This pasta night classic checks all the boxes — lots of fresh veggies, healthy lean meats and everything comes together in just one pot (plus a baking sheet).
4–6 servings (makes approximately 21 2-inch meatballs)
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 28-oz. can tomatoes (crushed)
- 28-oz. can stewed tomatoes (whole)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5–2 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1.5–2 lbs. ground turkey (or veal or pork)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. kosher salt, divided
- 2 Tbsp. pepper, freshly ground
- In a medium-sized Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onions and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, bell peppers and garlic, then mushrooms, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
- Remove half of this cooked veggie mix and set aside for meatballs.
- In same pot with remaining veggie mix, add Italian seasonings, tomato paste, then stir to combine.
- Add both cans of tomatoes, then bay leaves. Let tomato sauce come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 1 hour, covered, or up to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium-sized bowl combine meats, remaining half of cooked veggie mix, panko, 2 eggs, parsley, 2 Tbsp. kosher salt, pepper and parmesan. Mix together with a spoon until combined.
- Form meat mix into 2-inch round balls and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until browned on top. Place meatballs in sauce and cook uncovered at a simmer for 20–30 more minutes.
- Serve over noodles of choice and garnish with grated parmesan and basil if desired.
Note from Kelsey
I love to make this in a larger portion and store half in the freezer. Meatballs can be frozen raw.