Ricotta-Parmesan Meatballs {gluten free}

December 14, 2017  •  Cooking for One (or Two), Meat & Poultry

I’m starting a new feature for this blog: cooking for one (or two). My house shrunk from a family of five, to an empty nester house of two after our kids were launched, to a household of just me when my husband died earlier this year. I know it’s hard to cook for one, for so many reasons. It’s more fun to cook when you can share it with someone else. Cooking for yourself can be a reminder of a loss if you’ve experienced one. It’s sometimes hard to scale recipes. It’s frustrating to have waste. I could go on and on – I live this challenge every day! And yet, I love to cook, so I’m tackling the challenge head on, and look forward to sharing all of my tips with you.That might sound obvious, but how to do that with various dishes might not seem so obvious. Whenever possible, I make a large batch of any dish that freezes well – lasagna, meatballs, meatloaf, chili, soup, etc. And then I freeze them in 1-2 serving portion sizes – enough either for a dinner for two or in my case, for dinner one night and lunch the next day. Having things on hand like this perfectly portioned means you can have a decent meal even on those nights you just don’t have it in you to cook for one. In the case of meatballs, freeze them on a tray so they don’t stick together, then pop them into freezer bags to store them. You can pull out as many meatballs as needed – whether you’re feeding just yourself or other friends or family. And so I give you: Best. Meatballs. Ever!These babies are bursting with flavor, are tender and velvety on your tongue, and are perhaps the most satisfying meatball I’ve ever created. If your freezer space is limited, cut the recipe in half. But if you have the space, making a big batch at once is easier!

Ricotta-Parmesan Meatballs {gluten free}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 18 (2 meatballs per serving)
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or bison
  • 2 pounds ground pork (not so lean - this is where the flavor comes from!)
  • 2 medium onions, minced ((I use the food processor)
  • 1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped (throw in food processor with the onions)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 cups oats, finely ground (or breadcrumbs if you don't need gluten free)
  1. Mix the two meats gently with your hands or a fork in a large bowl. Add the onion, parsley, salt, pepper, eggs, and ricotta, and use a fork to incorporate the ingredients so as not to pack down the mixture too much. Add the cheese and oats and gently mix with your hands just until combined, taking care not to overwork the meat.
  2. Line 3 baking sheets with either silicone liners or parchment paper. Use a ¼ cup ice cream scoop to portion the meat into 36 meatballs, placing 12 on each baking sheet. Gently form into balls and then bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  3. Line a 4th baking sheet with clean parchment paper and remove cooked meatballs from the baking sheets and place onto clean baking sheet. Freeze completely, and then store in freezer bags in the freezer until needed.
  4. Meatballs can be microwaved to thaw or thawed in the refrigerator. If using in sauce, simply simmer in the marinara sauce until heated through.


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