What could be better than celebrating National Meatball Day (March 9) with a classic childhood favorite – Spaghetti and meatballs. In today’s recipe, pasta and air-fried meatballs are tossed in homemade tomato sauce.
It’s healthy and tasty. So, why not dive in and try our recipe for a trip down memory lane.
Is Spaghetti and Meatballs Healthy?
Absolutely. Our spaghetti and meatballs dish is jam-packed with nutrients, keeping your energy levels up for the whole day.
In our recipe, ground beef, which is a great source of complete protein, is one of the main ingredients. Beef is also rich in vitamins, including E, K, B-complex, and minerals such as phosphorus and potassium.
Although this spaghetti and meatballs dish takes up 502 calories, it’s still reasonable for a main course. Moreover, the amount of sodium and saturated fat are also kept within healthy limits, at 560.8 mg and 25.8 g, respectively.
Now, let’s move on to our ingredient list.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The required ingredients, if not already in your kitchen, are easy to find in your local grocery stores. Despite being basic, the main ingredients bring character to your dinner table once they are combined with herbs and spices.
Pasta: In this recipe, our chefs opt for spaghetti as it’s not only easy to cook but also performs well with any sauces on top.
Ground beef: We call for the 85% lean option to deliver a healthier dish for you. Compared to regular ground beef, the beef used in our recipe contains less fat yet it remains succulent after being cooked. However, the beef shouldn’t go leaner than that, or else the sauce may taste less flavorful.
Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are a great bonding ingredient for our meatballs. They maintain the shape of meatballs perfectly without changing the flavor.
Egg: Together with breadcrumbs, the egg will support the texture and enhance the juiciness of our meatballs.
Cheese: Cheese is mixed with ground beef to add an extra layer of richness.
Garlic:Garlic is an essential ingredient to bring an inviting fragrance to our spaghetti. It needs to be cooked until the smell hits, about 30 seconds.
Herbs: The combination of oregano, parsley, and paprika awakens our senses with its distinct aroma.
Seasoning: A pinch of salt and pepper will balance out the flavor of our sauce. The final dish shouldn’t be too sharp, but umami and slightly savory.
Homemade tomato sauce: One of the secrets to a healthier version of spaghetti and meatballs is homemade tomato sauce. Store-bought sauce may taste too artificial, while a homemade one possesses a natural flavor.
For a chilled dish like chicken pasta salad, running pasta under the faucet actually helps prevent stickiness when tossed. Once rinsed, the starchy outer coat will be removed. Hence, we don’t have to worry about the pasta clumping up with other ingredients.
For your spaghetti and meatballs recipe, you shouldn’t rinse the pasta after cooking it. We want to preserve the lingering film for a thick sauce consistency. Moreover, the spaghetti tends to be coated more evenly without an extra rinsing step.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
1. To store
For convenience, we suggest dividing the leftovers into airtight containers, labeling, and dating them. If stored properly, leftover spaghetti and meatballs can last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
2. Can You Freeze Spaghetti and Meatballs?
The answer is yes.
Unlike cream sauce pasta, frozen tomato-based spaghetti still tastes divine after being thawed and reheated. Keep the leftovers in freezer bags for zero red stains on your containers and up to 6 months in the freezer.
However, we strongly suggest you finish them long before this time is up since the quality deteriorates over time.
3. To reheat
If your leftovers have just been in the fridge for a day or two, you can reheat them in a microwave or skillet.
Microwave: Put the pasta and meatballs on a microwave-safe dish and cover the top with a pierced microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes and the dish is ready to serve.
Skillet: On a medium heat skillet, add a bit of olive oil or water. Stir in your leftover pasta, cover the lid, and cook until it is heated through.
If the pasta dish is frozen, you should let it thaw for 3-4 hours in the fridge beforehand, if not overnight.
What to Serve With Spaghetti and Meatballs
If you want more vitamins in your diet to start off your day, we recommend two recipes to pair with your spaghetti and meatballs:
Kale Salad: A big bowl of kale salad is like a colorful painting for your palate: A green canvas made of kale, with color contrasts from fruits, nuts, and cheese. All ingredients together create a snappy appetizer that is hard to resist!
Fresh Lime Juice: The acidity of freshly squeezed lime juice will be a nutritious punch for your diet.
How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs
Today’s 30-minute spaghetti and meatballs recipe will satisfy your spaghetti cravings to the fullest.
cook TIME 20 mins
prep TIME 10 mins
total TIME 30 mins
COURSE Main Course
CUISINE American, Italian
CALORIES 502 kcal
14 ozcooked spaghetti
10 oz85% lean ground beef
1 cupunsalted chicken broth
1 cuphomemade tomato sauce
0.3 ozgrated Parmesan cheese
1 medium egg
1 tbspall-purpose flour
0.3 cupplain panko breadcrumbs
2 tbspolive oil
2 tbspparsley chopped
2 tbspgarlic minced
1 tsporegano chopped
1 tspbasil chopped
In a big bowl, add 10 oz 85% lean ground beef, 1 medium egg, 0.125 oz grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp chopped oregano. Mix well.
Divide the meat mixture evenly, using a tablespoon (optional). Shape into meatballs.
In an air fryer, cook the meatballs at 401°F for 10 minutes.
On a medium heat pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp minced garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
In the same pan, add 1 cup homemade tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tbsp flour, and 1 tsp paprika. Stir well for 30 seconds.
Stir in 1 cup unsalted chicken broth. Next, add air-fried meatballs to the pan. Mix well. Let them simmer for another 2 minutes.
Add 14 oz cooked spaghetti, 1 tsp chopped basil, and toss for1 minute until everything is evenly coated in the tomato sauce.
Remove the pan from heat. Garnish with the remaining cheese and 1 tbsp chopped parsley. Enjoy.
How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 502Calories from FDA
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7g
Trans Fat 26g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Vitamin A 1476IU
Vitamin C 18mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen.
Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it.
Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.