Mushroom Ricotta Meatballs
Adapted from Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice
Real meatballs enhanced with creamy ricotta cheese, sharp parmesan, earthy mushrooms, a bit of spinach and some Italian seasonings, bathed in a nice marinara. Serve over zoodles or spaghetti for a comforting, homemade meal.
After I made those vegetarian mushroom “meatballs”, that got me thinking about meatballs … and I found myself craving some REAL meatballs, you know, the kind with meat in them? It’s been a loooong time since I made real meatballs … so I figured it’s about time!
When I ran across this recipe for Ricotta Meatballs from Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice on Pinterest, I was totally intrigued by the addition of ricotta to meatballs … I guessed that ricotta would add a really lovely texture and a nice cheesy undertone to a meatball. So I decided to combine the two recipes and make mushroom ricotta meatballs.
I totally love how they turned out! The mushrooms completely disappear in the meat. They are marvelous on zoodles. I’ve been eating on these lovely meatballs with zoodles all week long and I still have a bunch of them that I saved outside of the sauce, so I’m feeling ready to try a new sauce adventure.
You can use store-bought marinara or make your own. Here are some scrumptious homemade recipes for pasta sauce:
- Crockpot Garden Marinara Sauce
- Copycat Ragu Pasta Sauce
- Smoky Romesco Sauce
- Easy Pizza Sauce from Fountain Avenue Kitchen
- Speedy Cherry Tomato Sauce from Fountain Avenue Kitchen
- Garden Fresh Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce from Zestuous
- Adriatic Asiago Cheese Sauce from Ally’s Kitchen
- 8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned
- 1/2 of a large onion, cut into chunks
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (or ground elk, venison, turkey)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (for GF, use gluten free breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- Preheat the oven to and spray a rimmed baking pan with cooking spray.
- Put the mushrooms, onion and garlic in a mini food processor and process until it's all chopped into fine bits.
- In a medium frying pan, heat the avocado oil over medium heat and swirl around the pan to coat the bottom. Add the mushroom mixture and saute until the mushrooms are browned. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, put the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix it up well. Add the mushroom mixture and mix again until they are incorporated into the meat.
- Shape the mixture into balls about 1 - 1 1/2 inch in diameter, setting them in the prepared pan. Bake at 425 for about 18 minutes or until browned.
- Once done, gently place the meatballs in a saute pan and pour a jar of marinara sauce over them. Cover and let simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Serve over zoodles or noodles.
Make-ahead tip: Instead of simmering in sauce, you can freeze the meatballs when they come out of the oven and bathe in sauce later.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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