Spinach Meatballs

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Spinach meatballs made with lean ground beef, frozen spinach, onions, garlic, and spices are delicious with pasta, rice, in salads, or sandwiches.

217 CAL 7g CARBS 8g FAT 30g PROTEIN 4

These healthy meatballs with spinach are easy to make, taste amazing, and are great to have on hand in the freezer.  They are some of our favorite healthy meatballs along with these Healthy Greek Meatballs and Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs.

I don't know about you, but every time the spring comes around, my intentions of endless salads for dinner (to kick-start healthy eating and lose the winter chub) usually end about one day later. Don't get me wrong, I love a good salad, but between the lingering cold weather, early sunsets, and general tummy rumblings – I am ready for something hearty and satisfying when dinner time rolls around. Sometimes I need more than lettuce.

I still want to eat veggies, though. I just want them to arrive on my plate in a different form at times. I do like to vary my meals. Luckily for me (and everyone, really) there are so many ways to incorporate tons of veggies and lean proteins into a delicious, light, and healthy meal that will still satisfy you and keep you full.

It is in that vein that I present to you today's recipe. Sure, it's "just" meatballs, but not just ordinary meatballs. These are packed with spinach, onions, and garlic — all ingredients that bring tons of flavor without a lot of calories. And, that, my dear readers, is the key to avoiding salad burnout.

Spinach Meatballs on a white plate with fresh basil and wooden tongs.

Ways to Serve Spinach Meatballs

Meatballs are soooo versatile!

  • Pair them with zucchini noodles, sweet potato spirals, or carrot ribbons — any way you like your veggie pasta can't be wrong.
  • Low-carb or high-fiber pasta go great with these meatballs.
  • Try serving the meatballs on top of another kind of grain like quinoa or even cauliflower rice. Top with a simple marinara and you have a perfect meal.
  • Add these meatballs to a low-carb wrap or a hoagie roll with some provolone, marinara sauce, banana peppers, and red pepper flakes. Heat it under a broiler until the cheese gets nice and brown and bubbly.
  • These meatballs would be yummy inside some wonton wrappers with a little Buffalo mozzarella and then baked. (You might need to halve or quarter them to get them to fit inside a wrapper.) Seal the wrappers with egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes or until the wrappers turn a golden brown. Dip in marinara sauce for the perfect finger food.
  • Speaking of finger food, these meatballs make a great appetizer. Make them a little smaller than you usually would, bake them, and serve them all in a dish with a toothpick in each one. Have sauce on the side for dipping.
  • Make meatball sliders with some tiny rolls or Hawaiian bread.
  • Add these meatballs on top of some pasta (veggie, whole wheat, high fiber — your choice) and top with marinara and some shredded mozzarella. Bake in a casserole dish at 325 for 20 minutes and enjoy.
  • You can put these meatballs cold or warm into a lettuce wrap and sprinkle with some tzatziki sauce (or other yogurt-based sauce). Trust me, this works!

Ideas for Customizing Spinach Meatballs

Meatballs are an easy thing to customize, and these are no exception.

  • Use any kind of meat that you have on hand. Obviously, ground works best (unless you feel like grinding your own meat). Ground turkey or chicken sausage (out of the casing) would be yummy, too. Remember, the more fat the meat has in it, the greasier (and more fattening) your meatballs will be.
  • Use any kind of onion you have — red, white, or yellow, just remember to chop it really fine. You don't want to actually see your onion pieces in your meatballs, just taste them.
  • You can use an Italian spice blend if you have that on hand. It'll save a step and save you from having to search through your entire spice drawer looking for those specific spices.
  • You can always cut back on the garlic, I like mine with a lot of garlic but you may not.
  • If you want to go to a different flavor profile with these meatballs, you can start with this recipe and add in feta and minced black olives as well for more of a Mediterranean meatball.
  • You can sub out the spinach for another leafy green. You can use Swiss chard or kale, just make sure it's cooked before it's added to the meatballs.
  • Not feeling meatballs? Make a meatloaf. Use the same mixture, and add to a greased loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your loaf pan. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.
  • Parmesan cheese is delicious in these meatballs as well. Consider adding 1/4 cup grated Parmesan to the mixture before cooking.
  • These meatballs are also great without the spinach — add veggies to your meal another way if you don't want to mix it in with your meat.

Healthy meatballs made with beef and spinach piled on a plate.

How Do I Make Paleo Meatballs?

Good news — these meatballs are already Paleo. I didn't use breadcrumbs so this recipe doesn't need to be changed in any way.

How Do I Cook Meatballs in the Slow Cooker?

If you want to cook these up in the slow cooker, make them as instructed, then layer them in a single layer on the bottom of a greased slow cooker (it's okay if some of them have to go on top of the others). Pour two cups of marinara over the top of the meatballs and cook on low for 5 -5 ½ hours.

This recipe was originally shared in 2014 but has been updaed with new photos, recipe instructons, and tips. Here is the original photo.

Spinach meatballs with marinara sauce on a plate.

The Recipe
Spinach meatballs with lean beef and chopped spinach on a plate with tongs.

Spinach Meatballs

217 CAL 7g CARBS 8g FAT 30g PROTEIN 4
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  • 1.5 lbs. 95% lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Defrost the spinach and squeeze out all the excess moisture using cheesecloth or a paper towel. Make sure to really squeeze out the moisture because too much moisture will cause the meatballs to crumble.


Combine the ground beef, spinach, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper with your hands until just mixed.


Roll out the meatballs, using a rounded tablespoon for each meatball, and place them on a prepared baking sheet.


Bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked through.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 4 meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 217
Calories from Fat 23
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 105mg
Sodium 231mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 1g
Protein 30g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


Parmesan cheese is delicious in these meatballs as well. Consider adding 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Spinach Meatballs
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Debra J Smith
March 15, 2019 - 03:50
Can you use fresh spinach
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Mary Beth
March 15, 2019 - 09:10
That's what I plan to do. I'll just chop it very finely.
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