One of my favorite sauces on earth happens to be enchilada sauce. GIVE ME A SPOON AND A BOWL OF IT.
Of course, enchilada sauce is best when it’s homemade with dried red chilies, but when you don’t have time, nor really care, then I vote for store-bought! Simply slide down the aisle of your local grocery store like you’re Bruno Mars, pick up a can of your favorite enchie sauce (that’s what we call it), plop it in your cart, grab the remaining ingredients in this recipe and be on your way.
Day 5 of #AKZucchiniWeek is about to be REAL DAMN GOOD.
Since my one pan meals are ridiculously popular with you kids, I decided it was time for another one. And what better excuse to use zucchini than in a flavorful little cozy turkey meatball? Even better when they are nestled into a enchilada sauce, fluffy rice and veggies.
What I love about using zucchini in this recipe is that it helps to keep the meatballs extra moist, and also adds a healthy dose of fiber. Meaning that these are once again perfect for both kids and adults!
How to make zucchini turkey meatballs:
These zucchini turkey meatballs only take about 35-40 minutes from start to finish and are incredibly easy to make, especially since everything is cooked in one pan! Here’s how you’ll do it:
Step 1: add zucchini, turkey, egg, panko breadcrumbs (or coconut flour), onion, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix together with clean hands and form into 16 balls.
Step 2: place olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add meatballs; brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate.
Step 3: add veggies like poblano, red bell pepper and corn; saute for a few minutes then pour in the enchilada sauce and stir in the rice. Place meatballs on top and bring sauce to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Step 4: after the meatballs and rice are done cooking, remove lid and sprinkle cheese on top. Cover again and cook for 2-3 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Garnish with cilantro, avocado and green onion. This is also delicious with plain greek yogurt or sour cream on it!
One thing that’s important to know before making this skillet is that you must use white rice in order for the rice to cook in time. Unfortunately brown rice will take too long to cook in the skillet.
Make a low carb version:
Another option is to use 3/4 cup quinoa or even cauliflower rice to keep it low carb. You decide!
I hope you all love this easy weeknight dinner recipe. I love serving it with creamy avocado slices, cilantro for a burst of fresh flavor, green onion and even sour cream or plain greek yogurt to cool it down.
Also, if you LOVE spicy foods, I suggest using a HOT enchilada sauce instead of mild or medium.
See how to make the one pan zucchini turkey meatballs:
One Pan Enchilada Zucchini Turkey Meatballs and Rice
- For the meatballs:
- 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey (or lean ground chicken)
- 1 cup shredded zucchini, that’s been squeezed of ALL excess moisture with a paper towel
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (or if GF sub 2-3 tablespoons coconut flour)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup finely diced cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- For the veggies, rice and sauce:
- 1 small poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 3/4 cup frozen sweet corn
- 3 cups red enchilada sauce (mild or medium)
- 1 cup white basmati rice (do not use brown rice as it takes too long)
- For the topping:
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- To garnish:
- Diced green onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Diced or sliced avocado
In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, shredded zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, cilantro, diced jalapeno, garlic, cumin and salt and pepper. Use clean hands to mix and form into 16 golf ball sized meatballs.
Place a large deep 10 inch skillet (or largeover medium heat and add in olive oil. You can also use a large pot, but I prefer a skillet. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, using tongs or a fork to flip. They should cook for about 5-6 minutes total. You may need to do this in batches, depending how many meatballs you can fit in your skillet without overcrowding them. When meatballs are done browning, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add in the poblano pepper, red bell pepper and frozen sweet corn. Saute for a minute, then add in the enchilada sauce. Bring enchilada sauce to a simmer, then fold in the rice, making sure it is evenly distributed. Add the browned meatballs on top. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
After 20-25 minutes, remove the lid and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Cover, cook for 2 more minutes to melt cheese, then serve immediately with cilantro, green onion and avocado, if desired. Serves 4.
Make a low carb version: Another option is to use 3/4 cup quinoa or even cauliflower rice to keep it low carb. You decide!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats