Incredibly easy and delicious healthy broccoli cheddar turkey meatball poppers with caesar or ranch dressing. Made in the oven or air fryer in under 20 minutes for gluten free appetizer, lunch, or dinner.
Best ever healthy appetizer
I just love meatballs. They are super easy to make and customizable. Plus meatballs make for the perfect snack, dinner, lunch, appetizer, or side dish. I mean does it get any better?? I think not.
This meatball recipe is savory, cheesy, and juicy. It’s made with a lean turkey and broccoli and topped with a creamy caesar dressing. Honestly, there is something about this flavor combo that is just ridiculously addictive! Your kids and family will thank you for making these easy meatballs.
Cheddar meatballs are ideal for Game Day, for a family dinner, or for a dinner party appetizer. Serve with ranch dressing or caesar dressing for a nourishing, filling, and delicious meatball recipe!
Are turkey cheddar meatball poppers healthy?
Not every turkey cheddar meatball recipe is “healthy.” That is why I am here to help! These easy cheddar cheese turkey meatballs are only made with 9 simple ingredients.
Each mini meatball is packed with 5 grams of lean protein! The broccoli adds loads of vitamins and fiber. Plus, they are gluten-free and grain-free. So, yes these meatball poppers are definitely healthy!
How to make riced broccoli (3 ways):
Ricing your own broccoli is easy! This recipe calls for 1 cup of fresh riced broccoli, not frozen. If you only have a head of broccoli, here are three methods to rice broccoli:
- Knife: Cut the broccoli florets into small 1-inch pieces with a sharp knife. Then chop into smaller grain-sized pieces. This method takes the longest, but it is well worth the extra time.
- Food Processor: Cut broccoli head into 1-inch florets and add about 2 – 3 cups of florets in a food processor. Pulse the broccoli florets until small rice-sized pieces are formed, this should take about 30 seconds to 1 minute of pulsing. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Blender: Cut the broccoli into 1-inch florets and add about 2 – 3 cups of florets in a high-speed blender. Blend the broccoli, pulsing if needed, until small rice-sized pieces are formed. Make sure to scrape the sides of the blender so the riced broccoli is evenly diced.
Ingredients in broccoli cheddar meatballs
You’ll only need a few, simple ingredients to get this easy 20 minute dinner recipe going! I am all about simplicity and ease, so don’t worry, you won’t need to go to the supermarket and buy a lot of expensive ingredients and spices. Kind of crazy how flavorful this meatball recipe is!
- Lean ground turkey: I reccomend either 93% for the juiciest meatballs, but 99% works well too!
- Egg: This helps bind the meatballs together.
- Panko bread crumbs: You’ll need regular or gluten-free bread crumbs to give these meatball poppers a fantastic texture.
- Riced Broccoli: You can buy pre-made riced broccoli or you can make your own following the steps below.
- Cheddar Cheese: For that cheesy flavor, add in shredded sharp cheddar cheese or your favorite alternative.
- Salt & Pepper: To your taste preference.
- Onion powder & garlic powder: These add the best flavor and are necessary for making these healthy turkey meatballs extra good.
- Caesar or Ranch Dressing: Pick your favorite for dipping! I love classic ranch dressing.
Easy ingredient swaps & substitutions
This tasty meatball appetizer dish is delicious as-is, but if you are missing an ingredient or two no worries! Feel free to change things up to customize it to your family’s preferences:
- Protein: Instead of using ground turkey, try this with ground chicken. Do not use 99% lean ground chicken because it will make the meatballs tough.
- Riced Broccoli: Rice your own broccoli or simply leave it out. You can try to use fresh riced cauliflower as well!
- Spiciness: For an extra little kick of heat, add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to the meatball mixture.
- Garlic powder: Instead of garlic powder, try 1 – 2 minced garlic gloves!
- Panko Bread Crumbs: Substitute with gluten free breadcrumbs, crushed almond flour crackers, or chickpea breadcrumbs.
How to make healthy broccoli cheddar turkey meatball poppers
These broccoli cheddar turkey meatball poppers are super easy to make in the oven or air fryer. They are seriously the perfect family dinner, meal prep, as a healthy appetizer, side dish, or date night dinner recipe.
Step 1: First, pre-heat your oven or air fryer to 350 F. In baking, line, and grease a baking sheet with parchment paper. If air frying, spray the basket with avocado spray.
Step 2: Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients together. If you are ricing your own broccoli, follow the instructions above!
Step 3: After that, using your hands, form 20 – 25 golf ball-sized meatballs.
To Bake: Evenly space them across the greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until browned and cooked through. For extra crispness and color: broil at 500 F for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.
To Air Fry: Evenly space out half the meatballs in greased basket (they should NOT touch). Air fry at 350 F for 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with the second batch.
Serve as an appetizer, side dish or for dinner with your favorite ranch dressing or caesar dressing. Enjoy!
Can I air fry meatballs?
Yes! You can absolutely make these healthy broccoli cheddar meatballs in the air fryer. It is actually faster to air fry meatballs than bake them in the oven!
If you want a little more crispness, I actually recommend air frying these turkey meatballs. By using the air fryer, each meatball is super crisp on the outside and moist on the inside!
How to store extra and meal prep cheddar meatballs
Keep any leftover cheddar meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 4 – 5 days.
To meal prep this recipe, be sure to let the meatballs completely cool before dividing into separate airtight containers. and store in the fridge. Reheat these turkey meatballs in the microwave!
Check these meatball recipes out next!
- Air Fryer Italian Turkey Meatballs
- Greek Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Tzatziki
- Healthy Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Turkey Meatball Poppers
- 1 lb of lean ground turkey, 93% or 99%
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs, gluten-free or regular
- 1 cup riced broccoli, fresh
- ⅓ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Caesar or ranch dressing
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line and grease a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.
- With your hands or a meatball scooper, form 20 - 25 golf ball-sized meatballs.
- To Bake: Evenly space them across the greased baking sheet. Bake for 16 - 18 minutes, until browned and cooked through. For extra crispness and color: broil at 500 F for an additional 2 - 3 minutes.
- To Air Fry: Spray basket with avocado spray and evenly space out half the meatballs (they should NOT touch). Air fry at 350 F for 8 - 10 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with the second batch.
- Serve as an appetizer or for dinner with your favorite ranch dressing or caesar dressing. Enjoy!
Recipe by Tati Chermayeff / Healthful Blondie + Photos by The Travel Palate
I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. In full disclosure, by purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. Thank you for supporting Healthful Blondie!
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