I may cook quite a few “exotic” or complicated dishes, but sometimes something simple and comforting and nostalgic really hits the spot. And when it comes to nostalgia and comfort food, it’s hard to beat an old-fashioned, but easy, Italian meatball recipe. Just thinking about spaghetti and meatballs makes me smile.
You can serve this the classic way, with spaghetti and marinara sauce, but they’re also great for making a fast Italian wedding soup. If you don’t want the soup right away, just increase the recipe, and make a few extra meatballs and pop them in the freezer. Then days, or weeks later you can defrost them and treat yourself to soup in a few minutes.
I’ve kept this recipe simple, and easy, but you can change it to suit your own tastes and preferences. Check the end of the post for some inspiration. You can make it spicier, swap the bread crumbs for oatmeal or potato starch (to make it gluten-free), or use turkey instead of beef. A mixture of pork and beef is good too.
Substitutions and Variations for Easy Italian Meatballs
- use a mixture of ground beef and pork, instead of just beef
- add more garlic
- add oregano
- if you don’t have breadcrumbs, grind up some oats in a mini-chopper, use quick-cooking oats, or try potato starch
- use ground turkey or chicken instead of meat (if you do, I recommend getting the dark meat turkey; it tastes better)
- add a splash of sriracha
Easy Meatball (and Ground Beef) Recipes for One
A bit messy, but worth the extra napkin, this Sloppy Joe recipe is wonderful comfort food. Heck, a friend saw the recipe and wanted some right away! It may bring back childhood memories, but this is for grownups. It packs a bit of a kick.
Make your meatballs, add some broth, and other standard ingredients, and you have soup. And you don’t have to chop for an hour or wait for it to simmer either.
Turn your burger into a gourmet treat with compound butter. Soften the butter, mix in some herbs, and add that to your ground beef. The beef is moister, more flavorful, and tastes wonderful, with very little effort.
A delicious change from the usual ragu. There’s not a tomato in sight. Instead, this dish has ground beef, sausage, white wine, and earthy porcini mushrooms, blended with a touch of cream.