Meatballs are a mainstay in our family dinners. I’ve been making them regularly for close to 15 years, when our firstborn, a die-hard fan of finger foods, would pop them in his mouth like pieces of coveted candy.
Our basic beef meatball recipe was clipped from the food section of The New York Times in 2004, but we’ve branched out over the years, making them from pork, chicken and turkey. They’re great spooned over rice, tucked into sandwiches, and (not so surprisingly) served with pasta and red sauce.
This toddler-friendly version packs a lot of protein into a tiny package that’s also laced with sweetness from shredded carrots and grated apples. The homemade glaze adds an extra layer of flavour, and in my experience, these mini meatballs are always worth making. I usually double the recipe so I can keep extras in the freezer for another day. My toddler likes to mix the sauce ingredients while I prep the meatballs, and he’s even a fan of brushing the glaze over the meatballs now that he’s really into painting.
If you prefer a crispier-coated meatball, return them to the oven after the second glaze and broil them for a few minutes until they begin to crisp and the sauce becomes thick and caramelized.
Tell us, what are your toddlers into eating these days?
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 1 small apple, grated
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Prep and Cook
- 1Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
- 2In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, maple syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, Dijon mustard and paprika; set aside.
- 3In a large bowl, stir together the ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, grated carrot, gated apple, onion and garlic powder. Mix well.
- 4Divide the turkey mixture evenly among the muffin cups and brush the tops with half the sauce.
- 5Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatballs is 165°F. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining sauce.