Sunday Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

Sunday Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

Sunday Sauce (or as some call it, gravy) and meatballs––an Italian tradition, has been a constant in my kitchen since I was a kid. Just because my family and I stopped eating stopped eating grains and therefore, pasta, wasn't going to mean cutting out our traditional Sunday dinner... at least, not in my kitchen! This is my own family recipe for sauce and meatballs––only slightly modified for a Paleo diet. Every Sunday morning, as each member of my family wakes up, you can be sure they smell the wonderful aroma of tomatoes and garlic wafting through the house. I usually make this first thing in the morning on Sunday's––since the longer this sauce cooks, the better it tastes. Though it only truly takes about four hours for the sauce and the meat to fully cook, I'd recommend letting it simmer away on your stove top all day so you can enjoy the tastiest possible sauce on top of your zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or any other pasta substitute you might enjoy! *This recipe is also great for leftovers. This is the amount of sauce and meatballs I make every week for a family of five and we always have leftovers. If any leftover sauce or meatballs survive a week in your house, add them to your sauce the next week––it'll be even better after the second time it's cooked!


Sunday Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 4-6 hr Total Time: 4-6 hr, 20 min Yield: 4.5qt sauce + 12 meatballs

Ingredients Tomato Sauce

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 tbsp basil

  • 2 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp parsley

  • ½ tsp rosemary

  • ½ tsp thyme

  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper, optional


  • 2lbs “meatball mix” (equal parts ground beef, veal, and pork)

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs

  • 1 tsp basil

  • 1 tsp oregano


  1. Add olive oil to a large saucepan (I use a 5.5qt) and heat to low. Finely chop garlic, add to oil in the pan, and saute until lightly browned, being careful not to let it burn. If you're using fresh herbs, add them into this mixture after about two minutes and stir into the oil so they don't burn (this allows the flavors to be absorbed into the oil and distributed throughout the entire pot of sauce).

  2. Open up two cans of crushed tomatoes and once the garlic is browned, pour them into the pan. Add water to the pan. If you're not using fresh herbs, add the dried herbs and crushed red pepper to the sauce now and stir well.

  3. To make the meatballs, mix the ground beef, ground veal, and ground pork well in a medium sized mixing bowl. Crack in the eggs, then add the breadcrumbs, basil, and oregano. Mix, with your hands, until well combined.

  4. Form the meat mixture into 12 plum sized balls (6 per pound of meat, in case you’re scaling the recipe). Place the meatballs directly into your sauce. Cover the pan (with a wooden spoon in the way so some water can boil out). Let simmer and reduce for at least 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally to avoid boiling or burning the sauce. Serve over some zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash and enjoy!

    * Alternatively, you can cook the meatballs without the sauce by rolling them into balls, placing on a rimmed baking sheet and baking on 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes (until browned), turning over halfway through.

Grilled Peach Burgers with Balsamic Sauce

Grilled Peach Burgers with Balsamic Sauce

Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini Noodles