With one taste of this authentic Italian spaghetti sauce and meatball recipe; I’m taken back to my childhood and eating dinner with my grandparents. This full flavored sauce and tasty meatballs are a must try!

Grandma's Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs- bursting with authentic Italian flavor!

Everyday I think about my grandparents and miss my grandma VERY much. I have so many special memories of spending time with her; from visiting my grandparents’ home in Oklahoma City during the summers… we always had so much fun, to family get-togethers during the holiday season. My grandmother was a fabulous cook and she often made her spaghetti sauce and meatballs when we visited. My whole family loves this meal and when it was served we always left the dinner table with full tummies!

Grandma's Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs- bursting with authentic Italian flavor!

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Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs: A Family Favorite Recipe

An authentic Italian family recipe that's huge on flavor!
Author: Kim


For the Sauce:

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4.5 cups tomato juice, I pureed about 5 of my garden tomatoes in a high-speed blender.
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 4 cans water, use the tomato paste cans to measure out your water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1.5 teaspoons oregano

For the Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs. ground pork, I used 1 lb. lean ground turkey and 1 lb. bison.
  • 1.5 cups soft bread crumbs, 4 slices of bread ground in food processor
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for pan frying meatballs
  • 1 box, or desired amount of your favorite type of pasta noodles, alternatively you can also enjoy this sauce over zucchini noodles (about 1 medium zucchini per serving)


  • Heat olive oil in a very large pot or dutch oven. Saute onion for about 5 minutes and until soft. Add garlic and saute an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomato juice, tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, sugar, basil and oregano. Simmer 3 hours with loose lid and stir occasionally.
  • While sauce is simmering; combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. I used my hands to thoroughly combine ingredients together.
  • Roll meat mixture into meatballs and pan fry in a large skillet with olive oil. You will most likely have to do this in several batches, depending on the size of your skillet. You will not want meatballs to be completely cooked, just browned around the outside.
  • Add meatballs to simmering sauce for the last hour of sauce cooking time.
  • Enjoy sauce and meatballs served over your favorite pasta noodles, zucchini noodles or make meatball subs.


Nutrition is for sauce and meatballs only. Serve with your choice of pasta or zoodles.
Calories: 659kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 171mg, Sodium: 1829mg, Potassium: 1007mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 1000IU, Vitamin C: 37mg, Calcium: 195mg, Iron: 4mg

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Grandma's Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs- bursting with authentic Italian flavor!

When I recreated my grandma’s recipe; I stayed very true to the original. Why screw up a great thing, right? And did I mention my grandma was 100% full Italian? 😉 The few things that I did change was using my own fresh tomatoes for the tomato juice and substituting the ground pork with ground turkey and bison. I’m also sure that she used white bread for the bread crumbs, but I used sprouted wheat bread. You’ll also notice from the picture that I combined zucchini noodles with whole wheat spaghetti noodles. Brad and I each had one medium zucchini spiralized with some additional wheat noodles thrown in. My spaghetti sauce and meatball recipe turned out just as wonderful as I remember my grandma’s tasting. Below is one of my very favorite pictures with my grandparents, Alexis and Landen. My grandma actually had this photo framed and sitting out at her house. 😉

family photo

Something to think about….

Have you ever tried zucchini noodles? I loved combining them with regular pasta. It is much less noticeable this way. Click here to view the spiralizer (affiliate link) I have. I love it! And it’s on sale right now with free shipping!

Do you have a favorite recipe that your grandma used to make or still does?

Do you have fun plans for the 4th?

Have a great holiday tomorrow and be safe!!