These Meatballs in Marina Sauce are full of flavor, addictively delicious, and easy to make. You will never want another meatball or marinara sauce recipe.
Last weekend was my mother-in-law’s birthday, and my parents were in town, so my husband and I wanted to cook dinner for everyone. There was a large group of people, including kids, so we decided lasagna was a safe bet. My mom helped me prepare a large recipe of my Sausage and Beef Lasagna, which was quite a hit!
I don’t eat much cheese, so I wanted to have a lasagna alternative for myself and anyone else who wanted something different. I decided to make spaghetti with meatballs in marinara sauce. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, I remembered that my mom used to have a good meatball recipe. I asked her about it, and she wasn’t really sure what I was talking about. Luckily, I found where I had written her recipe down about 15 years ago.
I used my mom’s recipe as a base for my meatballs. I soaked Italian breadcrumbs in milk, mixed them with the beef and sausage I had leftover from the lasagna, as well as an egg and some spices. Then, I browned them in the oven. They turned out DELICIOUS.
Next, I made a marinara sauce using Emily’s Baked Ziti sauce as the inspiration. I used several different types of canned tomatoes, and spiced it up until I was happy. Next, I added in the meatballs and let them simmer with the sauce. Honestly, it felt like a thrown together sauce. I almost didn’t write down what I did, but thank goodness I did, because y’all, it was amazing.
Almost every person in my family commented on the delicious taste of the meatballs and sauce. Initially I hadn’t taken photos, as I wasn’t expecting it to be ready for posting – but fortunately I had enough leftover to make myself a big ole’ plate that I could photograph and then eat for lunch the next day!
Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
I wish instead of showing you pictures that you could just reach through the computer and have a taste. But since that doesn’t work, you’ll just have to make them yourself! Here are a few tips and thoughts for these Meatballs in Marinara Sauce:
- Make sure to use the combination of mild breakfast sausage and ground beef. They both contribute the the meatballs’ delicious flavor.
- Do not use plain breadcrumbs; you’ll miss out on some flavor. I prefer standard Italian breadcrumbs, but have used Panko Italian, which yields a similar taste.
- Let the sauce simmer for an hour before serving. The time helps the flavors to develop.
- You can serve this over any type of pasta or on sandwiches. Heck, you can eat the meatballs on toothpicks as a snack or appetizer.
- I know a lot of people are anti-sugar. However, it gives the sauce a subtle sweetness that is addictively good. Just do it.
Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 2 eggs beaten
- ¾ pound mild breakfast sausage
- ¾ pound ground beef
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 14 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 28 ounces tomato sauce
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- 12 ounces tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ½ tbsp. dried marjoram
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat (this makes for easy cleanup).
- In a large bowl, stir together bread crumbs and milk. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. Then, stir in eggs, sausage, beef, salt, garlic, oregano, parsley, and mozzarella. Mix until well combined.
- Form mixture into about 1.5” balls. Place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, stir together all of the sauce ingredients until very well combine. As soon as the sauce begins to simmer, reduce to low.
- Add meatballs to sauce. Simmer on low for one hour, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over pasta, individually, or on sandwich rolls.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed these Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, you might enjoy these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Sausage and Beef Lasagna
Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
Instant Pot Rosemary Garlic Bread
Cheesy Chicken Lasagna
The Best Baked Ziti
Links to items used to make these Meatballs in Marinara Sauce: