These ricotta meatballs with spinach are a really easy and delicious meatball recipe. The spinach that is added to the ricotta meatballs (which are just Italian meatballs made with ricotta) will help you get more veggies in your diet in a way you can enjoy.
About These Delicious Ricotta, Beef and Spinach Meatballs:
These spinach and ricotta meatballs are very easy to make and they make great leftovers too. The recipe for these ricotta meatballs uses beef but you could also make these with pork if you are looking for a leaner meat to cut down on fat.
There is only one additional step to making these delicious spinach and ricotta meatballs versus making regular meatballs which is thawing frozen spinach and pressing out the juices.
You can do this part the night before to save on time. The rest is very easy and I will show you step by step how to make them.
Ingredients You Will Need to Make These Meatballs:
- Ground beef. You can use a leaner ground beef blend like a 90/10 or an 80/20 blend. Since there is ricotta in the meatballs the meat will not dry out so leaner is fine.
- Frozen Spinach.
- Panko Bread Crumbs.
- Fresh garlic
- Kosher Salt
- Dried Oregano
- Whole Milk Ricotta
- Olive oil
- Parmesan Cheese for topping and for the meatballs
- Marinara Sauce (Canned tomatoes, garlic, Olive oil, Fresh Basil, Oregano, kosher salt)
Notes about the ingredients:
You can use a lean beef blend and not worry about the meatballs drying out because the ricotta will prevent that from happening. If you prefer, you can also use ground pork which is a nice alternative to ground beef when you are watching calories.
I do prefer whole milk ricotta in my ricotta recipes because it actually has taste. Ricotta should be sweet tasting (you should enjoy scooping a little on a spoon straight from the tub). Try to use only whole milk ricotta if you can.
If you are short on time, you can use a good quality store bought marinara like RAOS marinara in place of making your own sauce. I use this often when I need to save time in the kitchen. When I have time, I like making a batch of my 30 minute marinara and freezing it for recipes like this.
How to Make These Spinach and Ricotta Meatballs:
Tips When Making These Ricotta Meatballs With Spinach:
- Make these ricotta meatballs leaner by substituting ground pork for the beef.
- Make your marinara sauce ahead of time or use store bought (good quality marinara) to save time.
- Double the recipe and freeze half the meatballs for a later meal that is no cook.
- Remember to use whole milk ricotta!
- Serve these Meatballs over pasta or my favorite way is still scoop a few into a bowl with the marinara and serve with a side of oregano crostini to dip into the bowl.
More Meatball Recipes You Will Love:
Ricotta Meatballs with Spinach
- 1 lb ground beef 90/10 or 80/20 is fine.
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 10 ounces Thawed Frozen Spinach Juices pressed out
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated plus more for the table later
- ½ cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Onion powder
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- ⅛ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 28 oz cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil best quality you can find
- 1 tablespoon of butter optional
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine your dried breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic, spices and salt. Mix and set aside.
- Now, take in the amazing scent!
- Add your ricotta and egg to a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
- Take your thawed spinach out of the fridge and remove it from the wrapper.
- Place the thawed spinach into a kitchen towel or strainer and press or squeeze the juices out of the spinach over the sink.
- Keep doing this until very little juice is left.
- Now add your drained spinach and ground beef to your bowl of breadcrumbs.
- Add your ricotta and egg to the bowl.
- With your hands gently work all of the ingredients together.
- With a small ice cream scoop (or a heaping tablespoon) scoop out your meatball mixture and gently roll the meatballs into round balls and place on a sheet pan.
- Repeat this until all the meatballs are made.
- Once all the meatballs are in the pan, drizzle them all with a little olive oil which will help them get that nice outer crust when cooking.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the meatballs are nicely browned and crisp.
- While the meatballs are cooking, start the sauce.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, add your olive oil, red pepper flakes, oregano, onions and garlic and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the onions begin to soften.
- Now add your canned whole tomatoes and with a potato masher or with a large spoon, begin gently pressing down on the whole tomatoes so they begin to break apart. Be careful because the juices will shoot out of the tomatoes when you do this so proceed slowly!
- Next, add 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, kosher salt and and stir well.
- Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn down heat down to low and allow to gently simmer for 15 minutes.
- Once your meatballs are fully cooked, remove from the oven and place them in your pan of marinara sauce.
- Now go ahead and add your tablespoon of butter and gently mix that into the sauce.
- Taste for seasoning and see if it needs any salt.
- You can serve these meatballs over pasta or on their own with a side of crostini to dip in the sauce.
- Serve with extra freshly grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here