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The Best Meatballs and Sauce Recipe! These meatballs are as tender as can be. Soft and seasoned with oregano and mint - the secret ingredient in my family's decades-old recipe. You'd never be able to pinpoint what that lovely flavor is, because it's not overtly minty, just subtlely fragrant and herbal. The sauce is rich, sweet, and garlicky and the meatballs are cooked right in the sauce, allowing them to retain their moisture, and giving the sauce even more flavor | andiemitchell.com
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5 from 1 vote

PJ's Meatballs and Sauce

The meatballs are as tender as can be. Soft and seasoned with oregano and…mint, the secret ingredient in my stepdad's decades-old recipe. You'd never be able to pinpoint what that lovely flavor is, because it's not overtly minty, it’s just subtlely fragrant and herbal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: best meatball recipe, big meatballs, homemade pasta sauce, meatballs and sauce
Servings: 12 large meatballs in sauce
Calories: 320kcal


For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed or ground peeled tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef 85% lean
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan to coat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes. Lower the heat if they begin to burn. The more color that develops on the onion and garlic, the more flavor they'll add to the finished sauce.
  • Once the onions and garlic are tender and caramel in color, add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste and stir until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients (oregano through pepper), stir, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pot, and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the bottom does not burn.
  • Make the meatballs: Break apart the beef as best you can in a large mixing bowl. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl and pour evenly over the top of the beef. Add the bread crumbs, oregano, mint, salt, and pepper and use your hands to mix. You do not want to overwork you beef, or it will yield tough meatballs, but you do want to incorporate all of the ingredients into the ground beef so that each meatball will have a bit of the breadcrumbs and herbs and spices.
  • Shape the meat mixture into 12 balls, each about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Drop them into the sauce, stir gently so that they're all covered in sauce, and then let them cook, covered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Serve over your favorite pasta.


Nutrition Information for 2 Meatballs and ¾ cup Marinara Sauce


Serving: 2g | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.7g | Protein: 16.9g | Fat: 18.3g | Fiber: 4.1g | Sugar: 10.1g