Porcupine Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Click the button above for video!



I remember my mom making this dish when I was growing up and then I made it for my kids once in a while.  It’s been awhile so here is my version of it.  It reminds me of my Midwest roots or at least Michigan and that reminds me of home.  The rice in the meatballs look like little porcupine spikes after the meatballs are cooked.  And the meatballs finish cooking in the rich tomato sauce.  Delicious and good comfort food.  

Note:  You can cook the meatballs in the sauce or bake the meatballs first and finish cooking them in the sauce.   I think either way works out perfectly. 






  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

‘Porcupine Meatballs in Tomato Sauce



  • 1 lb of Ground Beef
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/3 cup Onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ½  cup dry Rice (long grain, Jasmine or other) 
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • Garnish:  if desired
  •   Grated Mozzarella Cheese, grated, 
  •   Parsley, chopped



  • 1- 14.5oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Worcheshire Sauce 
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • Few tablespoons, up to a ¼ cup of Chicken broth, if needed if sauce is too thick



  • Preheat oven 350 (if baking the meatballs)
  • Chop up the onions, garlic and parsley 
  • In a bowl add the meat, onions, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasonings, paprika and mix all together.  Then add in the egg and mix til combine.  Add in the rice and water.
  • Form the meat into meatballs – about 24, depending on how big you make them.  Set aside.  If baking the meatballs, place in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Don’t worry if they are not completely done.  They will finish cooking in the sauce.  
  • In another bowl add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, parsley and garlic and completely mix all together.   If you think the sauce is too thick add in a few tablespoons of broth.  
  • In a large deep pan, on medium high heat, drizzle a little olive oil and add the meatballs.  Place evenly around the pan.  Add the sauce and evenly spread out the sauce to cover the meatballs.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes then reduce the heat to medium low and finish cooking for another 15 minutes until meatballs are done cooking in the sauce.
  • Garnish with a little grated Mozzarella and chopped parsley if desired.   You can finish serving the Porcupine Meatballs with rice, mashed potatoes and a green vegetable or salad.

Enjoy ☺