Veggie packed tomato sauce and wheat germ parmesan meatballs


Yes, I did.  I put wheat germ in my meatballs.  I was feeling it today.  Going to sneak something healthy past everyone.  Insert evil mommy laugh here.

Anyway, onto this great recipe and its inspiration.  My mom is a fabulous cook.  She also owned and ran a very successful bakery for several years – that woman can bake a cake, amongst other goodies.  One of my clear childhood memories is her winning the Hershey’s chocolate baking contest with her unbelievable chocolate cake (which with her permission I will share one day) and receiving the biggest candy bar I have ever seen.  It was literally the size of one of my toddlers.

She cooked us great homemade meals all through our childhood – and continues to share wonderful recipes with me that she comes across or creates.  I was so lucky to grow up with a mom who took the time to cook and bake for us, and it created such wonderful memories.  I hope to continue that tradition with my children.

She raved about a recipe for Mario Batali’s simple tomato sauce that she has been making recently.  She sent it to me and I dug it up to make this afternoon.  Problem was I did not have the exact things he asks for – canned whole tomatoes specifically.  I improvised with what I had on hand and was REALLY pleased with the results.   I also gathered all the veggies I had in the fridge and were starting to look a little sad, and piled those in.  I will make a batch of this to have on hand or in the freezer all the time now.  Lots of veggies, and absolutely divine taste.  I am usually not overly impressed with the tomato sauces I have made in the past.  This one I adore.

If you live by a Wegman’s supermarket, I used the their brand smooth marinara sauce in it.  Really delicious.

Veggie packed tomato sauce and wheat germ meatballs


  • ~3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic smashed and chopped small
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated on cheese grater
  • 1 24oz jar smooth marinara sauce
  • 1 24oz container tomato puree (or closest size to that)
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 3-4 branches of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 15 grinds of pepper mill
  • Meatballs:
  • 2 lb preferably, grass fed, antibiotic free ground beef
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Blend
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • couple grinds pepper
  • olive oil
  • Pasta- your choice, some butter, salt and parmesan cheese


  1. Over medium heat, in a large pot, sauté onions and carrots for about 5 minutes, until start to soften and lightly brown. Add garlic, cook one minute and then add marinara, tomato puree, spinach, thyme, salt and pepper.
  2. Simmer for 30 minutes, stir occasionally. Use a wooden spoon to slowly stir and uncover the empty branches of thyme and pull those out. Then use immersion blender - or transfer to blender - and blend all those delicious veggies into a smooth sauce. Won't take much work.
  3. Taste. Be happy.
  4. Meatballs- Oven to 400. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with your hands, kneading it and squeezing to get it all cohesively bound together. Use ice cream scoop to place them on foil and greased (with Pam or olive oil) pan - reshape them once all scooped out into round balls and drizzle olive oil over the tops.
  5. Bake 20-30 minutes - depends on your oven temp and size of meatballs. Cut one in half after 20 minutes to check.
  6. Pasta- cook according to package, drain, put back into pot and add ~2 Tablespoons of butter, sprinkle of sea salt and 1/4 cup or so of parmesan cheese. Mix all together, then spoon in some tomato sauce, stirring to coat. Add as much sauce as you prefer - top with meatball and parmesan cheese for serving.

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