Meatball Medley

Photography by Sonya Kaplan

Summer is sadly coming to a close. It’s time to get the kids ready for school, and I can’t be the only one who just can’t think of making another dinner!

But the family has to be fed. What could be more appealing than a one-dish dinner that requires minimal prep work and doesn’t entail washing a lot of dishes — and is ready to serve in an under an hour?


Meatball Mixture
  • 2 lbs (910 g) ground beef
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cubes frozen parsley
  • 3 cubes frozen garlic
  • 3 cubes frozen basil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Vegetable and Gnocchi Base
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 16-oz (450 g) pkg mini gnocchi
    (I used Tuscanini)
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a large mixing bowl, combine all meatball ingredients.

In a large ovenproof baking dish, combine tomatoes, peas, and gnocchi and toss with oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.

Form meat mixture into small balls and nestle all around the vegetables.

Place in oven and bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, toss lightly, and add baby spinach and lemon zest.

Return to oven and bake for another 15–20 minutes.


I actually used a mix of 50/50 ground beef and chicken. I find it’s moister and lighter tasting than straight beef, and my family prefers it in all the ground meat recipes I make.

If you can’t find mini gnocchi, absolutely replace it with regular-sized gnocchi. I prefer the small size in this recipe because you get more crispy edges.

As always, use whatever variety of vegetables you prefer or have on hand. I would stick with tomatoes, though, as they give off juices that create a bit of a saucy base for the meatballs to cook in.


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 856)

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