Recipe: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

by JJ Virgin on September 27, 2017

I love Italian food! But between gluten, dairy, and added sweeteners, the version you get in restaurants and grocery stores is usually trouble.

Try making it at home instead! This recipe freezes wonderfully, so I highly recommend making a double batch of both meatballs and sauce.

Then feel free to play! The meatballs are great with other sauces, even the chimichurri in this recipe. Drizzle the marinara over grilled chicken breasts and top with almond ricotta for a quick and easy play on Chicken Parmesan.

Remember, it’s crucial that you get grass-fed beef for your meatballs. You are what you eat ate! I always get my meat from Butcher Box, and I highly recommend their convenient monthly deliveries.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce joins Roasted Eggplant with Fresh Basil Vinaigrette; Minestrone Soup; and Vanilla Coconut Affogato in our Family Italian Supper menu.  

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce


September 27, 2017

The grass-fed beef and flaxseed in these flavorful meatballs offer excellent protein and healthy fats, while the homemade marinara is low-sugar impact.

Virgin Diet compliant: Cycles 1, 2, and 3
Sugar Impact Diet compliant: Cycles 1, 2, and 3

  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yields: 4 Servings



1 lb grass-fed lean ground beef

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp ground flaxseeds

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups Go-To Marinara Sauce


2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed

1 (28-ounce) can organic diced tomatoes, with juice

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper



2Combine the beef, garlic, parsley, flax meal, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and mix well. Form the mixture into twenty 1-inch balls.

3Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over the medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 6 minutes.

4Transfer the meatballs to a medium saucepan and add the marinara sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.

5Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve the meatballs with the sauce.


7Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

8Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, dried basil, oregano, and fennel seeds to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

9Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes.

10Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh basil, salt, and pepper.

Originally published in The Virgin Diet Cookbook, Grand Central Life & Style, 2014

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Nutrition Facts

Protein24 g
Cholesterol816 mg
Total Fat14 g
Saturated Fat3 g
Total Carbohydrates11 g
Dietary Fiber3 g

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