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Kalyn's Kitchen

Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are delicious and kid-friendly!

Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’m going through a process of updating some of my earliest recipes with better photos and sometimes improved instructions, and when I came across this recipe for Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce recently I decided it really needed a facelift. (Thankfully Blogger has now improved their system so earlier recipes can be updated without breaking the links, thank you Blogger!) Truthfully, when I first started blogging, it never occurred to me that people would be finding my earliest things more than two years later, that’s how clueless I was about the internet.

(Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce was updated with better photos, October 2007.)

The recipe was adapted from one for Old Fashioned Meatballs I found on Epicurious.com, and even though I jazzed it up a little, truly it’s one of the more family-friendly recipes on my blog. The meatballs and sauce cook together in the oven, which means that the ground beef and Italian sausage flavors the basic red sauce. If you’re cooking for a family, this is something most kids will like, it’s South Beach Diet friendly if you use Turkey Sausage, lean ground beef, and 100% whole wheat bread crumbs, and there are lots of possibilities as to how to serve it.

Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.comUse a tablespoon to measure meat so you can make uniformly-sized meatballs to insure they cook evenly.

Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.comYou need a pan or casserole dish large enough that the meatballs will not be completely submerged in sauce.

Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.comBeef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe adapted slightly from Old Fashioned Meatballs at Epicurious.com.)

1 pound ground beef, 15% fat or less
3 links hot Turkey Italian Sausage, about 12 oz. (squeeze out of casings)
1/3 cup 100% whole wheat bread crumbs
2 T flax seed meal (optional, but good)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. minced garlic,
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese,
salt-pepper to taste
Additional Parmesan for sprinkling over meatballs

Sauce Ingredients:
2 cans diced tomatoes. pureed with food processor or immersion blender
(I used Muir Glen fire roasted organic tomatoes)
1 T minced garlic (or less, I used garlic puree in a jar)
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
(can substitute 1 T Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle for the oregano and basil)
salt to taste (I used McCormick’s Mediterranean Sea Salt which I received as a sample, and it was great in this.)


Remove ground beef and sausage from refrigerator, squeeze sausage out of casing and let meats come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 F.

Put breadcrumbs (and flax seed meal if using) in large bowl and add 1/3 cup very hot water. Let sit a few minutes until water is absorbed, then add eggs, teaspoon of garlic, grated Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Add ground beef and sausage to mixture, then use your hands to combine breadcrumb mixture with meat.

Spray glass casserole dish or roasting pan with nonstick spray, then use a tablespoon to measure out meatballs, rolling them in your hands to make them round. Arrange meatballs so there is a small space between each meatball.

Use a food processor or immersion blender to puree canned tomatoes. Put tomatoes in bowl and add minced garlic, herbs, and salt. Pour sauce over meatballs. Sprinkle rest of Parmesan cheese over. Bake 35 minutes, or until firm and bubbling. Serve hot, with additional Parmesan sprinkled on top.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Use lean ground beef, turkey Italian Sausage, and 100% whole wheat bread crumbs to make this if you’re following the South Beach Diet. You could eat this with Dreamfield’s Low Carb Pasta if desired, or just serve as a meat dish. This would be great with a salad like Arugula and Gorgonzola Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Nutritional Information?

I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn’t have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

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24 comments on “Beef and Sausage Meatballs in Tomato Sauce”

  1. Always glad to hear that; thanks for letting me know.

  2. Wow! I loved these. I took them to a picnic and they were a bit hit.

  3. Kari, personally I wouldn’t sub all the breadcrumbs with flax seed meal, but it might work if you really like the taste of flax seed meal. I’m guessing it might be kind of strong with that much. Love to hear how it works if you do try it.

  4. Have you ever substituted all the breadcrumbs with flax seed meal? If so, what was the conversion ratio?

  5. ~m, that version does sound good. I don’t have a cookie scooper, so that’s why I use a tablespoon. You can definitely mix ground turkey or chicken with meat, because this recipe uses turkey sausage, so I’d use one of those for Swedish meatballs. I don’t remember the original recipe, but I think there is a link there back to Anne’s food where I found the recipe.

