Healthy Recipe Thursday: Baked Spinach Meatballs


 Baked spinach meatballs recipe | Easy, quick recipe for meatball recipeNot a fan of spinach?  No worries.  You may not even taste it in this dish.  Which, btw, features one of my favs — meatballs.  They’re just so yummy.

Sometimes I gently fry them in canola oil, sometimes I bake them.  It doesn’t really matter taste-wise as I always drop them into a bubbling pot of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, a pork chop or other piece of meat or chicken, a good dose of garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, and a bay leaf or two.  In other words, spaghetti sauce.  Its yumminess blends with that of the meatballs, keeping them moist and flavorful even with you don’t have the added fat of frying.

This recipe for spinach meatballs intrigues me.  I’m sure I don’t have to go on about the nutritious punch you get from spinach. You also get a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids with this recipe because it features grass-fed beef, an important choice when you’re interested in clean eating for  healthy weight loss to take you to your natural, healthy weight.

It brings to mind, however, a recent op-ed piece I read on the “myth of sustainable meat.”  There are no simple answers.  (Update: See Joel Salatin’s response, in which he refutes many of the claims in the op-ed.  Salatin is a sustainable farmer mentioned in it. Thanks to Kristen for the heads up.)

Of course, you can use regular beef, but the nutritionist in me encourages otherwise. She also encourages you to enjoy!


If you’re gluten-sensitive, rice pasta is a great alternative to regular pasta.  I like the Tinkyada brand.  Also, Against the Grain, a Vermont company, makes a great gluten-free baguette you can use for a sub sandwich.  I also like to use gluten-free oats instead of bread crumbs to make meatballs.  I soak them in a bit of milk first to soften and add moisture; you can use soy or almond milk or even a broth if you are sensitive to dairy.

Thanks to The Talking Kitchen for this recipe, which btw, I found via the great website Healthy Aperture,  a food photo sharing site founded by two registered dietitians.

Spinach meatball photo and recipe reprinted with permission from and

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6 responses to “Healthy Recipe Thursday: Baked Spinach Meatballs”

  1. Marsha says:

    Thanks, Kirsten! That’s good info that warrants an update on the post.

  2. Beth says:

    Can you use a blender instead?

    • Marsha Hudnall says:

      Beth, you can try it but sometimes a blender doesn’t work as well as a food processor. In my experience, you need more liquid in a blender to chop things adequately.

  3. Dana Pelletier says:

    This looks awesome! I’ll leave out the pasta since there’s too many carbs, and gluten. I saw the alternatives you offered, thank you! Pesto would be great as well.

  4. roro says:

    does anyone know how long these are baked for? flip after how many minutes? and the temperature setting?

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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