Just starting out on the feeding journey with your little one? You’ve come to the right place! I’ve got a delicious Baby Meatballs Recipe to set your little one up for success when it comes to meeting their nutritional needs. Whether you are starting with the baby led weaning approach or a more traditional pureed feeding approach, this recipe is perfect for both!
Beef is a fundamental first food thanks to its nutrient profile with all-stars like iron and zinc! Plus, the best part is its family friendly too (aka, mom does not have to be a short order cook!)
Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. managed by NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep the Shaw Kitchen running!
Every bite your baby takes counts, especially in the first 24 months of life! Starting your baby with beef as a complementary first food can ensure they get nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Women Infants and Children’s Program and now for the first time ever, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend introducing solid foods, like beef, to infants and toddlers, in order to pack in every bite with protein, iron, zinc and choline.
As you may remember from my post here, iron-rich foods, like beef, are especially important for healthy brain development. Serving nutritious foods babies and toddler love to eat, like beef, is simple and easy—puree, mash, chop or shred meat at various stages to meet their changing feeding needs.
Now that we’ve got that squared away, let’s make these Baby Meatballs!
What You Need to Make this Recipe
- I have only made this recipe with mushrooms and carrots, so cannot confirm how modifying the vegetables would taste. But, early exposure to these produce picks is a great addition to expanding their flavor profile.
- Note, I do not use salt in this recipe as infants really do not need any additional sodium in their diet. For adults enjoying this, use a sauce with the meatball that has your preferred taste preference or, alternatively, simply season at the table to taste.
How to Make this Recipe
Steps 1 + 2:
Start by getting your produce chopped and grated. Then preheat the oven and begin sauteing your mushrooms and carrots in the olive oil.
Steps 3 + 4:
Add the cooked veggies into the ground beef, spices, and egg bowl. Mix together, then add in the oats.
Steps 5 + 6:
Once meatball mixture is combined, spray baking sheet or large casserole pans and roll meat mixture into ½-ounce meatballs (yielding about 42 mini meatballs.) Place in oven and cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (or about 18 to 20 minutes.)
Steps 7 + 8:
Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve as desired based on the appropriate age of your infant, toddler, child, or partner!
Sample 8- to 18-Month-Old Plate
- I like to serve this with a no salt version of my Avocado Pesto Sauce and a slice of avocado covered in hemp seeds. This allows an easier grasp for the child to pick up.
- You can serve this earlier in the feeding journey as well depending on your child’s progression and if you’ve already introduced potentially allergenic foods (like eggs) separately to rule out any reactions.
Please remember If you have questions about starting solid foods, consult a physician or health care provider.
Sample Adult Plate
- Moms, this is for you! Pair the meatballs with my Vegan Coleslaw and slather that Avocado Pesto Sauce on the sides of a whole-grain bun for an easy one-handed, stress free, nutritious meal!
- This Baby Meatballs Recipe is pretty simple so for my exhausted mamas out there, you don’t have to worry about messing this up. The biggest thing to remember is making sure the mushrooms and carrots are finely chopped and grated so they are the appropriate portion sizes in the meatballs.
- If you prefer to use a varying binder other than the oats, I suggest using either infant fortified cereal or garbanzo bean flour.
- You can make this in a bigger batch, too, and freeze for later so you can just pull out and enjoy!
Cooking Better Beef Tips
To set you up for even more kitchen success when cooking with beef, here are some of my top #simpleswap tips!
- Beef’s tender, juicy texture is optimum when cooked to medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness. As noted above, ground beef should be cooked to 160°F!
- For steaks, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side so it penetrates the thickest part of the center of the steak not touching the bone or fat. After cooking, let steaks rest before serving.
- To determine the perfect doneness for a roast, insert an ovenproof meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, not resting in fat or touching bone, for about 15 seconds. Remove thermometer, continue cooking, if necessary. Temperature will continue to rise 5 degrees F to 15 degrees F after removing from oven to reach desired doneness. Allow 15 to 20 minutes standing time.
Try These Other Beef Recipes with Your Crew
As your kids get older and can tolerate more sodium, I suggest trying these recipes (both lightened up!) They are huge hits and a great way to get iron in for growing kids and teens!
Baby Meatballs Recipe
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup white mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot finely grated
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium sauté pan, sauté olive oil with chopped mushrooms and. grated carrots over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Transfer to a large bowl and mix with the ground beef, spices, and egg. Mix together until uniformly combined, then add in the oats and mix again.
- Spray two large baking sheets, or two 9 x 13-inch casserole pans, with a light olive oil mist. Portion meatball mixture into ½-ounce balls and place on sheet. Repeat until all meatball mixture is used (this should be about42 meatballs give or take based on the ½-ounce portion.)
- Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees F. Remove and let cool before serving.
- For beginner eaters following the baby led weaning approach, serve1 to 2 meatballs with a slice of avocado covered in hemp seeds. Consider serving with my Avocado Pesto Sauce for a fun, flavored-filled, nutrient-rich dip.
- For beginner eaters following a traditional pureed approach, consider blending the meatball with the Avocado Pesto Sauce and spoon feeding the puree to your child.
- For adults and moms who only have one-hand to eat, make it into a. meatball sandwich using the Vegan Coleslaw and Avocado Pesto Sauce as a fun topping.
- Please remember If you have questions about starting solid foods, consult a physician or health care provider.
- The old-fashioned oats help bind the meatballs, but can easily be swapped with fortified infant cereal or crushed Cheerios too for a vitamin D boost.
- While I haven’t tested this without the egg, if your child has an egg allergy, consider making a flax egg to provide a similar result.
- Baby Meatballs are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer in an air-tight container. If in the refrigerator, use within 5 days; if in the freezer, use within 3 months.
For more information regarding introducing beef to your child, be sure to visit Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner here! And don’t forget to connect with me on social, I love seeing the creations you are inspired to make based on my recipes! Connect with me on Instagram – Facebook – or Pinterest!