These oven-baked turkey beet meatballs are quick and easy to prepare, healthy, and most importantly baby and toddler approved! Be sure to double or triple the recipe so you can freeze some and pull them out for quick snacks or meals in the future.
Lately, I’ve been really intentional about actually sticking to our grocery budget, which I always set but had been doing an excellent job at going over month after month. And one of the biggest wallet breakers for us is meat. So what does a mama on a mission to save do when the ground turkey is on sale for $2 off at her local store? Stock up and freeze!
Needless to say, we’ve been eating a lot of ground turkey lately, and thankfully, I haven’t been hearing many complaints from my boys, bless their hearts. Probably because I’ve been developing all sorts of unique recipes using this super affordable, convenient, and versatile cut of meat.
Today, I want to introduce you to these turkey beet meatballs! They are juicy, super flavorful, and chock-full of all those critical nutrients that your baby or toddler needs! The perfect baby led weaning meatballs ;).
Ground turkey. Feel free to swap with chicken, pork, or beef.
Vegetables. Again, you can use whatever you have on hand. Mushrooms are the only non-animal food source of vitamin D, which is very important for babies (for all ages, really). It also helps bulk up the volume, making a pound of meat go a long way.
Beets. You can use raw beets but cooking them will make the meatballs more moist for the baby. See below for instructions on how to cook them.
Tahini. A great source of healthy fats, which babies really need! It imparts a subtle nutty flavor which is divine! If there’s a sesame allergy, you can substitute with other nut butters (make sure to thin out) or other seed butter.
Beets for Babies
Beets are nutritional powerhouses. They’re great sources of fiber, potassium, folate, iron, and vitamin C. And did you know that the red pigment is also a powerful antioxidant called betalains?
They’re essential for many cell functions and protect our cells against oxidative stress, which can damage cells. Perhaps knowing this will keep you from cursing as you behold their uncanny ability to stain everything!
Speaking of, if you’ve ever given your baby/toddler plain cooked beets, I commend you. As you can see in the picture, this is what I had to do to keep my sanity. Beets are what really helped ease his constipation during the early days so I say it was all worth it!
These meatballs will be a great way to get those essential iron and zinc into your little one. Always strive to offer an iron-rich source at every meal! Here’s more info on how to build a well-balanced plate. Oh, and let’s not forget. You’ll also appreciate the fact that they won’t be covered in red.
How to Cook Beets
For this recipe, you can use either raw or cooked beets. I tend to gravitate towards the latter because they are much more flavorful and makes the meatballs more tender and moist.
Roasting. This is my personal favorite. It truly brings out their natural sweetness. And while I personally like to roast them after peeling the skin and slicing for a crispier texture, it’s very difficult for babies to eat.
Here’s how to achieve the perfectly silky and tender beets that your baby will gobble up in seconds.
- Keep the skin on while roasting. Give them a good scrub and pat dry.
- Place the beets in a single layer in a greased baking/casserole dish and cover with a lid. Alternatively, you can coat the beet skins with oil and wrap loosely in foil (wrap big ones individually)
- Roast in the oven at 400F for 45-50 min. You can check the doneness by piercing it with a knife. It should cut through like butter
- Once cooled, peel and enjoy!
Be sure to cook a huge batch while you’re at it! Use some for these meatballs and enjoy the rest throughout the week. Throw them into oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, sauces, dips, salads, stir-frys, pancakes….delish!
Instant Pot. The downside to roasting is that while it’s simple to do, it does take a long time for the beets to get softened. Now that I’m a proud owner of the Instant Pot, when I’m pressed for time, here’s what I do!
- Place the cleaned beets on trivet or steam basket. Add 1 cup of water.
- Close the lid, making sure valve is at sealing.
- Press manual or pressure cook at high pressure for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.
- Do a quick release method by turning the valve from sealing to venting .
- Poke the beets with a knife. If it’s still too hard, cook under high pressure for an additional 2-5 minutes.
- Let it cool before peeling the skin with your hands.
Pre-cooked beets. Can’t beat the convenience of Love Beets!
Cook the vegetables so they’re nice and soft.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Don’t overwork the meat! Otherwise, you’ll end up with very tough meatballs.
Shape into small-sized balls and transfer to a greased or lined baking sheet.
Bake, flipping halfway through!
- Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days in the fridge.
- Freeze for up to 3 months. I personally flash freeze all my baked goods.
Other Meatball Recipes to Try:
Did you make this baby and toddler-friendly Turkey Beet Meatballs? Follow me on Instagram post a photo and tag me, post a photo on my Facebook page, or save it to Pinterest. I love to see what you’re making!
Kid-friendly Turkey Beet Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 medium cooked beets, shred on large holes of box grater (about 3/4 cups), squeeze out excess liquid
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook onion and mushrooms until softened, 3-5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix using your hands being careful not to overwork the meat.
- Shape into small-sized balls (see note). Place on a greased or lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway. Using a thermometer, make sure the internal temperature has reached 165F.
Looking for more baby-friendly recipes that the entire family can enjoy? My ecookbooks are packed with quick and easy, veggie-forward, freezer-friendly recipes!