  6. Hi Kalyn,

    I’m back to let you know that I made these even lower in carbs – and they still rock and are a huge staple around here. I use the “butcher’s mixture” that I mentioned previously, add diced pepper and shredded carrots, omit the cheese, and add flax seed meal and almond meal (you could probably bind with just one of these too) until I get the necessary texture (no, I don’t measure! :)).

    I also had two questions about your Swedish meatballs. First, how much cinnamon did the original recipe call for? Also, if I don’t eat pork, what other meat should I substitute? Veal? Lamb? I’ve heard that it’s unwise to mix poultry and red meat since they need to cook at different temperatures, but it might not be a problem here, as the ground meatballs cook completely through (I do eat chicken and turkey, too).

    By the way, I highly recommend using a cookie scooper to make meatballs (or falafel) – super easy and quick!

    Take care!

  7. Hi M, thanks for the update. Glad to hear you liked how it turned out. I do love the Lundberg brown basmati rice too, one of my favorite brands of brown rice for sure!

  8. Hi Kalyn! The meatballs were a huge success! I made them with just 1 lb of ground meat – 1/3 beef, 1/3 lamb, 1/3 veal, and added diced red pepper and onion and served over brown rice Tinkyada spaghetti. The leftover short grain “Lundberg Brown Sweet Rice” that I used in lieu of the whole wheat crumbs and flax does not have added sugar or other ingredients – just “organic brown sweet rice.” Honestly, I wouldn’t buy this rice again since I don’t like its mouthfeel – too sticky – but it works well for salmon patties and meatballs. For eating, I really enjoy Lundberg’s brown basmati, which is probably less starchy. Thanks for the great and easy recipe – we were craving meat and now we got to eat three kinds!

  9. M, good suggestion to include the sausage by weight; I will edit when I get done writing this comment. The brand of turkey sausage I buy comes in a package where 5 links = 19.5 oz. so three links would be not quite 12 oz. I think it wouldn’t need to be that exact on the sausage.

    Yes, brown rice is good for South Beach, but I’m not familiar with sweet brown rice. Is there added sugar? That would not be SB friendly, and in general sticky rice wouldn’t be as good for SB as long grain rice (less starchy.)

  10. Yumm! I’m going to try to adapt this recipe to be gluten-free by using some leftover Lundberg sticky/sweet brown rice (I think the brown rice still allows it to qualify for South Beach friendliness, right?). But first, a quick question: How much does the turkey sausage weigh? Thanks, Kayln!

  11. I don’t know whay I don’t do meatballs more often – I love them! Particularly with a generous helping of cheese on top 😉

  12. OMG! I’m long term…Yikes!
    Love meatballs. I think I update recipes every time I use them… As we learn more about nutrition and find new ingredients, we refine..
    Great that blogger lets you do that!

  13. Love your version of meatballs…seems less fussy than my version!

  14. I’m a huge meatball fan. I prefer baking them in the oven too. The picture looks so good, I think I’m going to make some meatballs this week!

  15. The 9 comments above were left when this recipe was first posted in February 2006, which might be an interesting history lesson for some of you long-term bloggers.

  16. This looks so good, Kalyn. Thanks for making me hungry!

  17. Yum! I could eat this on Dreamfields noodles, and DH could eat it on a crusty roll for a meatball sub. Great recipe, Kalyn.

  18. Ooooh, those look great. I love meatballs.

  19. Sounds so good! I think sausage always makes meatballs taste so much better.

  20. Neil, I love the Penzeys spice blends and their other regular spices too. I think I’m their best customer. I’m hoping they will give me free spices for all free advertising I’m giving them.

  21. I love meatballs, too! These look scrumptious – I’m going to make some this weekend!

  22. Looks good. Do you use many of the Penzeys spice mixtures?

  23. i love meatballs. ground beef is so underrated. this looks tempting…

  24. I like the idea of just putting it all in the oven to bake and it sounds delicious too!

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