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Quick Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

These Quick Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are perfect for topping over spaghetti or using to make meatball subs. They are flavorful, and satisfying and come together in under 30 minutes!

spaghetti and meatballs on a plate

Dinner time around here is one of my favorite times of the day. Just after our afternoon stretch of tidying up the house and putting away the last bits of homeschool lessons for the day. I arrive in my kitchen, ready to turn on the music, relax and cook. For me, cooking is something I look forward to especially when I am making a family favorite like these Quick Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce. These are comforting, and flavorful and bring an aromatic treat to the kitchen while cooking. So much so that it is almost impossible to wait to try them. I like standing in the kitchen with my daughter, shaping the balls of meat and chatting over the days events. It is a highlight on any day.

For the ultimate spaghetti and meatball experience, make your own pasta with this Basic Egg Pasta Recipe. There is nothing quite as satisfying as fresh pasta with meatballs.

Main Ingredients

Ground Beef- I use either 85%-90% lean grass-fed ground beef to make these. I would suggest ground beef that is at least 80% or higher when making meatballs.

Italian Seasoning- I like to use dried Italian seasoning for my meatballs and sauce as it works great for this recipe. You can use fresh if you would like but keep in mind the ratio is 1 part dried to every 3 parts fresh.

Garlic- I like to use fresh cloves for these meatballs. But you can use jarred if you would like. I use three large cloves for this. Which is about one heaping tablespoon of jarred minced garlic.

Bread Crumbs- I use plain breadcrumbs for this recipe since we are using plenty of herbs and garlic to make these meatballs.

Parmesan Cheese- Parmesan is completely optional in this recipe. The meatballs are delicious with or without it. I like to use freshly grated parmesan when I do add it in and it is certainly delicious to garnish the meatballs with when serving.

Egg- I use one large egg which helps bind the meatballs.

Salt- I like to use sea salt and for this recipe 1 tsp is perfect. You can use regular table salt if you would like.

Cracked Black Pepper- I add about 1/2 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper to add some spice.

Olive Oil- I add olive oil to a skillet to fry these meatballs up and find a 1/4 cup to be the perfect amount of oil for the 85-90% lean ground beef I suggest using. You can also use vegetable oil to fry them.

For The Sauce

Tomatoes– I use crushed tomatoes to make my simple tomato sauce. This way the sauce is ready to be enjoyed quickly!

Red Wine- I like adding a splash of red wine to make tomato sauce to add a little depth of flavor. I use whatever I have on hand but the best to use are Merlot, Cabernet, or a red blend.

Sugar- To help balance out the flavors I like to add a touch of sweet with a tsp of sugar to the tomato sauce.

What You Will Need To Make The Meatballs

1 lb ground beef (85%-90% is suggested)

1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning

3/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1 tsp sea salt

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cracked black pepper

1 egg

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup fresh parmesan (optional)

For The Tomato Sauce

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of sugar

1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning

2 garlic cloves

Directions

In a bowl use your hands to combine the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, cracked black pepper, and parmesan.

ground beef and spices
little girl rolling meatballs

Shape the meat into balls that are about 2 inches thick. This will be about 12 meatballs.

little girl rolling out meatballs in bowl

Heat a skillet with olive oil. Place the meatballs in and allow them to fry for about 2 minutes on each side before rotating them.

meatballs cooking in a skillet

To cook them through this should take about 10 minutes. When the meatballs are nice and browned, remove them from the skillet.

meatballs cooking in a skillet

Add the crushed tomatoes directly to the skillet with the leftover bits still in the pan. Give the pan a good stir to work up the bits with the spoon. This helps give the sauce a nice flavor. Add the salt, Italian season, garlic, and wine. Allow the sauce to come to a low simmer then add back the meatballs to the sauce. Allow the contents of the pan to simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

meatballs in sauce in a skillet

Serve over a bed of pasta or use it to make meatball sandwiches.

spaghetti and meatballs on a plate

Cooking Notes

  • Be sure to thaw the ground beef before starting. A quicker way to thaw is to place the frozen ground beef in a bowl of warm water and allow it to sit on the counter.
  • There is no getting around it, the best tools for making meatballs are your hands. So wash up and don’t be afraid to dive in.
  • Use a heavy-bottomed skillet to try up these meatballs, I like using my cast-iron skillet to fry them up as it gives them a nice crisp texture on the outside of the meatball.
  • You can opt to slow simmer the meatballs by frying this in less time and then allowing them to simmer on low in the tomato sauce. This recipe is for making them in under 30 minutes, so they are quick!

FAQ

Can I use ground turkey to make these?

You can easily substitute out ground turkey for ground beef in these meatballs.

If using fresh herbs, how much will I need for both the meatballs and the sauce?

Dried herbs are much stronger than fresh ones. The ratio suggested is 1 dried to 3 fresh when using dried over fresh. You will need about 6 tbsp of fresh Italian herbs for the 2 tbsp of dried needed to make both the meatballs and the sauce.

Can this recipe be doubled for larger batches?

This recipe doubles very well and a double batch will get you about 24 meatballs in total with 12 servings.

How much pasta should I make for the amount of sauce and meatballs in this recipe?

I use 12 oz of spaghetti-style pasta which gives me the perfect amount to make 6 servings with 2 meatballs per serving and a scoop of sauce over.

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If you try this recipe and love it, I would appreciate you coming back to give it 5 stars! Or tag me on Instagram @rox_quaintlife!

Yield: 12 Meatballs

Quick Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

meatballs in sauce in a skillet

a delicious Italian-style meatball in a simple tomato sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 llb 85%-90% Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan plus more to garnish (optional)
  • For The Sauce:
  • 1-28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of red wine (merlot, cab or a red blend)

Instructions

    1. In a bowl use your hands to combine the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, cracked black pepper, and parmesan.
    2. Shape the meat into balls that are about 2 inches thick. This will be about 12 meatballs.
    3. Heat a skillet with olive oil. Place the meatballs in and allow them to fry for about 2 minutes on each side before rotating them.
    4. Cook them through this should take about 10 minutes.
    5. When the meatballs are nice and browned, remove them from the skillet.
    6. Add the crushed tomatoes directly to the skillet with the leftover bits still in the pan.
    7. Give the pan a good stir to work up the bits with the spoon. This helps give the sauce a nice flavor.
    8. Add the salt, Italian season, garlic, and wine.
    9. Allow the sauce to come to a low simmer then add back the meatballs to the sauce. Allow the contents of the pan to simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
    10. Serve over a bed of pasta or use it to make meatball sandwiches.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

2 Meatballs

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 1103mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 12g

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