Garlic Lover's Meatballs and Sauce Recipe
Garlic Lover's Meatballs and Sauce Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Garlic Lover's Meatballs and Sauce Recipe

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This dish is a staple in our part of the country. My daughter Amber and I invented our version after eating at an Italian restaurant in St. Louis. We came pretty close to copying that dish, but added our own little twist. —Toni Holcomb, Rogersville, Missouri
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. Cook: 20 min. + simmering
MAKES:6 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. Cook: 20 min. + simmering
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 2 to 3 cups water, divided
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Additional grated cheese and minced parsley, optional


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 12 meatballs. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Brown meatballs; drain.
  2. For sauce, in a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, 2 cups water, tomato sauce and paste, parsley, cheese, basil, sugar and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; carefully add meatballs.
  3. Simmer, covered, 3 hours to allow flavors to blend, stirring occasionally and adding additional water as necessary. If desired, serve with additional cheese and parsley. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Garlic Lover's Meatballs and Sauce in Country Extra March 2008, p49

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Reviewed Apr. 19, 2015

"Wonderful, but I would not use all of that water. Water to can of tomato paste. Water can be added if you do not like a thick sauce. I do."

Reviewed Mar. 6, 2015

"Fantastic and makes the whole house smell amazing!"

Reviewed Jan. 22, 2013

"I bought the cookbook with this on the cover, due to this recipe! It was delicious. I made it for my parents, now that's my mom's go to recipe. we're both caterers so I love recipes that can easily be doubled and taste this fresh!"

Reviewed Feb. 15, 2011

"I don't ever want to use jarred sauce again! Also- I don't like meatballs but this recipe made me change my mind. I also used ground turkey in place of ground beef :]"

Reviewed Dec. 18, 2010

"This is a great recipe. We had it for leftovers and it might have even tasted better the second day! I used Italian seasoning since I was out of basil.

~ Theresa"

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