Thursday, October 6, 2016

Herbalicious Spaghetti and Meatballs #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Some days I simply crave good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatballs. But most traditional versions are loaded with sodium and thus off-limits to me. But this enormous basil plant was calling to me: Lucy! Lucy! spaghetti! spaghetti!

How could I refuse? I've tried a few other recipes, but this one really stood out. (And my hub loved it too!) I happened to have some low-sodium corn muffins in the freezer, but you can improvise if you're not so lucky.)

Ingredients for the meatballs

1 pound good quality ground beef
Two low-sodium corn muffins (or 2 slices bread)

one egg
1/4 cup milk
One half onion, chopped finely
One clove garlic, ditto
One half teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper
Half a teaspoon Jane's Crazy mixed-up pepper


Mix all ingredients together and fashion the mixture into meatballs, size of your choice. Place these on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Turn them halfway through so both sides have a chance to brown. Set these aside on paper towels to drain.


For the sauce

24 ounce jar unsalted crushed tomatoes (I love the local Bishop's Orchards brand)
One onion, chopped
One large clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Three-quarter teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 to 6 large basil leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste



Sauté the garlic and onion until soft, and then add the oregano and pepper. After a few minutes of simmering, add the tomatoes. Cook these ingredients together for about 30 to 45 minutes, then add the basil and simmer again. 


Taste the sauce to see if it's to your liking – I added a teaspoon sugar.

This amount of sauce is appropriate for about half the meatballs, so add the balls to the sauce and simmer again. (I froze the remainder for another day.) If you were serving a larger crowd, you might double the tomato sauce and add all the meatballs. 

The flavors will meld together nicely if you make this a day ahead. Serve on good-quality pasta with fresh grated Parmesan on the side. And something green of course.

The seventh Key West mystery, KILLER TAKEOUT, is on bookshelves everywhere. What about yours?

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  1. Oddly enough, I find that tomato sauces benefit more from sugar than from salt. And I think baking meatballs is the best way to go. I recently made a recipe that was supposed to be an Ikea copy. It wasn't! You won't see me posting it here. : (

    1. Yes on the sugar and the baking--I just took a tray of them out of the oven!

  2. Spaghetti and meatballs is a great, staple meal, and I love the word "herbalicious"! Your photos with fresh basil remind me that I have to use my herbs. Luckily, both my basil, oregano and other Italian herbs are still growing well on my balcony planters in Ontario...a full 6 weeks longer than last summer!

    1. thanks Grace! Do you try to bring the herbs inside? I do have a nice rosemary bush in the kitchen and I'm going to try bringing my thyme in...

    2. Yes, I bring my rosemary and bay leaf plant inside for the winter. The oregano and mint usually survive indoors too. But this is fresh basil's last hurrah. I already made 3 big batches of basil pesto (not pistou) in September.

  3. Terrific idea.
    I have a giant basil plant that needs some pruning before nasty Matthew hits.

    1. go away Matthew! You've caused too many problems already.

    2. We were lucky in the Boca area--some rain and wind, but nothing of consequence.

  4. Lovely recipe, Lucy/Roberta! I also love baked meatballs and I will be trying these. XO

  5. Yes, Killer Takeout is on my bookshelf! Very good!

  6. Looks amazing. Will have to try this since I have a good bit of basil that needs harvesting. Thanks!