To stretch the ground beef, we use high-fiber bulgur and whole-wheat breadcrumbs in the meatballs, which are baked rather than fried.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Fall 2004




Sauce & Spaghetti


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare meatballs: Combine bulgur and water in a small bowl. Let stand until the bulgur is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a rack with cooking spray and place it over a baking sheet lined with foil.

  • Combine ground beef, sausage, onion, egg whites, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and the soaked bulgur in a large bowl; mix well. Form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs (about 24). Place the meatballs on the rack and bake for 25 minutes. Blot well with paper towel.

  • To prepare sauce & spaghetti: Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Bring sauce to a simmer in a Dutch oven. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in basil (or parsley).

  • Meanwhile, cook spaghetti (or linguine) until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the sauce and meatballs and serve with grated cheese.


Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs: Trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice makes about 1/3 cup.

Nutrition Facts

486 calories; protein 25.8g 52% DV; carbohydrates 81.9g 26% DV; dietary fiber 14.5g 58% DV; sugars 10.1g; fat 8.7g 13% DV; saturated fat 2.8g 14% DV; cholesterol 28mg 9% DV; vitamin a iu 793.3IU 16% DV; vitamin c 28.3mg 47% DV; folate 56.6mcg 14% DV; calcium 157.7mg 16% DV; iron 5.2mg 29% DV; magnesium 156.9mg 56% DV; potassium 663.3mg 19% DV; sodium 532.2mg 21% DV; thiamin 0.5mg 52% DV.

Reviews (11)

Read More Reviews
11 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 5
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
Wonderful meal for a fall weekend! This recipe can be changed around a lot. I doubled the meat as 8 oz of meat did not sound right. I'll use garlic powder next time in place of the cloves and cut the parsley in half as our son does not like. I could sprinkle it on top of my serving. Pros: Very healthy ingredients and basically a one-dish stand alone entree. Cons: Did take me quite a while to prepare. Our son prefers garlic powder & no parsley. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I love this recipe. I used cannelli instead of spaghetti but that was the only change I made. The taste of the meatballs was amazing. I could eat this all day long. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
WHOA on the onion! Well I cannot agree with the rave reviews and I can't believe this is a kid friendly meal with all the onion! I guess with all the bulgur wheat you have to add the onion (not to mention fatty sausage). It is unfortunate that I was optimistic and made a double recipe so my family will see these again from the freezer. This was a nine thumbs down in my house of ten thumbs. Pros: friendly recipe to follow Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I used canned tomatoes and some extra seasoning instead of marinara sauce and it tasted great. I also used turkey italian sausage instead of pork. Also I've been subbing quick oats for breadcrumbs in my meatball and meatloaf recipe for years. It doesn't change the flavor and it cuts down on sodium something I've been trying really hard to do for my 1 year old. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Simple and Delicious! I used this recipe the first time I made meatballs. It was very simple and the meatballs were excellent. I substituted wheat germ for the breadcrumbs. The wheat germ gave the meatballs a great nutty flavor. Everyone loved them!! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Healthy method of making meat balls I wanted to make traditional spaghetti and meatballs but with a healthier twist so this was the perfect solution! I don't like to use ground beef. I would appreciate tips on making healthier choices for ground meat in general.... Bought organic at the supermarket. But perhaps next time I'll go to a butcher and get good quality meat ground up... I wonder about the sausages too.... anyway baking the meatballs worked really well! I felt good about all the fat dripping down into the pan rather than sitting in my stomach! Next time I may add less bulgar wheat and try to find actual spicy sausages... My supermarket didn't have any so I bought the closest thing and added my own paprika and cayenne. Needed a little bit more kick. But great recipe. Will use it again! I paired it with the Cast Iron Skillet corn bread recipe on this site and a Marinara Sauce of Ina Garten on the Was a hit! Pros: Reduced fat Nice taste baked instead of fried. Cons: uses ground beef Read More
Rating: 5 stars
These are great! I used ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage instead. I have made them a few times and they are great every time. I would disagree with the person who said there was too much onion and garlic I think it is the perfect amount. Onion makes any kind of ground beef item (meatballs burgers meatloaf etc.) very moist. A good way to do it is instead of chopping the onion you can grate it with a fine grater--faster and makes it super moist--you can also grate the garlic this way as well. I made the meatballs to put in the crockpot with BBQ sauce this time--I'm sure it will be great! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Family Favorite My 8 year old son requested these meatballs for his birthday meal. What more do you have to say! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Good but... maybe too much fiber My review is really for the meatballs since I used bottled sauce. The meatballs were tasty and cooked up just fine. The only problem is with all the extra fiber courtesy of the bulgur (along with whole wheat pasta) a small lunch of this dish gives both me and my husband a solid dose of indigestion. It expands quite a bit once I eat it. Just a word of caution. Pros: Healthy tasty Cons: Gives us indigestion Read More