Lunchtime with littles can be a challenging time. Sometimes time is limited and having a prepped meal is convenient for those rushed lunch times!
Toddler needs something simple yet packed with nutrition for their meals ( like chicken nuggets) and this easy baked chicken and veggie meatballs checks all the boxes.
These chicken meatballs were a big hit in our household, my little one loved the texture and flavor. Not to mention his daddy ate the rest before dinner! So they disappeared in no time.
I almost always have these meatballs in my freezer so I can quickly whip up lunch on those busy days.
Health Benefits of Chicken Meatballs:
This recipe is packed with all the good nutrients for growing little ones. Chicken is of course known as one of the best sources of lean protein. Protein is good for muscle growth and bone health.
Bell peppers :
Colorful bell peppers make these meatballs tasty and packed with health benefits. You can either use 1 small bell pepper or ¼ of 4 different colored bell peppers. I wanted ours to be full of color so I used each of the 4 colors of bell peppers.
The veggies packed in these meatballs are rich in antioxidants and vitamins that contribute to many health benefits. They also give the meatballs so much flavor to help diversify taste palettes.
Bread crumbs :
Bread crumbs help bind the meatballs together. You can always opt for gluten free bread crumbs.
Parmesan : to give an extra bit of flavor.
Oregano is a spice that can be used to add flavor to food.Oregano has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which make it a beneficial herb for toddlers.
Rosemary is another herb that packs flavor. It is great to introduce your toddler to different herbs and spices from a young age.
Eggs in this recipe is used for binding the meatballs together as well.Eggs are a great source of nutrients for toddlers.They provide protein, choline, vitamins and minerals. If you want to make chicken meatballs without egg then look at our substitution below on how to use apple sauce in this recipe.
Bell peppers – so the idea here for these meatballs is to pack them with veggies. If you’re sure you don’t want to use the bell peppers, try other veggies like spinach, carrots, or zucchini. When using watery veggies just make sure to squeeze all the juice out before mixing it.
Bread crumbs – you can always sub in gluten free or whole wheat bread crumbs here.
Parmesan – you can skip the Parmesan all together if little one has a dairy allergy.
Egg – 3 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce
How to make Chicken Meatballs
First thing you want to do, of course, is to chop up your bell peppers. You want them diced pretty small so they cook properly and you can pack plenty in each meat ball. This also ensure that the bell peppers are not a choking hazard for your baby or toddler.
Then you will add everything into a mixing bowl and mix together by hand (warning: it gets sticky)
Then take a tablespoon and scoop out your mixture a tablespoon at a time and roll into balls.
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes at 350°F.
Serve with pasta, or by themselves!
How to store:
The best thing about this recipe is that its freezer friendly. There are a few recipes that I always batch cook and throw them in the freezer and this one is one of them.
You can store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or store in the freezer in a sealed a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
To reheat, just warm in the microwave if not frozen. If frozen, reheat in the oven (or an air fryer works great too if it has the “bake” setting!) at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes or until the center of the meatball has reached 165°.
Toddler Chicken & Vegetable Meatballs Recipe:
- 1 pound Ground Chicken
- ¼ green bell pepper diced
- ¼ yellow bell pepper diced
- ¼ red bell pepper diced
- ¼ orange bell pepper diced
- ¾ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried or fresh rosemary
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp salt (optional)
- Begin by preheating your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
- Chop your bell peppers into small pieces (diced)
- In a mixing bowl, add all your ingredients and mix with your hands.
- Scoop about a tablespoon worth of the mixture into your hands and roll into a ball.
- Place on parchment paper and repeat
- You should end up with about 20 final meatballs
- Bake at 350°F for 18 minutes.
Tips to Serve Baby or Toddler:
- Serving meatballs with a dip is always a hit with my kids. You can serve them with ketch up, BBQ sauce, or even just a simple dip of olive oil and herbs. My kids even dipped these with yogurt, hey, whatever works!
- You can even try to involve your toddler in making these meatballs. Kids are more likely to eat new foods when they are involved in the process. They can help simple tasks like mixing, stirring or even rolling these meatballs. It can be fun bonding time with your little one.
- Serve these meatballs as is as a snack or serve them with rice or pasta for a complete meal. Since these meatballs have good amount of veggies you don’t need anything else to make it a complete meal other than some carbs.
- Try this recipe with different veggies to expose your toddler to veggies that they would otherwise not eat. There are many options to try – bell peppers, grated carrots / zucchini or thinly sliced spinach. Just remember to squeeze out the liquid if you are using watery veggies like zucchini.