Sounds hilarious, but this crockpot turkey meatloaf zucchini ball recipe is a quick and easy meal that’s ready when you are!
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A zucchini in disguise
I am growing the cutest little zucchinis in my garden this year! They are called eight-ball zucchinis and they grow into a round ball instead of the long boats that we are accustomed to.
I first saw this variation at an Amish farmers market that I visit throughout the season. They come in both the traditional green and yellow varieties and I thought to myself, “wouldn’t they be great to stuff”! I always grow the traditional zucchini at home and watch it very carefully so as not to let them get too big.
This is the first year I have tried growing the zucchini balls and they are as easy to grow as the regular version. I got my seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but you can look up “8-ball” zucchini on your favorite seed website.
Zucchini is one of my favorite summer vegetables to grow and eat. Although zucchini bread is my favorite sweet to make with this wonderful veggie, I also love stuffing them for a complete and healthy meal.
Zucchini does well in hot sunny climates. I don’t even try to start my plants until well after spring frost is done. Zucchini seeds can be sown directly into the ground and grow rather rapidly at 50 -60 days.
Zucchini requires a lot of room, as the plants produce large leaves, so if you don’t have the garden space, plant them individually using a 5-gallon bucket.
When it’s time to harvest, small to medium size zucchini with dark green skins are the most nutritious and flavorful. This summer squash grows rapidly, to keep a close eye on them and grab them before they become too big. If you do end up with a large one, simply hollow it out and stuff that baby!
Zucchini stores well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks if left unwrapped. I like to place mine in the crisper drawer. They also do well left on the counter for a few days.
Health benefits of zucchini
Zucchini has a mere 20 calories per cup, so you can load up on this veggie without guilt. Zucchini is loaded with vitamins A and C, plus helps with healthy gut digestion. This versatile veggie is also an antioxidant powerhouse!
Zucchini is used in both sweet and savory dishes. There’s nothing like a homemade chocolate or lemon zucchini bread, fritters, cakes, and relish. Savory zucchini can be chopped, diced, sliced, and spiralized. The uses of this vegetable are endless!
Ingredients for crockpot turkey meatloaf zucchini balls
- 4-6 eight-ball zucchinis
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1/2 small onion – diced
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 – 3/4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup of your favorite cheese, shredded (I use mozzarella or provolone)
- 1 small jar marinara sauce
How to make crockpot turkey meatloaf zucchini ball recipe
Combine all ingredients except marinara in a bowl until it just comes together. Do not overwork the mixture. Slice the tops off of the zucchini balls and use a small spoon to remove the inner seeds and flesh. Leave a small edge of inner flesh within the ball.
Stuff turkey meatloaf mixture into each zucchini ball. If you have extra stuffing, simply pile it on top of the balls. Place a small amount of marinara in the bottom of the crockpot and set zucchini balls into the pot. Cover the stuffed balls with remaining marinara. Place lid on the crockpot and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low until meatloaf is cook through and zucchini is tender.
This zucchini ball recipe is also great to use with regular zucchini that gets a little too big in the garden (you know, the ones that look too small one day then is as big as your house the next). You can also cook these in the oven instead of the crockpot at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes. If you don’t like turkey, substitute ground beef or chicken! You can also amp up the veges by adding chopped peppers, mushrooms, or carrots to the meat mixture.
I like to use the crockpot in the summer when it’s too hot and bake them in the oven when the weather is cooler. Just like the zucchini, it’s a versatile recipe. Give it a try and let me know in the comments below how you like to stuff your zucchini ball. Thanks for stopping by!