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Cottage Cheese Meatball Marinara

"The quest to make a healthier meatball has been a challenge. Often using leaner ground meats leads to tough and dry meatballs. Cottage cheese is the 'secret' ingredient that keeps these better-for-you meatballs moist and delicious. Share the fun and host a weekend meatball party. Invite your friends over to make big batches of these tasty, oven-baked meatballs to fill everyone's freezer with a quick weeknight meal solution."
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1 h 10 m servings 310 cals
Original recipe yields 6 servings

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  • Prep

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  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Stir the cottage cheese with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic, eggs and half each of the salt and pepper until well combined. Crumble in the ground beef and sausage meat; gently mix until well combined.
  2. Shape the mixture into 24 equal-sized meatballs; arrange, in a single layer, in a 9 x 13-inch (3 L) baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and set.
  3. Meanwhile, stir the passata with the grated onion, hot pepper flakes, remaining garlic, salt and pepper. Pour the tomato mixture evenly over the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened; gently stir in basil. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve meatballs over hot cooked pasta or rice.


  • Tips:
  • To shorten the prep time, make 12 large meatballs instead the small ones.
  • Spoon the meatballs into long buns and top with shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese for a meatball submarine sandwich.
  • Recipe doubles or triples easily to serve a crowd.
  • Increase hot pepper flakes to taste for a spicier sauce.
  • Make ahead: After baking the meatballs for 15 minutes, cool slightly and transfer to an air-tight container along with the uncooked sauce. Reserve in the refrigerator for 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and thickened.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 310 calories; 14.7 g fat; 17.8 g carbohydrates; 27 g protein; 122 mg cholesterol; 1206 mg sodium. Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 6
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These meatballs are delicious - I made a big batch and they were gone way too quickly. I suggest subbing in Nordica 4% Cottage Cheese as I am a big milk fat fan! It is good for you - trust me!

Now this is a great recipe!! I'll admit I was lazy and just mixed everything together and made it "meatloaf" style...fantastic!! Definitely will keep and make this recipe over and over.

Made a great meatball sandwich! Didn't change a thing. Very very good!

Very easy and very tasty! I used Italian bread crumbs instead of plain and also tucked a little mozzarella cube into the center of some of them. Next time I will probably add a bit of Italian ...

The cottage cheese really did keep the lean ground turkey moist! I used extra ground turkey and added seasonings to replicate the sausage taste and really enjoyed it. Good stuff!

Very moist meatballs! Thank you for sharing :)