National Meatball Day

Meatballs are consumed all around the globe and each culture has its own meatball tradition. In the US, meatballs have migrated from spaghetti bowls and subs to kebabs and soups. Meatballs can be made with virtually any protein or vegetable. Sauces in endless varieties can transform a meatball dish into a unique dining experience. While no excuses are needed to enjoy the beloved meatball, National Meatball Day on March 9 offers a perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling.

For the perfect traditional meatball, just a few words of advice to consider:

  • If using ground beef for meatballs, take the fat content into account. Stick with a lean meat (80/20) for a consistently moist texture. Extra lean meat (85/15) may result in a dry meatball.
  • If you find your meatballs are crumbling during prep, add another egg or a splash of milk to moisten up the mixture.
  • The most common binding ingredients in meatballs are breadcrumbs and eggs. But don’t rule out other options. Typically, you can replace ¼ cup of grain, like dry oatmeal for ¼ cup of breadcrumbs.
  • If adding onions and garlic, cook and cool before adding them in to the meat mixture.
  • Add seasonings and finely chopped herbs to the mix to enhance the taste. The best meatball seasoning is a mix of Italian herbs such as basil, parsley, and oregano.
  • To avoid a heavy, dense meatball:
    • Mix the meatball batter by hand until it is combined and avoid over mixing.
    • Keep the mixture cool.
  • When rolling out meatballs, wet your hands with cold water. This will help create more uniform balls. Alternatively, use a cookie scoop.
  • Meatballs can be fried or sauteed, but baking them off in the oven is quicker, cleaner, and healthier. If using ground meat or pork, cook to 155° F, if using poultry, cook to 165°F.
  • Make a double batch whenever you make meatballs. They freeze well and can defrosted easily for a quick meal.

There is a meatball recipe for everyone. Here are some options:

  • For comforting family dinner that cooks in minutes, this skillet Russian Meatball with Gravy recipe features lean ground turkey with a rich brown gravy.
  • This Chicken Rice Meatball recipe is made with ground chicken and rice along with a single egg and a bit of yogurt, making them lighter than traditional ground beef meatballs.
  • Eggplant substitutes for breadcrumbs in this tasty Turkey Meatball recipe. Cooked in a chipotle tomato sauce, these gluten free meatballs have a spicy kick; make these meatballs ahead of time so they can soak up the chipotle flavor.
  • These vegetarian Spinach Meatballs can be used as a party appetizer or an entrée. Rich ricotta and spinach make hearty meatballs without the meat.
  • These tasty Meatball Sliders with ground beef are a quick and easy appetizer, great for a party or a quick meal.
  • This Italian Wedding Soup is a meal unto itself with tender meatballs, veggies, and pasta in a rich and flavorful broth.

There is something fun that makes meatballs a perennial favorite for kids and adults alike. Have some meatball fun on March 9th and all year long.

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