Friday, March 21, 2014

Spinach Meatballs with Homemade Marinara

Don't you love when you can sneak veggies into a delicious meal? This recipe uses an entire bag/carton of fresh spinach! My family loves this dish. It also makes enough for another night's dinner...or freeze the meatballs and use next week...or make meatball many options!

Thanks again to my friend, Sabrina, for sending me this recipe. She has a big family as well, so she knows how to cook for them!

Spinach Meatballs (slightly adapted from

1 lb ground beef
5 oz fresh spinach (one bag/carton)
2 slices bread (I use older sourdough, any can do)
1 large egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil

1. Give entire 5 oz of fresh spinach a rough chop. Steam spinach in microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes until it is warm and slightly wilted.
2. Add to mixing bowl: ground beef, wilted spinach, beaten egg, garlic, parsley, parmesan cheese, healthy dose of salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of each). Barely wet bread with water, squeeze out excess water over sink, and crumble bread into mixing bowl. Mix all with hands until thoroughly combined.
3. Using tablespoon, scoop out meat, and form small meatballs (each is about one tablespoon in size, possibly slightly bigger).
4. In large skillet or nonstick pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add as many meatballs as you can without them touching each other. Allow meatballs to cook and get a nice sear, then turn to other side. Continue to turn meatballs every 3-5 minutes until all sides are browned and centers are pretty much cooked through.
5. Place meatballs on paper-towel lined plate. Freeze half if you want. Save the rest to cook for 15-20 minutes in the below homemade marinara sauce.

Homemade Marinara Sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion (or one small onion), chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 package of angel hair pasta (or full package if feeding a crowd)

1. Heat olive oil in skillet (skillet needs to have a lid or cover). Add chopped onion and allow to cook until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a couple minutes (don't let garlic burn!). Season with a little salt and pepper (if you have a little red wine, deglaze pan with about 1/4 cup red wine, and allow alcohol to cook off).
2. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, dried basil, chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes, add meatballs, simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring pasta water to a boil, and cook angel hair noodles as directed.
5. Finish marinara by adding in remaining 1 tbsp fresh basil. Remove bay leaf.

Serve all together and enjoy!

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