Not Your Grandma’s Meatballs

Every Italian proudly cooks meatballs that have been passed down through the generations. These meatballs take Grandma's recipe and kicks it up with spices that are more traditionally Mexican than Italian, the tomato sauce is elevated with the addition of chili and lime. Serve over rice for the ultimate warm, comforting dinner. Grandma would love it, too!

Not Your Grandma's Meatballs

Print Grocery List Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 pound organic ground beef
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • One 28-ounce can pureed tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt



In a large bowl mix the ground beef, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, allspice, egg, and tortilla chips. The best way to do this is with your hands, but you can also mix with a large spoon. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. With a tablespoon, or small ice cream scoop, form the meat into tablespoon-sized meatballs and place on a sheet pan (you should get about 26). Bake the meatballs for about 15 -20 minutes or until lightly browned.


While the meatballs are in the oven, in a blender mix together the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, allspice, chicken broth, and lime juice. Blend until the ingredients are a smooth puree. Taste to see if you need to add more spice (for more of a kick), or more lime juice (for more citrus flavor).


Pour the tomato sauce into a large pot. When the meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and set aside. Bring the pot of tomato sauce to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the pot and continue to simmer covered for 30 minutes.


Serve warm with bread or over your favorite rice. Garnish with extra cilantro and lime wedges.

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