Meatballs With Fresh Spinach and Basil Marinara {Beef or Venison}


To keep this recipe simple and a tad healthier, I left Italian Sausage out and sauteed the meatballs and marinara sauce in one pan.  They are delicious made with ground beef or venison.

Serve with fresh Italian bread, pasta, or hoagie style on a bun loaded with parmesan cheese — the more cheese the better! They’re so good!

Simple Meatballs with Fresh Spinach and Basil

1 lb. ground chuck beef or venison
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 Tbsp Italian spices
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper seeds
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 handfuls of fresh spinach, about two cups
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Olive Oil
Simple Garlicky Tomato Marinara Sauce (recipe below) or 1-24 oz jar
 Ragu brand Roasted Garlic Sauce

1. In large bowl mix ground meat, egg, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs by hand, then add in next 5 ingredients and mix well.
2. Add olive oil to large skillet. Roll meat mix into 1-1/2 inch round balls and place inside. Repeat until all meatballs have been rolled.
3. Bring pan up to high heat and sauté meatballs turning every few minutes until all sides are brown.
4. Turn heat to medium-high, cover pan with lid and allow to cook through another 10-15 minutes, turning once. Use cooking thermometer to test meat; they are done at 160 degrees, or test one meatball by removing from pan and cut through to the center to check.
5. Place meatballs on plate and set aside. Wipe away any grease from pan and make marinara sauce recipe below, or jar sauce listed above.
6. Saute fresh basil, spinach and a light dusting of garlic powder and pinch of salt in olive oil until wilted. Add marinara sauce and meatballs. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Dust with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Simple Garlicky Tomato Marinara Sauce
4 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt

In large skillet or saucepan cook garlic and crushed red pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. (Do not allow garlic to burn which gives bitterness.) Stir in tomatoes and salt. Bring sauce to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. For smoother sauce, use hand-blender to pulsate marinara right inside the pan. Makes 3 cups.


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