Roasted Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with San Marzano Tomato Sauce

Roasted Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with San Marzano Sauce

Probably my favorite way to wind down after a long day is with a glass of red wine and a kitchen full of fresh ingredients. There is something about cooking a beautiful Italian meal with good ingredients, especially if it is, almost, healthy! I came across this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine and instantly was drawn in by the photo. I read through the recipe and noted the ratings, and then decided it was worth a try. It turned out delicious! My fellow dinner eaters and I were left with an amazing taste on our palates and staring into our empty wine glass in a food coma, but in a not-over-the-top way. I made a few revisions to the recipe by adapting to how I was taught to cook by my Italian mother. I feel that is what really put the recipe over the top and I am now happy to share it with you 🙂

Makes a perfect amount for four people, no pasta needed. I made the dish along with some sauteed broccolini in garlic & evoo.

Roasted Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with San Marzano Tomato SauceTurkey & Spinach Meatballs : adapted from Bon Appetit. 


  • 1/4 cup of good olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 2tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can of Cento San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes, whole
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 2tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped


  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • 2 large handfulls of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Romano
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. water

Okay, I know what you’re thinking…that’s A LOT of ingredients. Well, it looks like it but i swear to you that your tummy will thank you.(and those eating with you)

First, preheat the broiler on your oven. For the sauce, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring often, until soft but not brown (5min). Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes; season w/ salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant (1min). Add tomato paste and 1tbsp. water and cook, stirring, until tomato paste coats onion and begins to darken, about 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes to saucepan, crushing with your hands as you add them. Add a pinch of sugar and a pinch of baking soda to relieve the acidity. Bring to a boil, reduce head and gently simmer 25-30 minutes. (When you are almost ready to eat, add the fresh herbs and stir.)

Meatball time! Cover a rimmed baking sheet w/ foil and coat with nonstick spray. Using your hands, gently mix egg, onion, garlic, spinach, cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, fennel seeds, lemon zest, salt, sour cream, water, olive oil in a bowl until just combined. Scoop out the mixture by the handful (about 1/4 cup) depending on your preference and how long you have to cook them. Place on a prepared baking sheet, spacing 2″ apart, brush with a little more oil.

Broil meatballs, turning often, until browned all over and cooked, 15 minutes. Add to the sauce. Then with the pan that you broiled the meatballs on, add a few tablespoons of water and scrape up the brown bits from the meatballs browning. Add this liquid to the sauce & meatballs. Stir gently and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Buon Appetito! It’s well worth it & a great recipe to have on hand for a romantic meal.

Side Note: The reason I put to use Cento San Marzano tomatoes is because they are simply the best. I find that they produce the best fresh flavor for sauce and getting them in whole, peeled form produces the best texture. Also, the baking soda & sugar pinches are a trick I learned from my great grandmother who came to America from Palermo, Sicily. Works like a charm. 

 closing xox jenna


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