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Saucy meatballs four ways

Tossed in a sweet or spicy sauce, meatballs are easy to make ahead of time and will be devoured by kids and grown-ups alike. To spice up the meatballs themselves, swap Italian or chorizo sausage meat for the ground pork. Baking them helps them keep their shape and keeps them from spattering the stovetop.


1 lb (500 g) lean ground beef
1/2 lb (250 g) ground pork
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh or dry breadcrumbs
1 small onion, coarsely grated
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1. Combine meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently by hand, without overworking the mixture (which could make the meatballs tough.

2. Shape into walnut-sized balls and place on a rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 375F.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, until the meatballs are just cooked through. (They will be springy to the touch.)


Sweet & Sour:
1 14 oz (398 ml) can crushed pineapple, with its juice
1 cup (250 ml) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) vinegar
3 tbsp (45 ml) all-purpose flour

1 cup (250 ml) ketchup
1 small onion, coarsely grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup (60 ml) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 tsp (10 ml) Worcestershire sauce

Orange Barbecue:
1/2 cup (125 ml) orange marmalade
3/4 cup (185 ml) bottled barbecue sauce

1 cup (250 ml) grape jelly
1 cup (250 ml) chili sauce
2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

While meatballs are simmering, bring all the ingredients for your choice of sauce to a simmer in a medium saucepan, whisking often until bubbly and thickened. Add the cooked meatballs and toss to coat. Serve warm, with toothpicks.

Makes about 2 dozen meatballs.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, December 2012.

a man carrying two children

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