Meatballs Baked In Tomato Sauce

Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs.  Can you say that three times fast?     😉  My grandmother’s Italian meatballs were the best.   I’ve not been able to recreate them since she’s passed away and I’m pretty sure I won’t find her exact recipe so I’ve been on a quest to find the “perfect” recipe.

I saw this tasty looking recipe on good old Pinterest.  These meatballs are not the typical Italian ones, but I thought I’d give it a try.  After all, there are lots of a fantastic meatball recipes out there and they aren’t all Italian.  These meatballs are seasoned with warm spices of paprika, coriander, and cumin and baked in a tomato sauce.

01Meatballs Baked In Tomato Sauce

Meatballs Baked In Tomato Sauce Recipe
(About 4 servings)


  • 1 (28 ounce) can of crushed Basil tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided per the directions
  • 1/2 tablespoon and 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided per the directions
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large (and somewhat deep) roasting dish, combine together the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon of salt.  Set it aside.
  3. In a skillet, heat the oil on Medium heat and cook the chopped onion until slightly brown and tender.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked onion, ground beef, minced garlic cloves, paprika, coriander, cumin, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  5. Roll the meat mixture into meatballs about the size of a golf ball.
  6. Drop the raw meatballs into the roasting dish of tomato sauce and cook in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked.

Adapted from:  Simply Delicious Food


Do you fry your meatballs?  My grandmother used to pan fry her meatballs and then finish cooking them in the sauce.  These meatballs cook entirely in the sauce.  I don’t know if one method is better than the other, although I do think it’s important that the meatballs marinate in the sauce for at least part of the process so that the meat juices flavor the sauce.

My grandmother used bread crumbs and eggs in her meatballs.  I thought a binder like that was necessary to form the beef into convenient balls, but in fact it’s not.  These meatballs do not contain any bread crumbs, bread chunks, or eggs.  They’re sort of like mini balls of meatloaf, but drowning in an awesome sauce!   This is a pretty nifty recipe for those looking for a gluten-free and dairy free meatball.     🙂  (Well, until you cover them in shredded cheese and put them on pasta anyway.)

02Meatballs Baked In Tomato Sauce

This sauce is a lovely thick tomato based sauce.  I’m still partial to my Marinara Sauce recipe and think that’s the best thing going.  However, that recipe takes 90 minutes to cook and this one takes 30 minutes.  Need I say more?

I served these meatballs and sauce over orzo.  Of course there has to be cheese at this party so I shredded some fresh Parmesan cheese on top.  I don’t think it’s possible to have too much cheese.  There really are meatballs hiding under all that whiteness.     😉

03Meatballs Baked In Tomato Sauce

I’m still searching for the perfect meatball recipe.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever find it but I am sure having fun trying all these delicious recipes.



3 Hats


Here are some other cozy comfort food meals.

Italian Meat Sauce

03Italian Meat Sauce

Bow-tie Chicken Alfredo

04Bowtie Chicken Alfredo

Tomato Basil Baked Gnocchi

07Tomato Basil Baked Gnocchi


  1. Comfort food at it’s best! I love baked meals 🙂

    1. Tina says:


  2. I heart the bajinkas out of meatballs. They are a great weeknight go too. 🙂 Jamie Oliver realised a range of foods, not sure if its just an Aussie thing, but he has meatballs and far out they are goooooooood! When I make meatballs, I put some breadcrumbs in too. Think it helps to bind. Anyways, gonna have a crack at your recipe.
    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend lovely one. xo

    1. Tina says:

      I love Jamie Oliver! I wish he still had a tv show in the US. He has great recipes (and he’s nice on the eyes 😉 ).

  3. Your quest for the perfect meatball sounds fun b/c you get to make beauties like these along the way!!! I love how easy these are, and that sauce looks so thick and delicious!

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks Cate! Have a lovely week. 🙂

  4. My family loves meatballs and these look lovely. I like that you kicked it up a notch by serving over orzo…brilliant!

    1. Tina says:

      I’m always trying to think outside the box a bit. 😉

  5. marcie says:

    I’ve been on a meatball kick lately and I have a post coming with them served over orzo too…we are on the same wavelength between these and the hand pies. haha This dish looks so tasty!

    1. Tina says:

      I saw your meatballs recipe yesterday…love, love love! Great minds think alike. 🙂 The more meatballs the better!

  6. who knew you could do meatballs without eggs and breadcrumbs!? My bubby’s meatballs are the best but no matter how many times I try to make them they never taste as good as her’s did. Maybe it’ll come with age 😉

    1. Tina says:

      Maybe it’s age…maybe it’s nostalgia. 🙂

  7. i have never made meatballs before, definitely something that i need to try. craving pasta tonight for dinner now, looks delicious!

    1. Tina says:

      I’m always craving pasta! 😉

  8. Pasta, meatballs and tomato sauce?? What a wonderful combo, Tina! Can I join you for dinner? 😉
    Enjoy your Sunday! xxxxxx

    1. Tina says:

      Come over anytime, my friend!! 🙂

  9. Grandmother’s food is always the best 😉 Though these look absolutely perfect as well – yum !

    1. Tina says:

      I agree! 🙂

  10. I think I would like the paprika here! Looks delicious. I agree that one can never have enough cheese 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Meatballs + cheese = awesome. 🙂

  11. My mom used to do the same thing she would fry the meatballs just to brown them on all sides and let them finish in the sauce. I think it makes them more delicious this way too. Interesting addition of cumin and lemon. This is a great fall dish and so comforting.

    1. Tina says:

      Bam, I think you’re right on frying them. I’m going to try that on my next meatball recipe. 🙂

  12. Kelly says:

    Meatballs are the perfect comfort food! I love that you don’t need eggs or breadcrumbs here, they look amazing with the orzo and marinara sauce 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks Kelly! Have a lovely week. 🙂

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