After my first attempt at meatballs yielded a very dense product, I decided to go back to the drawing board. I read that using white bread and milk can really help make meatballs tender, so I incorporated those ingredients into the recipe. I also used a slightly fattier ground beef mix (85/15) and pureed the onions to add some more moisture. These adjustments really did the trick. When compared to my other meatball recipe, these had the right texture, but they weren’t as texturally interesting as the caramelized onion version I made before (check out that recipe here). If you like classic, tender, soft, meatballs, this is definitely the recipe for you.
Makes 30 meatballs at 1220 calories total or 41 calories per meatball.
- About 1 pound of 85/15 lean ground beef (240 cal. per 4 oz. or 960 cal. total)
- 1 large egg (about 70 cal.)
- 3 slices of light white bread (about 40 cal. per slice or 120 cal. total)
- 1/2 cup of skim milk (about 40 cal.)
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 small onion pureed (about 30 cal.)
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon oregano (I would go easy on the oregano, but that’s your call)
- About 32 oz. of tomato sauce seasoned to taste (about 20 cal. per 1/4 cup or 320 cal. total — but we won’t count all of these calories because only a little bit of sauce actually covers the meatballs when you eat them)
Suggestion: Try seasoning the sauce with garlic, salt, pepper, and even green peppers.
- Large mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon/spatula
- Cutting board
- Food processor
- Measuring cup
- Teaspoon measurement
- Large sauce pot or medium soup pot with a lid
- Optional: Latex gloves
- Take the ground beef out of its package and place into a large mixing bowl. Let it sit out of the fridge for a bit to get closer to room temp.
- Put your tomato sauce in a tall sauce pot or a medium soup pot and bring the sauce up to a simmer on medium heat. Once you get some bubbles, lower the heat to low.
- On the cutting board, peel and roughly chop the onion (discard the ends and the core) before placing the chopped onion into the food processor. Obliterate the pieces into a fine puree.
- In a bowl hand shred three pieces of light white bread and pour 1/2 cup of milk over the bread.
Note: In hindsight, I probably should have removed the crusts, but that is up to you.
- Using a fork or clean hands mix the bread and milk until it becomes a mush.
- Add the mushy bread, an egg (beat the egg first if you want), the salt, parsley, pureed onions and optional oregano to the ground beef.
- Using clean hands (or latex gloves) start to break up the meat and mix the ingredients. You do not want to mash the meat as much as churn it with your fingers. Just keep folding the meat with the rest of the ingredients until really well mixed, but loosely packed.
- After mixing, grab small pieces of meat and roll them gently between your hands to make balls. You can easily make anywhere from 25-30 balls. Just try to make them all about the same size. A tip would be to use something like an 1/8 cup measurement tool or 2 teaspoons of meat per meatball.
- Raise the temperature of the sauce to medium heat and carefully place each raw meatball into the simmering sauce.
- Once the meatballs are in, bring the sauce back up to a good simmer, cover the pot, and set the heat to low.
- Simmer the meatballs for around 25 to 30 minutes.
- After the meatballs are done remove from heat and serve them over pasta, or in a toasted sub with provolone cheese, or eat them as they are with a little grated Parmesan cheese.