Meatballs and Spaghetti {And a Cook Book Giveaway!}


This meatball and spaghetti dish is a lightened version of the classic Italian meal we all love!

Lightened meatballs make this spaghetti dish guilt free and satisfying!

Pasta is something my whole family readily enjoys.  I only get grumblings when I serve it with either a cheesy sauce or a tomato sauce.   In other words, my kids like it PLAIN (where they get their taste is beyond me).  I’ll compromise on the cheese sauces, who needs the extra fat anyway.  But I won’t budge on the tomato sauce.  My daughters have slowly come around to appreciate my red sauces, it’s just my son who remains stubborn.

Last weekend we were invited to our neighbor’s house for dinner.  She served us some of the best meatballs!  She had warned me in advance that she would be serving this meal and asked if it would be ok with my son.  I went on to tell her that he would be fine, he would just have to get over himself and eat whatever was served.  Wouldn’t you know he devoured two helpings without a word?  That’s when the reality hit me, it’s not that he doesn’t like meatballs and spaghetti, he just doesn’t like MY meatballs and spaghetti.  At first I was miffed.  But then I had to admit that my sauce is a little too “chunky” and my meatballs are usually dry.

Beef and pork combine to make these tender, flavorful meatballs!  Add your favorite sauce and you have the perfect Italian meal!

When I was given a copy of Cooking Light’s Lighten Up, America Cookbook, the first recipe I knew I had to try was meatballs and spaghetti!   While the sauce is jarred, the meatballs are homemade and they are so easy!  The combination of ground pork and ground beef really make these meatballs hearty and flavorful!  They are tender and light too.  The only modifications I made to the recipe in the book was I used a full pound of each meat and two slices of bread.   Everything else is the same and boy are these a real pleaser!  My entire family had seconds, including my red-sauce hating son!   This recipe is a total keeper!


Guess what?  You can win your own Lighten Up American Cook book!


In this book written by Cooking Light contributor, Allison Fishman Task,  you will find more than 150 classic American recipes made light!  You’ll discover regional culinary traditions, discover food born in America and get an insider’s view of festivals and fairs.  As a nerd who likes to curl up with a good cookbook before bed, I can tell you I cannot put this down!  There are so many recipes I cannot wait to try!




Meatballs and Spaghetti {And a Cook Book Giveaway!}
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 cups low sodium marinara sauce
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregeno
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup ground sirloin
  • ¾ cup ground pork
  • 1 (1/5 oz) slice firm white bread, crumbled
  • 8 oz uncooked spaghetti
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to the pan. Stir in onion. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook another 15 minutes or until onion is tender. Add ¼ cup water and stir to loosen any browned bites. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes.
  2. Place marinara in a large Dutch oven. Bring to simmer over low heat.
  3. In a bowl, combine onions, basil and the next 6 ingredients (through the egg). Add ground sirloin and pork as well as crumbled bread. Gently mix by hand. Shape meat into 2 inch balls. Place meatballs into your sauce. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until meatballs are done.
  4. While the meatballs simmer, prepare pasta according to package directions.
  5. Serve meatballs and sauce over pasta.




I’ll be sharing this on these sites as well as with

25 Responses

  1. OMG drooling. This looks so yummy! My boys love spaghetti and meatballs. I’ve gotta try this – pinning! I’ve heard awesome things about this cookbook too. Great giveaway!

    • I love the cook book! And these are really my best attempt at meatballs!

  2. This looks so good, Tanya, and I’m so hungry right now! It’s bad when you’re a food blogger and you have nothing in your house except desserts! Pinned and buffered!

  3. There is nothing I love more than a healthy twist on classic comfort food! Also, gorgeous photos. Meatballs are not the most photogentic, but these are ready for a beauty pagent!

  4. I hated sauce on my spaghetti as a kid as well, and look at me now 😉 I need to make meatballs to go with my pasta, I usually just add the meat to the sauce! My kids are so deprived, lol

    • Oh good, Lisa, you are proof that there is hope for my kids!

  5. I LOVE that recipe in Lighten Up, America!! It’s on my list to make… when I eat healthy carbs again :)

  6. Spaghetti and Meatballs is always a huge hit at our dinner table. Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  7. What’s with kids and plain noodles!? THIS is where it’s at! Great recipe, Tanya!

  8. Oh yum – I love good stick-to-your-ribs meatballs and spaghetti and this recipe looks wonderful!

  9. This looks Fantastic! Now that the weather is getting chilly, I have been scarfing down some pasta dishes! I’ll have to add this one to my menu 😀

    • We eat past all year around, we probably eat too much pasta!

  10. I have that cookbook too! Love it! :) These look soooooo good! Your photos are stunning…I want to lick the screen! :)


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