I’ve never met a meatball I didn’t like. Large, small, over pasta, with sauteed spinach, or on a toothpick. I’ll take them all please.
These Meatballs in Marinara Sauce prove that you don’t need breadcrumbs or parmesan. You really don’t. I’m going to make a believer out of you today. In fact, these meatballs are Whole30, gluten free, and dairy free.
Garlic, sauteed onion, and plenty of fresh herbs bring this dish to life. All my favorite things!
Plus I’m sharing my super easy marinara sauce as part of this recipe. It’s way tastier than a jar of store bought spaghetti sauce and surprisingly simple.
These meatballs and sauce are perfect over traditional noodles, spaghetti squash, or zoodles. Have you made zoodles before? You can quickly spiralize a zucchini and saute it in a quick 5 minutes! If you’re not in the mood for noodles (of any kind) try this recipe over wilted garlic spinach or simply with a side salad. Trust me, the meatballs and the sauce are good enough to stand alone. I may lick my plate if nobody is looking.
Having a party and serving appetizers? Add a toothpick to these meatballs and they’re party ready!
- FOR THE MEATBALLS:
- 2 lb lean ground beef (I use 93/7)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped (makes about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 egg
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (from a can)
- 6 good sized fresh basil leaves, chopped (makes about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped (makes about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- In a cast iron skillet or large pan saute your diced onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. Cook until onion is translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool some before combining your meatballs so you don't burn your fingers.
- In a large bowl, combine your ground beef, parsley, rosemary, egg, salt, pepper, and sauteed onion and garlic. Roll into meatballs the size you prefer. Mine are approximately 2 to 2½ inches in diameter. This produces 16 - 18 meatballs and perfectly fits my cast iron skillet.
- Add your remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to your skillet over medium high heat. Brown your meatballs on all sides (you may need to do this in batches so you have room to flip them). This takes approximately 3 minutes per side. Continue rotating your meatballs so that all sides are getting some love. Remove meatballs from pan and set meatballs aside.
- Scrape up all the remaining bits in the skillet and leave in there. That's going to make your sauce even better. (If you have a lot of grease I recommend draining that.) Add your crushed tomatoes (I buy the 24 ounce can but only use about 20 ounces), basil, oregano, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Place your browned meatballs in the sauce. Cover and simmer on medium low or low for 5-10 minutes. Use a knife to slice open one meatball and make sure it's cooked all the way through. Larger meatballs may take a bit more time.
- Garnish with chopped basil. Enjoy!
Made this? I’d love to see it! Tag me on Instagram if you share a photo so I can check it out!
Want another beef recipe? My No Bean 30 Minute Chili is one of my most popular and it’s super tasty!