Spaghetti and Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
We all have our fallback recipes that we make at least monthly to cater to the whole family, and this Spaghetti and Meatballs in Marinara Sauce is one of those recipes for us. The marinara recipe is passed down from my mom, but instead of doing meatballs with it, we grew up having it with a chunky marinara that included the ground beef in the sauce. Both ways are delicious, nonetheless! There is plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables for a truly authentic Italian flavor. And best part is it’s all homemade for more freshness and less calories!
You know me, I’m all about quick and easy recipes. So why bother with homemade marinara sauce when you can use the store-bought kind, especially if you opt for an organic kind? Good question, and the problem is even if the label says it’s organic, a majority of these store-bought pasta sauces contain added sugar, but some sources show that a serving of some of these pasta sauces has more added sugar than a bowl of Frosted Flakes…Yowzers!
And, instead of using extra virgin olive oil, which is traditionally how marinara sauce is made, some opt for canola oil or soybean oil. Unfortunately, the seed- and bean-derived oils are full of unhealthy fats like omega-6s, a group of fatty acids that have been connected to increased levels of inflammation and weight gain. So, if you have a chance to make your own marinara using tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, onions, garlic and tons of fresh herbs in 15 minutes or less, I say why bother with the store-bought kind?! If you’re not too strapped for time, try this homemade version and you can leave out the meatballs, but they make this recipe so hearty and comforting…I love it!
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tbsp mixed fresh herbs, including basil, thyme and oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves, mined
- 1 tbsp minced onion
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 oz spaghetti noodles
- Basil for garnish
- Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
For the marinara sauce
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the chopped onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the onions soften, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the fresh herbs and salt/pepper to taste; then add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water and mix well.
- Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, while you form the meatballs.
For the meatballs
- In a large bowl using a fork, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Gently mix with your fork to blend all the ingredients well, without over mixing.
- Use a cookie scoop, or measure about 2 tablespoons each, to create about 10 meatballs. Form them with your hands if necessary. Set on a plate or pan.
- While the sauce is simmering, place all the meatballs in the saucepan and cook in the marinara with the saucepan covered for 10-12 minutes per side.