Layers of yum-delicious flavors and textures 'pop' right out of each bite of these Creole meatballs in tomato sauce, y'all. Ground beef, seasoned and spiced with some of the most beloved south Louisiana spice heavy hitters on the market. Then rolled into meal or cocktail-sized balls and baked til juices run clear while the easy homemade sauce simmers on the stove. Finally, the sauce is poured into the skillet with the meatballs on top for just a bit to marry the two into eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head euphoria. Yep and yay...
You Know You Want Them, Y'all...
I'm sure that I'm NOT alone when I say that just the sight of a meatball makes me pause and salivate. Yep. I'm a sucker for a good meatball. I want them in spaghetti and gluten free sandwiches. And well, I pretty much demand them of myself if I'm serving any kind of appetizer meal event. I don't think that parties are really complete without the customary appetizer meatball that puts the finishing food touch on the festivities. Indeed.
So, when I decide to do it up, I often go with this trusty Creole meatballs and tomato sauce recipe. It's honestly one of my very first recipe development attempts, back when I started blogging several years ago now. I came up with this recipe by having a whole lot of fun in the kitchen using most of my favorite pantry ingredients to give these a signature kick that screams south Louisiana.
Now, they're one of my 'expected' dishes to make for events. And, for those random nights when all it takes is one batch of these Creole meatballs to jazz up the weekly offerings.
How to Make Creole Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Start the recipe by cutting the trinity veggies and gathering the remaining ingredients.
Next, pour all of the sauce ingredients into a small pan. Stir until combined, and simmer over low heat.
Now, pour all of the meatball filling ingredients into the bowl of your food processor.
And, pulse until the mixture is well combined.
Pour the mixture over the ground beef.
Then, use your clean hands to stir well until incorporated. Put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Then, form the mixture into balls. I got 15 meal-sized meatballs.
Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes. Use paper towels to remove the excess grease. Pour the sauce along the bottom of an enameled cast iron skillet or baking dish.
Put the meatballs on top, then use a basting brush or spoon to transfer some of the sauce to the top of the Creole meatballs. Finally, bake for just a few more minutes, or until the red gravy thickens and the meatballs reach to safe eating temperatures.
And that's it, y'all!!
These first thing that you notice about these Creole meatballs in tomato sauce are the amazing aromas. And, once you finally get one onto your plate and into your mouth, you just can't believe all of the different flavors that are dancing on your tongue simultaneously. Then, you're blown away by how incredibly tender and juicy they are, and how the sauce complements the balls perfectly without overpowering the other feisty flavors.
Yep, these Creole meatballs are one of my top 10 favorite original recipes. And one that I think I'll make for family and friends over and over again, cause they just love them sooo much. So, while these are a labor of love, they're totally worth it for the huge, taste bud-altering payoff.
Share with those who go the extra love mile for you every now and again. And see y'all on the yum side...
- For the Sauce
- 2 cups gluten free tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, dried paprika, and parsley flakes
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
- For the Creole Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Zatarain's Creole mustard, see notes
- 4 tablespoons gluten free ranch dressing
- ½ teaspoon Crystal hot sauce
- ⅓ cup crushed gluten free cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon chopped dried parsley
- salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
- Start the tomato sauce by pouring all ingredients into a saucepan. Cover the pan partially and simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Pour all of the meatball ingredients, except for the ground beef, into a blender or food processor. Pulse or process until liquefied.
- Pour the mixture over the ground beef in a large bowl. Mix with hands until well-incorporated. (Mixture will be thin and sticky).
- Place the bowl in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line the bottom of a two-tiered roasting pan with aluminum foil. Grease the top pan lightly.
- Remove the bowl from freezer, and form the mixture into 3" meatballs, or 1 ½" meatballs for cocktail meatballs. (The mixture will be very wet and a bit sloppy. But this excess moisture is what's going to make the meatballs super flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth tender).
- Arrange the meatballs in rows along the top of the roasting pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear. (The meatballs will be greasy when you remove them from the oven. I wrap each one in a paper towel to remove the grease. Yep, it's a bit of a pain, but sooo worth it after you serve them and see the surprise and delight on the faces of others).
- Remove the sauce from the heat, and pour it along the bottom of a greased 12-inch cast iron skillet.
- Place the meatballs on top of the sauce.
- Use a basting brush or spoon to cover the top of the meatballs with some of the sauce.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce deepens in color and a digital thermometer inserted into each meatball reads at least 160 degrees F.