Meatballs can be a lot of work to make, but these oven baked meatballs make this family friendly dinner get to the table faster and boy are they a real crowd pleaser!
Feeding a crowd is what I do whenever we have family come over. It’s a Persian thing. My kids are blessed to have their cousins as best friends. And of course, everyone is in your personal business!
Well, my dear niece, Nassim, is graduating from college this weekend. The family dinner party will be held after the graduation and Nassim wanted all of her favorite foods for that night. From me, she requested my baked meatballs.
How can I say no?
I am picky about meatballs, from their flavor and what’s hidden inside of them. I have made them over and over, changing the recipe each time, until I get it right. I used to fry them in a pan, but that took way too long. Now I bake them in oven, which is less work for me and the faster it gets on the table!
Best meat for meatballs
I have made all beef meatballs and turkey meatballs. I’ve mixed beef with pork and even tried ground chicken. I found the best flavor combination for Italian-style meatballs is combination of ground beef (80/20) and Italian sausage.
You can buy the uncooked sausage links and simply squeeze out the meat mixture and discard the casings. Or you can use already seasoned ground sausage mix.
I personally prefer spicy sausage mix, but my family isn’t too into spicy. So if I do use spicy, I only use a little bit and instead use sweet sausage mix.
Can I make these gluten free meatballs?
Meatballs typically have bread crumbs or milk soaked bread in them. The bread makes the meatballs less dense and more… fluffy! But with so many people avoiding carbs or have gluten sensitivities, it’s time to adapt.
If you have allergies to gluten, then you can use gluten free bread crumbs or make your own by toasting and drying gluten free bread. You can also mix in about 1-cup cooked rice or cooked quinoa.
For those of you who want to go low carb, you can omit the bread crumbs altogether. With or without quinoa or breadcrumbs or whatever, this is a great recipe that can be made in advance and baked.
Is this Alton Brown’s meatball recipe?
When I first looked into making oven baked meatballs, I turned to Alton Brown’s recipe. This recipe is loosely based on it. I have modified the ingredients to our personal taste and baking these babies in a baking sheet and not a muffin pan.
I also find myself doubling even this recipe! I personally try to limit my carb intake and love eating these meatballs alone with marinara sauce. Feel free to serve them with your favorite pasta or even make up some meatball subs.
These beauties are also delicious chopped and topped on your homemade pizza.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage, spicy or sweet
- 5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2/3 cup bread crumbs, seasoned or plain
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 2 TBS dried parsley
- 1 TBS dried basil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients thoroughly. Just use your hands to mix everything together.
- When ingredients are evenly distributed and mixture is smooth, use immediately or place in refrigerator, covered for up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF
- Form meatballs, rolling them into 1-1.5 inches in diameter and place on a baking sheet, leaving some space in between. You will make approximately 25 meatballs.
- When oven is hot, bake until meatballs are browned, about 20-25 minutes.
- If serving with pasta, boil pasta water while meatballs are baking.
- If using marinara sauce, pour over meatballs and bake again for 5-10 minutes then serve.
To make these gluten free, use gluten free bread crumbs or omit bread crumbs altogether.
Serving Suggestions: Serve these meatballs alone, with your choice of pasta, make meatball subs or chop and bake on top of a pizza. If serving a crowd, keep warm in a slow cooker with marinara sauce.
You can use regular pork Italian sausage or lean turkey sausage.
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Serving Size:about 3 meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 971mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g