Ricotta meatballs with spinach are a really easy and delicious meatball recipe that you will love. These ricotta meatballs are made with beef and spinach and then spinach is added for flavor and texture. These meatballs will also help you get more veggies in your diet in a way you can enjoy.
About These Ricotta Spinach Meatballs
If you love spinach, and ricotta and you love meatballs, then you are going to love this recipe that combines them all together. These meatballs are a go-to in our house because they are tender from the ricotta, loaded with flavor from the delicious Italian spices and they are so easy to make.
These spinach and ricotta meatballs are very easy to make and they make great leftovers too. I love making these meatballs in big batches and freezing some for another dinner.
I do this with all my meatball recipes because they are so easy to reheat.
An added bonus of these ricotta meatballs is if you have leftover ricotta, you can save it and make delicious ricotta pancakes the next morning too!
Ingredients You Will Need
- 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. I like to use frozen spinach so I can easily thaw and then drain the excess water from the spinach. You can cook fresh spinach and then squeeze out any excess liquid if you prefer.
- Panko Bread Crumbs. The bread crumbs are the binder for these meatballs.
- Fresh garlic. Fresh garlic adds so much flavor!
- Kosher Salt.
- Dried Oregano. I prefer dried oregano since it is something I usually have in the pantry. If you have fresh oregano you can use that.
- Whole Milk Ricotta. The whole milk ricotta adds flavor and helps keep these meatballs moist.
- Egg. The egg helps as a binder to help the meatballs hold their shape.
- Olive oil. Extra virgin or regular olive oil will work fine.
- 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.
If you want to make extra meatballs and freeze some for a later time, I have written up steps on how to cook frozen meatballs to help make another night's dinner effortless when you do this.
How to Make These Spinach and Ricotta Meatballs
- Make these ricotta meatballs leaner by substituting ground pork for 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 you will not have to cook.
- Remember to use whole milk ricotta!
- Serve these Meatballs over pasta or my favorite way is to scoop a few into a bowl with the marinara and serve with a side of garlic 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
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