Garlic-Herb Tomato Sauce with Italian Meatballs #SecretRecipeClub

I was missing Secret Recipe Club so much in my January month off, that I decided to jump in and help out with Group D!

It was my pleasure to cook from Chelsy’s blog, Mangia.  Chelsy is a certified personal trainer from a close knit Italian family.  She says she learned to roll a meatball before she learned to ride a bike!  Chelsy also specializes in gluten-free versions of her family’s favorite baked items!

I thought about making one of Chelsy’s amazing soups with this reveal – Creamy Broccoli Cauliflower Soup and Roasted Carrot Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese Croutons (bacon grilled cheese croutons!!!!!!) were both calling me name.  But then I came across homemade tomato sauce and Italian meatballs and I was sold.  I mean, homemade sauce from an Italian?  Sign me up!

The sauce and meatballs were absolutely amazing!  I’ve made several homemade pasta sauces before, but they’ve always been off color or they’d separate after being poured onto the pasta.  This one was just like the store bought stuff – only tasted roughly 12 thousand times better!

The meatballs were amazing as well.  I would never have thought to put celery into meatballs, but it left them with a more complex flavor profile plus a satisfying crunch!

The recipe, as I have it written, makes quite a bit of extra sauce (about twice as much as needed).  Chelsy’s recipe makes twice the amount of meatballs (my little family didn’t need quite that much).  I used the extra sauce in another recipe (I imagine it would also freeze well).

I ate my meatballs and sauce with a thick slice of homemade bread and Hubs and the kiddos ate theirs with some leftover parmesan noodles I had hanging out in the refrigerator!

Thank you, Chelsey for a phenomenal recipe!

Garlic-Herb Tomato Sauce with Italian Meatballs
Adapted from Mangia

Garlic-Herb Tomato Sauce
3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce (unsalted, if possible)
1 (28 oz) can whole, peeled tomatoes & juice (unsalted, if possible)
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste (only if tomato sauces were unsalted)

Italian Meatballs
1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
¼ red onion, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 spring fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 eggs
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Black pepper, to taste

Extra virgin olive oil

Place the sauce ingredients (minus the salt & pepper) into a sauce pan over medium heat.  Bring to a low boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally and breaking up the whole tomato with the edge of a spoon.  Near the end of cooking, add salt & pepper, to taste.  If desired, puree the sauce with an immersion blender.

About an hour before the sauce is ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone mats.

Place the meatball ingredients into a bowl and use hands to thoroughly mix everything together (I prefer to use disposable gloves for this).  Then divide the meat mixture into meatballs, taking care not to pack the meatballs too tightly (it will dry them out).  Depending on the size, you may get 10-20 meatballs (I got 20).

Place the meatballs onto the prepared tray and bake in the preheated oven.  It will take around 25 minutes for smaller meatballs or closer to 45 minutes for larger meatballs.

To check for doneness, watch that the meatballs have released some grease and are browned.  As always, the best way to check is to insert a thermometer into the center of the meatballs and watch for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Serves 4-6, with extra sauce


  1. How lucky to get an authentic delicious meatball and sauce recipe. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Thanks for rescuing an orphan blog too =)

  2. Meatballs are one of my favorite foods. These look amazing! I would dig right into that bowl of meatballs and sauce. Thanks for helping Group D out. Happy Reveal Day!

  3. This looks wonderful!! Thank you so much for helping out!! :-)

  4. Yummy! This looks amazing! I've always been a bit intimidated by Italian meatballs, but these don't look too scary!
    Thanks for helping out! :)

  5. Well these sound absolutely delicious. Great choice, thanks for stepping in and helping out.

  6. I want some right now! How delicious that looks!

  7. Yum this looks amazing! (I'm now off to check out your bread recipe) Thanks for helping and happy Reveal Day :)

  8. mmmmmmmm this sauce and these meatballs look FLAWLESS! mouth is watering and my belly is rumblin looking at these pictures!

  9. Such beautiful photos! Those meatballs look delicious. Thanks for helping out group d!


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