Ricotta Zucchini Meatballs Recipe

4.75 from 8 votes
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Experience the melt-in-your-mouth magic of these ricotta zucchini meatballs, expertly made with a combo of cheeses and deliciously topped with warm tomato sauce. This easy zucchini recipe is the perfect solution for utilizing your summer zucchini harvest!

Zucchini Meatballs served on a dinner plate over some noodles and topped with tomato sauce and grated parmesan.


Also known as Polpette di zucchine e ricotta, these vegetarian zucchini meatballs pack a punch of flavor that’s so good and irresistible. Prepared with zucchini and ricotta, they are a light treat that combines nutrition and indulgence. Made from freshly grated zucchini, these “meatballs” offer a delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into your meals. The zucchini lends a light, delicate flavor to the meatballs while ensuring they remain moist and tender. Adding ricotta cheese provides the meatballs with a richer, smoother consistency and adds a delicious creaminess.

Ricotta Zucchini Meatballs served on a dinner plate and topped with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.

Why I Love This Zucchini Recipe

  • Vegetarian-Friendly: This recipe offers a fantastic vegetarian alternative to traditional meatballs, making it a great choice for those who are vegetarians or simply looking to reduce their meat consumption.
  • Nutritious: Zucchini is low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making these meatballs a nutritious choice. (Source)
  • Versatile: They can be served in various ways – over pasta, on a sub for a vegetarian meatball sandwich, or even by themselves as a hearty appetizer or snack.

Ingredients For Zucchini Meatballs

  • Zucchini: I used 3 zucchini and grated them with a cheese grater.
  • Yellow onion: Also grated
  • Garlic
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Freshly grated parmesan
  • Egg
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Seasoned salt & black pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Coconut oil for frying, you can also use vegetable oil
  • Tomato sauce or pasta sauce

How To Make Zucchini Meatballs

  1. Grate zucchini and onions using a box grater or food processor. Mix in garlic.
  2. Bundle grated veggies in a cheesecloth or paper towel, twist and squeeze to remove excess water, then set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix ricotta, parmesan, egg, panko crumbs, seasoned salt, black pepper, Italian Seasoning, and basil. Add the drained zucchini mixture, mix well.
  4. Form the mix into 12 golf-ball sized meatballs.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Heat an inch of oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat.
  6. Cook the “meatballs” in batches in the skillet for about 5 minutes, until browned on all sides. Transfer them to a paper towel lined plate.
  7. Once all the meatballs are cooked, place them back in the skillet, pour tomato sauce over, and broil for 4-5 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and meatballs are fully cooked.
  8. Serve the meatballs over pasta, garnished with freshly grated parmesan and chopped basil.
Zucchini meatballs are cooking in a cast iron skillet and in tomato sauce.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Drain the Zucchini: Zucchini has a high water content. To ensure your meatballs don’t become soggy, drain the zucchini well after grating. Use a clean dish towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  • Cheese Swap: If you can’t find ricotta or prefer a different cheese, you can substitute with cottage cheese. It has a similar texture and will still lend a nice creaminess to the meatballs.
  • Bread Crumbs: The recipe calls for panko breadcrumbs, but you can also use regular breadcrumbs if that’s what you have on hand. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, almond meal could work as well.
  • Frying Oil: If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, you can use other high-heat oils such as canola oil or avocado oil.
  • Serving Options: While these meatballs are delicious with pasta, they’re also great with my recipe for spaghetti squash for a low-carb option, or you could serve them with a side of polenta, risotto, steamed vegetables, or a fresh salad.

Proper Storage

If you have leftovers, transfer the zucchini meatballs to an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 1 to 2 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. They can be reheated in the oven or microwave when ready to serve them again.

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4.75 from 8 votes

Ricotta Zucchini Meatballs Recipe

Delicious zucchini meatballs with ricotta and parmesan cheese, topped with a warm and bubbly tomato sauce!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 3 zucchini,, grated
  • 1 small yellow onion,, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic,, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan,, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil,, plus more for garnish
  • coconut oil for frying,, you can also use vegetable oil
  • 2 to 3 cups tomato/pasta sauce
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  • Grate the zucchini and onions on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor.
  • Place in a large bowl and stir in the garlic; mix until everything is well combined.
  • Transfer the zucchini mixture to a large sheet of paper towel or cheesecloth; wrap up the zucchini mixture and twist it tightly into a ball. Squeeze the ball over the sink or a bowl to catch all the water.
  • Unravel the cheesecloth and set the zucchini mixture aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, panko crumbs, seasoned salt, black pepper, Italian Seasoning, and basil; stir until everything is well combined.
  • Add the zucchini mixture to the ricotta mixture and continue to mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Shape the mixture into 12 golf-ball sized meatballs.
  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Add an inch of oil to a cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
  • In batches, add the "meatballs" to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, occasionally turning until browned on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Once all the meatballs are done, add them back to the skillet and pour tomato sauce over them.
  • Broil for 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce is warm and bubbly and the meatballs are completely cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and let stand a couple of minutes.
  • Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and chopped fresh basil.
  • Serve.


  • Thoroughly drain zucchini after grating to prevent soggy meatballs.
  • Cottage cheese can be used if ricotta is unavailable.
  • Breadcrumbs: Regular breadcrumbs or almond meal (for a gluten-free option) can replace panko breadcrumbs.
  • Oil Choice: Canola or avocado oil can be alternatives to coconut oil.
  • Freezing: Leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the oven or microwave.
  • To lower the sodium content, use part-skim ricotta, half the seasoned salt, low-sodium panko crumbs, and no-salt tomato sauce.


Serving: 3meatballs | Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 1444mg | Potassium: 861mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1047IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 211mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Linda Monteith says:

    Hello, I am just wondering which answer is closest 5-6 cups or 2.5 cups zucchini?

  2. Lisa Moro says:

    I want to make these as they look great and the reviews are great. But I need to know an actual measurement for the shredded Zucchini. As we know they come in all sizes. It says 3 zucchinis. I have some out of my garden that are the size of my arm. Great for stuffing but I am sure 3 of them would not be the case for this recipe. Can you please give an estimated measurement?

    1. Katerina says:

      Hi! Yep, those are too big. 😁 I’d estimate around 5 to 6 cups of shredded zucchini.

  3. Teresa Kuzyk says:

    I tried frying the meatballs & found them sticking to the pan. Very messy. Then I tried a few in the oven on parchment paper, baking at 400 for about 20 min. They worked out excellant! So needless to say, I baked the rest of them. They held they shape much better than in the frying pan.
    Love this recipe! Will be making them again!

    1. nunu says:

      Thanks for this tip. I was thinking that this would be the case.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Really tasty

  5. Joy Elliott says:

    Can these be frozen ?
    Thank you

    1. Katerina says:

      Yes, they freeze well.

  6. Cindy says:

    How many cups of zucchini do you use? Zucchini vary so much in size. I’d love to make this recipe!!

    1. Katerina says:

      I’d say about 2.5 cups shredded zucchini.

  7. Ula says:

    Hello Katerina, I’m going to make these tomorrow. 😊 I’m just thinking… Are these 4 servings? Greetings from Germany!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Hi! 👋
      This makes about 12 to 15 “meatballs” and a serving is about 3 meatballs per person. I hope you’ll like them! ☺️