Ktzitzot “Meatballs In Tomato Sauce”

This recipe for Ktzitzot “Meatballs In Tomato Sauce” is so simple and delicious. Serve this with some simple sides like pita or laffa and a side salad and you have an easy and simple dinner. I love making this for dinner, especially on the weekends, when I have little time. I almost always have some sort of bread on hand such as sourdough and I always have mixed greens and veggies in the fridge.

You can turn this easy dish into any style of meal you like. Noodles with meatballs and sauce OR you can serve this over a bed of rice. For the sides, the sky is the limit. I love making Israeli salad or some other kind of simple salad to go with it and of course bread. The bread is for dipping into the beautiful tomato sauce. You can stuff the meatballs into a pita with some salad, top it with tahini sauce, and have a fantastic meal. However, if you serve this tasty dish you are going to love it.

Let me share with you how to make it.


28 oz crushed tomatoes – reserve 3 tbsp for the meatballs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion – finely diced
3 cloves of garlic – minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or harissa) to taste
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup red wine (or beef broth)

1 lb ground meat ( I use ground beef or ground chicken)
1 egg
3 tbsp of the reserved crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp sumac
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried parsley


  1. In a bowl combine the beef, egg, reserved crushed tomatoes, spices, breadcrumbs, and parsley. Mix to combine well. Do not over-mix. Mix until just combined. Roll into 2 tbsp size balls and place on a plate and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or braiser pot, over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, onions, salt, and pepper. Mix and cook until the onions are tender. About 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the red wine and stir. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate the alcohol from the wine.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Do not stir. Gently spoon some of the sauce over the tops of the meatballs. Cover with a lid and let cook for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 10 minutes longer. Gently stir the meatballs and the sauce to prevent burning on the bottom. Do not stir vigorously or the meatballs will break apart.
  7. Serve.

  • Serve with a side of rice, salad, and bread. Or you can serve however you like.
  • You can sear the meatballs before placing them into the sauce. Just simply add the oil to the pan and sear on both sides and place on a plate and set aside. Follow the remaining directions 2 through 7.
  • Top with crumbled feta and chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.
  • If you do not like heat leave out the red pepper flakes. You can adjust the heat to your taste.
  • Any breadcrumb mixture will do in the meatballs. I use plain breadcrumbs but seasoned will do just fine.
  • If you do not want to add red wine to this dish you can substitute it with beef broth. The red wine gives it a beautiful depth of flavor but you can certainly add beef broth instead.
  • Once you add the meatballs to the sauce, cover them with a lid. After 5-10 minutes gently move the meatballs around in the sauce. Spoon some of the sauce over the top and let cook for 5 minutes or so before stirring again. You do not want to vigorously stir the meatballs as it will tear the meatballs apart in the sauce. You want the meatballs to stay intact. After the 20-minute cook time, remove the lid and let some of the liquid evaporate to thicken the sauce. Thicken the sauce to how you like it.

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