These savory little Chicken-Vegetable Meatballs are an easy appetizer to serve on game day. Or they make an easy finger food for toddlers. Just prep the ingredients, mix together, roll into balls and bake.
The vegetables I used in this batch were carrots, spinach and green onion. The flavors are subtle enough for a toddler, without the adults feeling like you are sneaking something in that they might not like. You can sub other vegetables that you like, add seasonings, etc.
The meatballs are held together by flax meal and garbanzo flour, so anyone sensitive to gluten, nuts, eggs or dairy can enjoy them.
For a baby or toddler who wants to self-feed, it’s a way to include vegetables like carrots or spinach that otherwise feel too mushy to eat at that age. There’s a little bit of grated apple for sweetness, but not so much that the adults object.
The meatballs are appropriate for 8 months and older.
And, even if there are no toddlers in your house, these make a flavorful meatball with a marinara sauce over pasta.
Much of the fresh color of the spinach and carrots remains in the meatballs because they don’t take long to bake. Yet because the vegetables are grated very fine, they blend well with the other flavors.
Why MCT oil to grease the pan?
I grease my pan with MCT oil because it is the best oil for preventing sticking that I’ve found. Plus, the little bit of oil helps the meatballs develop a nice golden crisp on the bottoms. It takes just a few drops in each well of the pan.
MCT oil stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, and is the healthiest part of coconut oil. It is easier to digest than longer-chain fatty acids, is easily metabolized by the brain, and may help with maintaining a healthy weight. Win!
Can I make these oil-free?
Yes, you can bake the meatballs on parchment paper or a silpat mat, too. They will be a bit less crisp on the bottoms but will keep their shape during baking.
If using a mat, you can roll the meatballs smaller to get up to 30 to 36 per batch. Of course, smaller meatballs will bake faster, so check them after 12 minutes!
As always, if you have a chance to try this recipe, leave me a message in the comments so I know how it went!
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Chicken Vegetable Meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ¼ cup grated apple
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ½ cup chopped spinach
- ⅛ cup chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- ½ cup garbanzo flour
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Coconut or MCT oil for greasing the pan, optional
- Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Gently fold together with your hands until everything is well incorporated. Let sit for the garbanzo and flax flours to plump a bit while you pre-heat the oven.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Grease a mini-muffin tin with coconut or MCT oil. Or for a low-oil option, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.
- Roll meat mixture into 1″ balls, see note. The balls keep their shape during baking.
- Place the meatballs onto the baking sheet or muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and gently browned.
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