Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

5 from 11 votes
45 minutes
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Middle Eastern Spiced Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are a delicious twist on meatballs but in a classic tomato sauce.  They make a flavorful addition to your table!

These were yummy! Easy to make. Served over cauliflower rice. Recipe is noted 👍🏼 In my book to make over and over!

Photo of Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce in white serving bowl on beige napkin garnished with parsley.

The inspiration behind this recipe:

Besides turkey or ham at our family holiday table, my mother served venison meatballs.

Now, turkey and ham are quite nice, but it ain’t a party until the meatballs show up!  Because deer-hunting had just occurred at the end of November and my father is an avid deer hunter, our freezer was stocked with lots of venison for the winter.

Which meant lots of venison meatballs!

Now here’s the sad part.

When I asked all of my sisters (that would be five!) if they remember how mom made her venison meatballs, they only had vague recollections.

Now, here’s what’s even sadder.  I put together an entire cookbook of family recipes 11 years ago so that precious family recipes were preserved.  However, I forgot to include my mother’s venison meatballs!

So, although these are not my mother’s amazing venison meatballs, these Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are pretty amazing!  Mom used some spices which I’m sure included a touch of allspice.  The spice combination in these Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce is meant to mimic the one she probably used along with the lovely simple tomato sauce she made from the summer’s tomato harvest.

How to make Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce:

  • Mom always fried her meatballs, but in this day and age, baking is the way to go!
  • Combine all the ingredients except the meat in a large bowl.
  • Then, add the meat and mix well.  I put on disposable gloves and then mix with my hands.
  • Using a cookie scoop, I portion into approximately 1-inch meatballs and place on parchment paper.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees.  (ALL ground meat should be cooked to 165 degrees.)
Photo of unbaked meatballs on parchment paper lined up in rows.
  • While the meatballs are baking, make the super simple tomato sauce.
Photo of tomato sauce in skillet being stirred with wooden spoon.
  • When the meatballs are finished baking….
Photo of baked meatballs on parchment paper.
  • Place in the sauce and simmer a little while longer.  Add some chopped fresh parsley…
Photo of Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce in skillet being stirred with wooden spoon.
  • Yeah, my friends!
Photo of Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce in saucepan.
Photo of Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce in saucepan.
  • Serve as an appetizer or serve as a main course over rice or orzo pasta.

Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce!  Not so sad after all!

Photo of Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce in white serving bowl with serving spoon garnished with parsley.

For more amazing meatball recipes, be sure to try my:

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Spiced Meatballs with Tomato Sauce - Overhead hero shot of meatballs in tomato sauce in white bowl

Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

5 from 11 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Middle Eastern Spiced Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are a delicious twist on meatballs but in a classic tomato sauce.  They make a flavorful addition to your table!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Beef
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6
Calories 355 kcal

Ingredients
  

Meatballs

  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chuck - venison or a combination of beef, pork and veal

Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine panko, milk, eggs, garlic, parsley, coriancer, cumin, nutment, salt and black pepper and mix well.
  • Add the ground meat (beef, venison or the combination) and mix well.
  • Form into 1-inch (approximately) meatballs and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees in the center.

Sauce

  • While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 7-8 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the wine and tomatoes and simmer gently 15 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs and continue simmering another 10 minutes.
  • Add parsley and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Serve over cooked rice or orzo pasta.

Notes

SUBSTITUTIONS:  Ground chicken or turkey may be used in place of beef.
MAKE AHEAD:  These reheat great!  Place in an ovenproof baking dish and reheat at 350 degrees until heated through.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool thoroughly and place in an airtight container.  Freeze 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in a 350-degree oven until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 351mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 333IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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15 Comments

  1. Wow, these are gorgeous. I’m sorry that you don’t have your mom’s recipe, but the rest of us will be quite satisfied with these. (I’ve never tasted venison, so I don’t even know what I’m missing:) )

  2. 5 stars
    How fun that you were able to create a version similar to your mother’s meatballs. I’m sure your family appreciates your efforts. I love baking meatballs – it is so much easier and less messy, the perfect technique!!