Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Cook, Sunday Supper

Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Chicken has a significantly lower calorie and fat content than the traditional beef or pork base for meatballs. Adding spinach into the meatballs is an easy way of slipping more vegetables into your diet, too. Swimming in a fiery tomato sauce, you won’t even miss the spaghetti.


Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce


For the meatballs:

5 oz. (155 g.) spinach leaves

1 lb. (500 g.) ground chicken

6 Tbs. (1 oz./30 g.) whole-wheat panko bread crumbs

3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large egg, slightly beaten

Salt and freshly ground pepper


For the spicy tomato sauce:

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp. each red pepper flakes and dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) dry red wine

1 can (28 oz./875 g.) diced tomatoes


1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g.) chopped fresh basil


Bring a saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain well and then wrap in a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out any remaining moisture. Finely chop and transfer to a large bowl.


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). To the bowl with the spinach, add the chicken, panko, Parmesan, garlic and egg. Season well with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Using 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture at a time, form into meatballs and transfer to a baking sheet lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.


To make the tomato sauce, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, thyme and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and saute, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer half of the sauce to a blender in two batches. Puree the sauce and add it back into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper.


Ladle the sauce into shallow bowls and top with 3 or 4 meatballs. Garnish with the chopped basil, and serve. Serves 4-6.


Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish Of The DayFind wholesome recipes for every day of the year in our cookbook Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day.

5 comments about “Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

  1. Karen Ettlin

    These were outstanding! Only a few small additions: 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel, 1 large minced shallot and some chopped Italian parsley. Wonderful over wide noodles. Bravo…

  2. Leslie Kline

    I loved this recipe. I used crushed tomatoes instead of diced. And added extra garlic and basil. So good. I will make this on a regular basis. 🙂

  3. Shaylan Yong

    My Family and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, even my picky three year old asked for seconds, which is a rarity. I did not have Parm or red wine, so I subbed a 5 cheese Italian Blend that I happened to have on hand and a tbsp of Red Wine Vinegar, will definitely try again with the red wine.


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