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Baked Meatballs with Mozzarella and Arugula

Baked Meatballs with Mozzarella and Arugula

These baked meatballs in rich tomato and pesto sauce with mozzarella and arugula could be made in a matter of minutes, perfect for a weeknight dinner.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked meatballs
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 594kcal
Author: Julia Frey of Vikalinka


For the meatballs

  • 1 lbs beef extra lean
  • 1 lbs pork extra lean
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of each dried basil and oregano
  • ¾ cup/75g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 2 X 14 oz/400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp basil pesto
  • salt to taste

Additional ingredients

  • 2 cups/100g arugula/rocket
  • ½ cup/125 g fresh mozzarella balls small
  • 4 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4-5 basil leaves optional


  • Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
  • In a large bowl combine beef and pork, beaten egg, basil and oregano, breadcrumbs and salt, mix well and shape into 20 meatballs. (Alternatively you can use store-bought meatballs and skip this step.)
  • (Baking method) Place meatballs on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven at 200C/400F for 10 minutes. (The meatballs will not be baked all the way through.)
  • OR....(Frying method) Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the meatballs over medium heat but don't cook all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • To the same pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, chopped garlic and basil and cook briefly for 1 minute, then add canned tomatoes previously processed in a blender until smooth or leave chunky for extra texture if desired.
     Then add 3 tbsp of basil pesto and salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for approximately 5-7 minutes.
  • Return the meatballs to the pan with the sauce, add arugula and mix, then scatter mini mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes and basil leaves on top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and mozzarella is melted and golden.
  • Serve with pasta or a side of your choice.


Calories: 594kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 845mg | Potassium: 897mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 720IU | Vitamin C: 16.7mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 4.9mg