Week Thirteen: Zucchini Meat Balls and Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

Yes, this week’s recipe also starts with ‘Z’. It’s that time of summer, what can I say.

But the good thing about the z word is that it is a VERY versatile vegetable, and can be easily snuck into foods we might not expect. A lot of folks are trying to cut back on how much meat they eat for either environmental or financial reasons, and this recipe stretches a pound of ground beef into a much larger serving of meat balls. I also feel like my experience with meatballs has tended towards the dry, crumbly end of the spectrum. But these came out flavourful and juicy, and held together really well! I don’t think an anti-zucchini person would even notice their presence. And! They freeze well and can then be tossed into a quick pasta lunch for added protein. Things that can be frozen and then mobilized swiftly for a good lunch are my literal favourite.

The tomato sauce came about by accident – Jane wanted a tomato sauce, but chopping up tomatoes and cooking them resulted in something closer to a soup. We googled a solution and ended up adding a quick roux, which created a delicious, vibrant sauce with the full tangy flavour of fresh tomatoes and a smooth and velvety texture. 10/10 solution!

Zucchini Meat Balls and Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce


Meat Balls

  • 1 lb ground beef thawed
  • 1-1.5 lb zucchini grated
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 bulb onion (optional)
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

  • 5-10 smallish tomatoes diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour


Meat Balls

  1. grate the zucchini and squeeze as much fluid out of it as possible. (the weight of zucchini is for before this squeezing procedure, though, so weigh the whole zucchinis, then grate and squeeze.)

  2. mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with your hands. make sure it's well incorporated!

  3. form into balls.

  4. at this point, you can either fry them in a pan or bake them – we opted to bake them, and did so for about 20-25 minutes a side at 375. we put them in a glass casserole dish on top of some parchment paper.

Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

  1. dice the tomatoes up in chunks and throw them in a pot with some olive oil.

  2. cook until the skins are softened, then either blend with a submersion blender or toss in a food processor/blender and return to the pot

  3. in a smaller separate pot, melt the butter and then stir in the flour. stir quickly so it incorporates and becomes a smooth golden mixture.

  4. pour this roux into the tomato sauce while whisking.


  1. throw some pasta on to cook at some point during all this, then strain, top with sauce and meatballs and fresh basil and parmesan, if that's your bag.