Recipe: Meatballs with Secret Vegetables

Books like Deceptively Delicious have popularized “hiding” fruits and vegetables in foods to get your picky kids to eat healthy foods. These techniques are no surprise to me ““ I’ve been doing them for years. Not for picky children, but for myself.

As a supertaster, there are a lot of foods whose flavors and textures are very difficult for me to eat. Onions? Broccoli? Alcohol? Grapefruit? Kiwi? Can’t go near “˜em. However, I know how important it is to incorporate as wide a variety of healthy foods into my diet as possible, so I’m master sneak-artist.

Here’s one of my favorite (and easy!) sneaky recipes: Meatballs with Secret Vegetables


  • 1lb ground beef (I use the super-lean 93/07)
  • 1 large grated carrot
  • 2C chopped spinach
  • 1/2C chopped parsley
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • 1/4C Parmesan
  • 1/2C crumbled cornbread (optional)
  • Ground pepper


  • The chopped spinach and grated carrot provide enough moisture to balance using extra-lean beef, and I’ve never needed milk or egg to help bind the mixture or keep it from drying out.
  • If I have a grain, like bread crumbs, cornbread, or even rice I’ll throw it in, but this recipe doesn’t need a starch as a binder.
  • The measurements are really just approximations. I tend to throw in whatever amounts of ingredients I have and it hasn’t failed me yet.


  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Roll out golf ball-sized meatballs (or what people have told me is golf ball-sized. I wouldn’t know. I have a life and that life does not include golf).
  • Place on a foil-covered baking sheet (you may want to spray the foil with some oil first, as these meatballs like to stick).
  • Bake in a 400° oven for approximately 20 minutes.

I eat these meatballs with this soup and a side salad. The carrots add a nice sweetness that balances out the sharpness of the roasted garlic and Parmesan, and the greens stay fresh and crisp, even after cooking. Although I suspect I’ll cave and have some Swedish meatballs when The Rocket Scientist visits the new Ikea, these are still my favorites.


This post originally ran on our very friendly friend site, Interrobangs Anonymous.

4 replies on “Recipe: Meatballs with Secret Vegetables”

it’s always so validating to find other supertasters. I could never convince the people around me that lettuce is painfully bitter to me. Last year I discovered green smoothies, and I’m amazed to say I’ve been eating multiple cups of raw kale and collards 5 times a week for a year and a half! way to go hiding veggies!

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