I’ve spent more money on those pretty recipe books you find in the grocery store checkout line than I’d care to admit, but for the most part I’ve never been disappointed in them. A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of Cook Real Food Every Day, not because of the title (isn’t all food you’re gonna cook by and large “real”?), but because there was an entire section on how to make the most of 1 pound of ground beef. Since I am a huge fan of stretching a pound of meat (hello beef & potato tacos!), and I respect a publication that respects my money, I decided to shell out $12.99 for said magazine. Oh the irony!
At any rate, the pricey mag contained lots of great recipes that I’ve given a go, including this one. Now truth be told, after the first pass making these, I found the flavors to be a bit bland, but the ground beef meatballs were moist and I figured after tweaking things a bit, they’d be economical and flavorful. The enhanced oven baked meatball recipe turned out dynamite. And since the meatballs were paired with the flatbread, it made for a fairly filling meal, making the meatballs go even further. Turns out I even had three leftover for lunch the next day!
These meatballs also taste great straight out of the fridge on a salad, which is how I had them the next day, and I imagine they’d also be great with an over easy egg and some sauteed spinach for a nice weekend breakfast.
See below for the adapted recipe, and make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss a post by me. I send out one email newsletter each week on Friday morning, recapping the posts and any other interesting links I find around the web that week.
What’s Needed for Baked Meatballs?
To make the ricotta meatballs themselves, you’ll need:
- Ground beef
- Whole milk ricotta cheese
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Onion granules
- Lemon zest
- Kosher salt
And for the creamy ricotta spread, you’ll need:
- Whole milk ricotta cheese
- Fresh parsley
- Lemon zest and juice
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Sun-dried tomato oil (from the jar)
How to Make Easy Baked Meatballs
To make the ground beef meatballs, simply add all the ingredients to a bowl and combine. Roll the mixture into balls, place onto a foil-lined baking tray, and bake.
Stir together the creamy ricotta spread while the meatballs bake. Then, it’s just a matter of assembling your flatbreads and eating!
How Long Do You Bake Meatballs?
I made a dozen ground beef meatballs with this recipe and baked them for 15 minutes before broiling them for an additional 2 minutes.
Can You Freeze Meatballs?
Yes, freezing meatballs is incredibly simple. Once these ricotta meatballs have baked, let them cool completely before sealing them inside a freezer bag. You can reheat the meatballs from frozen in the microwave, oven, or in a skillet.
Other Tips for Making Baked Meatballs
If your kids don’t love sundried tomatoes, you can definitely omit them from the meatballs and just use them as a garnish. But definitely don’t skip the ricotta cheese, as it lends a nice creaminess and helps them stay moist.
Note that whole milk ricotta is a must for this easy baked meatball recipe. Low-fat ricotta is much more watery and doesn’t have as much flavor.
Ricotta is a very mild cheese, so when making the spread you’re really going to have to play around with the seasoning and flavors to make sure you hit just the right amount of salt and acid for your personal preferences. Salt and add lemon juice bits at a time, and taste as you go.
More Ground Beef Dinner Recipes:
- Ground Beef Picadillo with Cauliflower Rice
- Slow Cooker Bolognese
- Ground Beef and Potato Tacos
- Slow Cooker Budget Stew
Easy Baked Meatballs With Ricotta & Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- 1 large egg , lightly beaten
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp powdered onion granules
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice (depending on acidity of lemons)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1-2 tsp kosher salt , to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp sun-dried tomato oil from jar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Combine all the meatball ingredients and roll into equal size balls so you have 12 meatballs.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then broil for 2 minutes to aid in browning.
- For spread, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and salt to taste.
- Spread ricotta mixture on flat bread and add meatballs. Garnish with onions, parsley, and more sun-dried tomatoes.
- Ricotta is a very mild flavored cheese. If you want your spread to have more punch, add additional salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice in small bits to taste. I prefer a zinged up version but some may prefer milder, so it's all about tasting as you go!
- Recipe adapted via Cook Real Food Everyday