotta cheese, for serving (optional)


  • Heat the oven to 375°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Place the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot add the garlic and saute until golden, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook on high heat until all the water evaporates from the skillet, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Transfer to a colander to get rid of any excess water, then to a large bowl along with the bread crumbs, beaten egg, Romano cheese and chopped basil.
  • Form the zucchini mixture into 16 balls about 1 oz each, rolling tightly and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Spray the top and bake until firm and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Heat the sauce in a large deep skillet to warm the sauce, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish the meatballs with fresh basil leaves and serve with ricotta or grated cheese if desired.

Last Step:

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Serving: 4 meatballs, Calories: 259 kcal, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Protein: 10 g, Fat: 12 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 52 mg, Sodium: 1182 mg, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 9 g


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439 comments on “Zucchini “Meatballs””

  1. I have made this several times and love this recipe! It’s so simple but flavorful. I do swap out the ricotta for cottage cheese (just my personal preference). Used raos pastas sauce and serve over some Banza noodles! Air fryer broccoli on the side 😋

  2. This recipe is just so good! Left out cheese for my dairy-free daughter, and used two huge zucchini. Yum.

  3. I just made these to have for dinner tonight. I had one large zucchini which was a little smaller than what the recipe calls for. I added in enough grated green pepper and onion to make up the difference. And I also added some extra Italian seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder when cooking the zucchini mixture down. They just came out of the oven and even without sauce, they are absolutely delicious! Next time, I might add some chopped mushrooms as well to give them a more “meaty“ flavor but the ones I made for dinner tonight are absolutely tasty and I have to walk out of the kitchen before I eat them all before dinner!  These would also make a great appetizer with marinara sauce to dip!

  4. These were good; however, I wasn’t crazy about the texture (not much – bready) and the overpowering flavor of Italian breadcrumbs. I wasn’t able to taste the fresh basil at all.
    They really cry out for something crunchy. Not sure if that could be accomplished by using panko and dried Italian spice instead of the Italian breadcrumbs. I will try that if I make them again. I so wanted to love these…as many, many others do.

  5. This recipe was so easy to make and my family loved it. My granddaughter is a vegetarian so I decided to make it and take it over to her house for dinner. My son came to dinner at my house and I served him a side of these. He is a big meat eater and after he ate them I asked what he though and he said they were delicious and he definitely would eat them again. I did at a little onion and mushrooms to the zucchini. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  6. Hi. Could you use aquafaba (liquid from chick peas) instead of eggs and leave out cheese to make vegan? Thanks! 

  7. Avatar photo
    Divorced kat

    I started off with about 2 cups of raw zucchini. After I cooked it and added the other ingredients, I decided it looked too heavy on breadcrumbs so I cooked another cup or so and of zucchini and added to the mix. Came out great! So in the end I used about 3-4 cups shredded zucchini.

  8. Made these for lunch today and they were awesome! Even my BF happily ate them and said he’d love to have them again. I followed the recipe, and cooked them on the air fryer setting in our combi-oven. Delicious way to use up zucchini – I’d even buy zucchini to make these! 🙂

    1. So good and pretty easy to make. Although the meatballs didn’t completely brown from the time in the oven, I did have them in there for 25mins and still had to finish browning them off on the stove. I didn’t have Basil added, couldn’t find any at the store, but they still came out really good.

  9. My husband and adult son said these were really good-they are meat eaters so I was pleased they liked them. I did add puréed garbanzo beans to the mix to add protein. They were soft to mix but firmed up nicely in the oven. I suggest serving these on top of sauce and not mixing in to keep them crispy. I didn’t have ricotta cheese but will plan for it next time I make these. Delicious!

  10. I made these today and they came out really well. My zuke was a little short on weight so I cut the bread crumbs to 1/2 C. I added a finely diced shallot (1clove)as I don’t care for garlic and to add a little more veg to the mix. Used a pinch of dried basil as I don’t have fresh. Tip: If you spray or oil your hands the mix won’t stick and you don’t need to spray them. To be served with Italian seasoned canned tomatoes.
    Next time I may try this with Mexican seasoning….cumin, oregano, chili powder and or taco seasoning, plain bread crumbs. Maybe bottled taco sauce or the taco flavored diced tomatoes my supermarket sells.

  11. Meh.  I added a bunch of spices, so the taste was decent, but the texture was gummy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  Not worth the effort.

  12. These are fabulous- even better than real meatballs. I used grated parm as I didn’t have the other cheese.

  13. i made these for my soon to be son-in-law and everyone loved them! they were full of italian flavors! after going through all of this to put to good use my abundance oof zucchini and other garden veggies, i could not bring myself to serve with jarred sauce, and with a garden full of tomatoes, it was a delicious marriage of flavor!