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Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
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4.19 from 32 votes

Meatballs In Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

Moist and soft meatballs baked in a rich, Eastern-spiced tomato sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Dinner, lunch, Oven baked
Servings: 14 meatballs
Calories: 200kcal


For The Sauce:

  • olive oil
  • ½ onion minced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 5-6 pieces of allspice
  • a splash of red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 400 grams / 14 oz canned tomatoes diced
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

For The Meatballs:

  • 800 grams ground beef
  • ½ onion minced
  • 3 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons finely ground breadcrumbs or 150 grams (5.3 oz) crustless bread soaked in water
  • a handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 cup water (skip this if using the soaked bread)
  • salt and pepper


For The Sauce:

  • Heat a good splash of olive oil in a cooking pot, over high heat.
  • Caramelize the onion and garlic.
  • Pour in the wine. Add the allspice and bay leaves. Wait until wine evaporates completely.
  • Add the tomato paste, the canned tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add 4 cups of water, the sugar, ground cumin and season with salt and pepper. Simmer partly covered for about 30-40 minutes.

For The Meatballs:

  • Meanwhile, start making the meatballs.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C / 392°F.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs.
  • Knead the mixture for 2-3 minutes for everything to incorporate well. It should feel very soft and moist. And just firm enough to hold some shape. Otherwise, you may add another splash of water to it.
  • Divide mixture to about 14 parts. Shape each into a round ball and then give it a bit of oval shape. Place in a baking dish or pan that fits the meatballs and is deep enough to include the sauce as well.
  • Once you placed all the meatballs in the pan or baking dish, pour the sauce on top all over using a ladle. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Flipping the meatballs at least once so they cook evenly all over.
  • Serve with rice, pasta, or potatoes. I added some toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh parsley on top. You can also serve them with some spicy red pepper flakes and a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top.


Serving: 1meatball | Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 264mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg