One Pan Enchilada Zucchini Turkey Meatballs and Rice

Flavorful one pan enchilada zucchini turkey meatballs simmered with rice in a delicious red enchilada sauce. This healthy one pan dinner recipe is packed with veggies like zucchini, bell pepper, corn, and poblano pepper, and is perfect for weeknights or meal prep!

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

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!

zucchini turkey meatballs with enchilada sauce, rice and cheese in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Ingredients in zucchini turkey meatballs

These easy, one pan zucchini turkey meatballs just use turkey, a bunch of delicious spices & veggies, some yummy sauce and cheese. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Lean ground turkey: I like using about 93% lean so that the meatballs are still nice and juicy. Feel free to use ground chicken if you’d like.
  • Zucchini: the secret veggie ingredient to keep these meatballs perfectly moist.
  • Egg: to help hold the zucchini turkey meatballs together.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: breadcrumbs will further help them stick together, but you can also use a fee tablespoons of coconut flour to keep them gluten free.
  • Onion, jalapeño & cilantro: for bites of freshness and a little heat in the meatballs themselves.
  • Spices: we’re packing these babies with flavor from garlic, cumin, salt & pepper.
  • Olive oil: a little olive oil for browning the meatballs in your pan first.
  • Veggies: we’re using poblano pepper, red bell pepper & frozen sweet corn.
  • Enchilada sauce: use your favorite brand or my homemade recipe!
  • White basmati rice: this rice cooks up nice and fluffy in the pan. Do not use brown rice as it will take too long to cook.
  • Cheddar cheese: is there anything better than layers of gooey cheese with enchilada flavors?

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.

zucchini turkey meatballs with rice, veggies and cheese in a skillet with a wooden spoon

How to make zucchini turkey meatballs:

These healthy 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Step 2: place olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add meatballs; brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

zucchini turkey meatballs in a skillet with rice, cheese and veggies and a wooden spoon

Make a lower carb version

  • Instead of white basmati rice you can use 3/4 cup quinoa or even cauliflower rice to keep it low carb. You decide!
  • You can also make these zucchini turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs by simply using 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour.

How to prep meatballs ahead of time

These healthy turkey zucchini meatballs can easily be prepped ahead of time! Simply mix and form the meatballs then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper then tightly cover the meatballs with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. You can prep these meatballs up to one, or even two days ahead of time.

You can even shred zucchini and freeze it to make these for later! Follow these simple instructions and make all of the zucchini recipes your heart desires.

zucchini turkey meatballs with rice and veggies on a plate with a fork

How to store and freeze zucchini turkey meatballs

To store: once complete cooled, portion out the meatballs and rice into glass meal prep containers and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Simply reheat them in the microwave.

To freeze: once completely cooled, portion out the meatballs and rice into freezer-friendly containers and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat simply allow the meatballs and rice to thaw in the refrigerator before microwaving them until they’re hot.

See how to make the one pan zucchini turkey meatballs:

I hope you love these healthy one pan enchilada zucchini turkey meatballs! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and rating so I know how you liked them. I greatly appreciate it – xo!

One Pan Enchilada Zucchini Turkey Meatballs and Rice

5 from 12 votes
enchilada zucchini turkey meatballs in a skillet with melted cheese and rice
Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Meal Prep, One Pan
Cuisine hispanic
Keyword zucchini turkey meatballs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serves 4
Flavorful one pan enchilada zucchini turkey meatballs simmered with rice in a delicious enchilada sauce. This healthy one pan dinner recipe is packed with veggies like zucchini, bell pepper, corn, and poblano pepper, and is perfect for weeknights or meal prep!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Place a large deep 10 inch skillet (or large pan) over 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Recipe Notes

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!

To store: once complete cooled, portion out the meatballs and rice into glass meal prep containers and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Simply reheat them in the microwave.

To freeze: once completely cooled, portion out the meatballs and rice into freezer-friendly containers and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat simply allow the meatballs and rice to thaw in the refrigerator before microwaving them until they're hot.

Nutrition
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)
Calories: 551kcal
Fat: 16.9g
Saturated fat: 5.1g
Carbohydrates: 65.2g
Fiber: 3.8g
Sugar: 7.2g
Protein: 33.3g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

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