Sunday, November 1, 2015

Spicy Meatballs Baked in Sauce

I have to admit that I had some doubts that this recipe could be as good as my other recipe for meatballs, but let me say that these most definitely made par.
They are also much easier than the others. No sautéing veggies. No waiting for ingredients. No baking meatballs separately. This one is almost a one pot meal (three dishes is pretty much just as easy), which as someone who hates doing dishes, is definitely a plus.

These came out moist and cooked to perfection. I didn't miss the veggies one bit.
But if you do, it's easy enough to fit some veggies into the sauce before you bake it.


I also made some cheese-less and meat-less ones with tofu.
They didn't come out as well, but I'm not too big on tofu.
And the sauce was just as delicious baking with the tofu instead. 

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest


  • 1 pound ground beef (or sausage)
  • 2 thick slices soft whole grain or white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped OR 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (may use regular molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean chile paste) (optional)* (here's a substitute recipe if you have sweet rice flour)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 (28 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (optional) (can sub in chili powder, cumin, coriander, and paprika) 
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 ounce provolone, shredded
  • fresh oregano, for serving
  • pasta, for serving


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
Add the ground beef to a mixing bowl. Take the bread and run it under water until dampened, but not soaked. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the the bread and then crumble the dampened bread into pieces and add to the bowl with the sausage. To the bowl, add the egg, oregano, cumin, molasses and Gochujang. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into 2 tablespoon size balls (will make 10-12 meatballs. I make mine a bit big so I got 10). Place the meat balls in the prepared baking dish and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside, but not yet cooked through on the inside.
While the meatballs are baking, combine the olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, harissa (if using) and a pinch of salt + pepper in a bowl. Once the meatballs are ready, pour the sauce over them. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes longer or until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the foil and add the cheese. Place back in the oven until the mozzarella and provolone cheese are melted and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh oregano and your favorite pasta.

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