Sage-and-Walnut Pork Meatballs

January 5, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Who doesn't like a good meatball? I thought pork might work better than beef in letting the flavors of the sage and walnuts shine through. I added a few other ingredients and was left with a meatball with definite Italian leanings. I ate one for lunch on toasted Italian sesame bread with marinara sauce, but you could just as easily serve them with pasta, on a toothpick on their own, in a Asian-inspired sandwich, in a soup.. the list goes on. I looked to The Meatball Shop cookbook for cooking-method advice. Cristina Sciarra

Food52 Review: cristinasciarra's recipe makes for lovely, well seasoned meatballs. I especially liked the contrasting textures of the nuts and meat. Her instructions are great, and it's very easy since you don't fry them, but bake them all at once in a baking dish. So far we have had them with a red sauce, on a hero, in a vegetable soup, and I have portions frozen so we'll be eating them all winter. Which makes me happy. I didn't taste as much sage as I would have liked, so I might up the amount - even double - the next time I make them. And I will make them again. deanna1001

Makes: 30 golf-ball sized meatballs


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 2 pounds ground pork shoulder
  • 2 large eggs
  • sea salt, black pepper
In This Recipe


  1. Toast the walnuts: on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, at 350F for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, then roughly chop.
  2. In a medium pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sage, and cook until fragrant. Add the garlic. After about 1 minute, add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Turn off the heat, and allow to cool.
  3. Transfer the onion/garlic mixture to a large bowl. Mix in the lemon juice and zest, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, ricotta and toasted chopped walnuts. Add the ground pork shoulder and the eggs and mix gently by hand until completely incorporated. Add salt and pepper, to taste. (You can test this by cooking just a small amount of the mixture.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 450F. Roll balls a little larger than a golf ball. Set the balls next to each other inside a glass baking dish. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the center of a meatball reads 165F. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

More Great Recipes:
Meatball|Breadcrumbs|Lemon Juice|Pork|Sage|Walnut|Serves a Crowd|Make Ahead|Christmas|Fourth of July|Entree|Appetizer

Reviews (8) Questions (0)

8 Reviews

Ms. T. January 22, 2012
Congrats on the CP, these sound fantastic! And I love the idea of putting them in a soup. Adding this recipe to my list!
Author Comment
Cristina S. January 22, 2012
Awesome, I hope you enjoy!
deanna1001 January 14, 2012
I'm looking forward to this! I'm going to freeze some of them...would you suggest cooking then freezing, or forming the meatballs and freezing raw?
Author Comment
Cristina S. January 14, 2012
I did the same thing. I cooked them all, and then froze them in small batches. I think it's easier to freeze them cooked.
Author Comment
Cristina S. January 19, 2012
Thank you for your kind review, deanna1001! :)
deanna1001 January 19, 2012
You're very welcome. They are delish!
deanna1001 January 13, 2012
Uh...where's the pork? ;-)
Author Comment
Cristina S. January 13, 2012
Oh my goodness! It appears only half of my ingredient list loaded, and only half of the procedure! I have corrected it now. I'm sorry, these pork meatballs definitely contain pork!