Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs

Meatballs. Yep, meatballs. Who doesn’t grow up eating meatballs?

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs with Polenta by Real Food by Dad

Sure, they might not seem like the sexiest dish. They weren’t when I was growing up.  But as an adult, I’m finding a new love for them. They’re easy to make and you can keep them on the cheap or get fancy like the one night Naomi slipped creminis into a batch and didn’t tell me until afterwards—she knows I hate mushrooms. 

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs with Polenta via Real Food by Dad

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs with Polenta_Real Food by Dad

Yes, we are constantly battling it out in the kitchen when it comes to recipe add-ins, tweaks and spins.

For the version you see here, I’ve kept it simple. I’ve updated what I grew up on by mixing in cooked leeks, Parmesan cheese next to the traditional bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and the binding eggs. Along with that, to keep them tender, I baked them in a tomato sauce that I finished with a heavy sprinkling of parsley and more Parmesan cheese. 

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs with Polenta from Real Food by Dad

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs with Polenta with Real Food by Dad


I served this with some polenta but feel free to swap that out with some pasta instead. Whichever one you go with, this is one of those easy comforting weeknight meals.

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs with Polenta by Real Food by Dad_Panel

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs

Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (2 oz.) leeks
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided use
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef

Tomato Sauce

  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 2 14.5 oz. diced tomato, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley


  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups polenta


  1. Preparation: Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. To make meatballs: Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add in leeks and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. In a bowl combine 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plain bread crumbs, salt, milk, Worcestershire sauce and eggs; mix to blend. Add in ground beef, using a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon mix to combine. Scoop out mixture with a one-ounce cookie scoop or ice cream scoop and form 1 1/2 inch meat balls. Place meatballs in an oven proof skillet or saute pan. Set aside.
  3. To make tomato sauce: In a bowl mix together crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add mixture to pan with meatballs.
  4. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley and remaining 1/4 cup grated parmesan.
  5. To make polenta: Add milk and stock into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat and add in parmesan cheese.


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102 comments to " Easy Tomato Baked Meatballs "

  • Shannon

    Hi – coming to this 2 years after your original post! Husband and I made this tonight and 2 questions came up: 1) are you adding the onions to the meatballs or the sauce? We added to sauce, but couldn’t figure out from your instructions your original intention. Either way they add great flavor. 2) are you using a convection oven for the 20 minutes of cook time? We have a normal oven, and at 20 minutes the dish was just starting to warm up. We moved it to the stove to speed things up.
    Smells great as it bubbles away – looking forward to diving in shortly. The anticipation is making my tummy growl!

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