Cauliflower, Spinach and Turkey Meatballs

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Delicious in a Submarine Sandwich.

9721859_f520Suggestion for the day: Add cauliflower to meatballs next time you make them! It’s fantastic!

Adding fresh vegetables to ground meat is an excellent way to use less meat yet have more servings. It is also a great way to get more veggies into your diet.

Wednesday was one of my marathon cooking days. While I was cooking up a few dishes using ground turkey to stash in the freezer, I decided to make up some of these little meatballs to make use in meatball submarine sandwiches. I’d seen a picture of meatball sliders that inspired me to try it.

I only had a half pound of ground turkey left, so more chopped veggies than usual would definitely be required. Of course I had to add spinach, mushrooms and onion. That’s traditional after all. This time I also added cauliflower and mixed it in! The goal was to have an equal amount of veggies as there was turkey.

Even if you don’t normally use ground turkey in lieu of beef, it is excellent for meatballs. With sauce–whether a marinara or a gravy, you can’t tell the difference. It’s an easy way to cut back on beef. Plus once you add all the chopped vegetables, you have a filling but lower calorie, lighter meal.

I loved them! Another delightful use for cauliflower! I can’t get over how versatile it is in various recipes. As with spinach, I’ll be putting grated cauliflower in most dishes from now on.

Easy to Keep on Hand

This batch was baked immediately, but if you are just prepping and don’t have time to cook them, you can freeze them uncooked. After baking these meatballs, most were frozen for future meals, but I had to keep a few out to taste and properly evaluate!

Since I’d made fresh rolls as well, I made a little sandwich with provolone on the top and the bottom, and two meatballs halved. Heated in the microwave for 30 seconds, it made a very tasty hot lunch. Depending on the size of the roll you may need more or less. Whenever I use meatballs in a sandwich I prefer to halve each one to make them easier to eat. Even then, a knife and fork come in handy!

If serving with pasta, we would always put the cooked meatballs into the sauce for awhile to absorb the flavor. You can even freeze them in sauce if you like. If you want some without sauce, I suggest you arrange them on a plate, covered with plastic wrap. Once frozen, put them in a zip bag so you can pull out as many as you want at a time.

You can add more or less of the various veggies as you wish, but do try the cauliflower! All of these choices are delicious in meatballs really, adding texture too as you mix them. Just be sure to chop finely so they blend in well with the ground meat. Think of your favorite ingredients, your favorite seasonings, and how they would taste in a meatball. It’s amazing what you can add.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Cauliflower, Spinach and Turkey Meatballs


Serves: 20 meatballs

  • ½ pound ground turkey, or beef, if preferred
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup bread crumbs or oats
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small roll
  • ¼ cup pasta sauce
  • 2 to 3 meatballs, halved
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly, then roll into 1 inch meatballs.
  3. Place in a greased (or sprayed) baking dish. Turn them once during cooking. Bake 1 hour, or until lightly browned.
  4. If preferred, you can fry them in a lightly sprayed skillet.
  5. Cool before freezing.
  6. For a sandwich, slice roll in half.Place one slice cheese on bottom of roll.
  7. Place meatballs on top of cheese (2 or 3 if halved, 4 if whole). Top with the other cheese slice.
  8. Heat in microwave for 20 to 40 seconds, until cheese begins to melt.
  9. Serve with knife and fork and plenty of napkins!

If you want to speed up the process, here is my favorite appliance.  It will chop spinach, onion, and grate cauliflower in seconds each.  It works so well.  Every single time I use it I am surprised how well it performs.  You can see a dozen photos I’ve included in my review here.

The Ninja Master Prep Professional

Cauliflower spinach and turkey sm


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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