Greek Meatballs in Spiced Tomato Sauce

April 27, 2018
3 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

These comforting pork and beef meatballs are called soutzoukakia and originate from the Greeks of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir in Turkey). You can serve them as part of a meze, perhaps with some warm flatbreads, or for a more substantial main, pair them with some steamed rice and a green salad. —Yasmin Khan

What You'll Need
  • Meatballs
  • 10 ounces ground pork
  • 10 ounces ground beef
  • 2.5 ounces panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped (extra to garnish)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium white onion, grated
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons ground paprika
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil, for greasing
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • ½ medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 handful chopped parsley, to serve
  • 1 splash extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
  1. Begin by preparing the tomato sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of light olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and then gently fry over a medium heat for about ten minutes, or until they are soft. Add the garlic and fry for another few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and cover. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix them together with your hands. Lightly grease a large baking tray with a light olive oil and, roll meat into about 20 1-oz balls and transfer them to the tray.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F. Brush the meatballs with a little more olive oil and then pop them in the oven and cook for around 10-12 minutes, turning frequently, until they are browned.
  4. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes so the meat absorbs the flavors of the sauce.
  5. Just before serving, sprinkle with some chopped parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Elise Chan
    Elise Chan
  • Mehlberg Doris
    Mehlberg Doris
Yasmin Khan is a food and travel writer and the author of the best-selling Persian cookbook The Saffron Tales.

2 Reviews

Elise C. October 17, 2022
This was terrific. I made this for lunch today. I had to lower the flame as I cooked the onion and added the tomatoes when they started to develop a little color on the edges. I also had to reduce the simmering time from 20 min to 10 for the sauce. I started with a small saucepan and then switch to a larger one since I did not read the recipe all the way through. I love the flavor profile. Better than anything I have had at a restaurant. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Mehlberg D. May 11, 2018
This is a excellent recipe; the seasoning is perfect. Declared a make again and again favorite.