Cheesy Meatball Casserole


This cheesy meatball casserole is a family favorite, with basil adding flavor to the meatballs and grated onion adding moisture. Melted mozzarella cheese tames the spice, but feel free to cut back or eliminate the crushed red pepper if you prefer a milder dish.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr


  • 16 ounces whole-wheat fusilli pasta

  • 1 (24 ounce) jar lower-sodium marinara sauce, divided

  • 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup grated sweet onion

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 2 cups shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta; cook until the center of the pasta is still somewhat firm, about 4 minutes less than package directions. Drain the pasta and transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add half of marinara sauce to the pasta and stir to coat.

  2. Combine ground beef, panko, onion, basil, egg, Italian seasoning, salt and crushed red pepper in a large bowl; gently mix with your hands (do not overmix). Form the mixture into 16 (about 1 1/2-inch) meatballs, nestling the meatballs into the pasta mixture as you work. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the casserole and top with cheese.

  3. Bake until a thermometer inserted into the meatballs registers at least 160°F and the cheese is lightly browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Garnish with basil, if desired.

    cheesy meatball casserole
    Jen Causey

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

465 Calories
17g Fat
53g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size 1 1/2 cups
Calories 465
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 29g 58%
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Vitamin A 529IU 11%
Vitamin C 5mg 6%
Vitamin D 11IU 3%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 56mcg 14%
Vitamin K 7mcg 6%
Sodium 607mg 26%
Calcium 241mg 19%
Iron 5mg 28%
Magnesium 94mg 22%
Potassium 505mg 11%
Zinc 6mg 55%
Vitamin B12 2mcg 83%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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