• 2 slices bread (not seeded) or 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup pureed vegetables (squash, kale, carrots, pumpkin)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons powdered gelatin, dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef or combination of meats


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cups chopped or grated onion
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons kalamata olive spread or chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1/8 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/8 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 can (4-ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 dry wine
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Pulse bread in food processor until crumbled. Add milk and pureed vegetables and eggs and mix briefly (about 5 seconds). Remove mixture and put in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Without cleaning out the food processor, add herbs, garlic, gelatin, and salt and pepper. Remove mixture and put in the same bowl.
  3. Fold meat into the bowl and mix with your hands.
  4. Form small balls and put in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to allow gelatin to set.
  5. Remove from fridge and fry meatballs in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot until well browned on two sides. They will not be fully cooked but remove and place on pan and put back in the refrigerator until sauce is done.
  6. With the pan still hot, add chopped and saute until onions are beginning to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Pour wine into pan to deglaze and scrape all bits off the bottom of the pan into the liquid.
  7. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low-medium heat so that it is lightly bubbling, for at least one hour, but two hours is best.
  8. In the last 15 minutes of cooking the sauce, return the meatballs to the pan.
  9. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles


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