Make Ahead

Meatballs with Tomato andΒ Zucchini

September 16, 2013
10 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

These meatballs harbor a secret: their sauce is on the inside! You soften onion, garlic, tomato and zucchini in olive oil and then fold it into the meat for meatballs that are tender and juicy enough to eat all on their own -- though they're worthy companions for a batch of your favorite sauce as well. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomato (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 pound ground chuck (85% lean)
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  1. In a medium sautΓ© pan, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes and zucchini, and a few more pinches of salt, and continue to cook until the vegetables are very soft, and most of the juices from the tomatoes and zucchini have cooked off, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Work everything together gently using two forks -- be careful not to over-mix. Then, using your hands, gently work in the egg and the cooled vegetables until just combined.
  3. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add about half of the meatballs, making sure not to crowd them. Brown them on all sides, turning them with tongs, and then cover and reduce the heat to low finish cooking (they should take 5 to 8 minutes total). Drain the meatballs on paper towels, add a little more oil to the pan and cook the rest of the meatballs. Serve the meatballs on their own, or warm them in a pot of your favorite sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gail 🐝
    Gail 🐝
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    LeBec Fin
  • marynn
  • Juliette Harris
    Juliette Harris

6 Reviews

Juliette H. January 2, 2021
Hands down one of my favorite recipes. I make at least once or twice a month. My son insists that I make it too. 🀀
Gail 🐝. August 20, 2015
My husband loved the meat balls and though they were better than my others as they were not dry in the middle.
LeBec F. March 23, 2015
oh my goodness- i could just EAT HER UP for breakfast!
Gail 🐝. January 20, 2015
I love courgettes (zucchini) but my husband hates them. He loves meatballs so will let you know how it goes.
Gail 🐝. January 20, 2015
Thank you for a great meatball recipe
marynn February 7, 2014
Perfect addition to my grandchild repertoire from a newish mom, nutritionally savvy, professional chef! I love this column because it helps me mold young palates for the global community/flexitarian/more veg than meat world. Please keep these coming!