Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other dinner recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Meatloaf Meatballs with Parmesan Polenta Recipe

This recipe transforms basic ingredients into a savory, multi-dimensional meal. A mix of pork and beef combine with oats to form a meatball with incredible texture. Pockets of onion, celery, and garlic deepen the flavor while an elevated ketchup sauce glazes the meatballs. A creamy bed of polenta made with Parmesan cheese and butter finishes off the dish. Flexible for leftovers, this meatloaf meatball will become a staple in no time.

Why I love this recipe.

Meatloaf is either the most loved or hated. I love it and have the best memories of eating meatloaf on Sundays after church. I used to always make a large loaf that would sliced and served, and then I realized that not only could the baking time be reduced, but the amount of caramelized outer crust could be increased on each serving by making meatballs. The added bonus happens to be that everyone may not think they love meatloaf, but they always love a meatball. The mixture is nearly identical to my mom’s traditional recipes and happens to be gluten-free by using oats as the binder instead of bread. Served with Parmesan cheese polenta, it is a perfect meal that no one will complain about.

Two white plates on marble surface filled with polenta and meatloaf meatballs with more meatballs on sheet pan.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Ground beef
  • Ground pork
  • Onion and celery
  • Quick-cooking oats
  • Ketchup
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make meatloaf meatballs including meat, spices, polenta, brown sugar, Parmesan cheese, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Place olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dice the celery and onion. Mince the garlic. Add all to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, then take off the heat to cool. Stir in the thyme while the contents are still warm.
  1. Assemble the meatloaf mixture. In a large bowl, add the ground pork and beef. In a small bowl, beat two eggs until smooth. Add the eggs to the meat along with the quick-cooking oats. Once the onion and celery have cooled, add it to the bowl as well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the beef stock and mix together using your hands.
  1. Assemble the meatballs. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a scoop or spoon, form the mixture into equal-sized ¼ cup meatballs. Place in the preheated 350°F oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  1. Create the sauce. While the meatballs cook, add the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to a saucepan. Place on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk together. Remove the meatballs from the oven and brush the sauce over the top. Return them to the oven to cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
  1. Create the polenta. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and whisk in the polenta. Add the heavy cream, then bring to a simmer, about 6 to 10 minutes. Take off the heat, then add in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Whisk together, and add black pepper to taste. Serve spread onto a plate and with meatballs on top.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Beating the eggs before they are added allows them to combine better with the other ingredients. That way, you’re not trying to break up the yolks while also mixing the meat together.
  • Ensure the meat mixture is well-combined. Each element brings a different flavor to the dish, and that should be consistent throughout. Otherwise, there could be pockets of excess ingredients within the meatballs.
  • Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It takes a little bit more work to grate the cheese, but it creates a noticeable difference from pre-grated cheese, enhancing the polenta it’s used in.
Cooked meatloaf meatballs sitting on parchment-lined baking sheet with ketchup sauce all over the top and sides.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can this be made with just pork or beef?

Yes, either all pork or beef can be used. The resulting texture and flavor will change. Beef tends to be more flavorful and more dense. Pork is lighter in flavor and texture.

Can the meatballs be prepared early and cooked later?

Yes, they can be portioned and placed in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

How long does this recipe keep after preparing?

The leftovers need to be stored in the refrigerator and will last for 7 to 10 days.

Meatloaf meatball sliced in half showing interior texture with Parmesan polenta underneath all on white plate.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More dinner recipes to try

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

White plate filled with Parmesan polenta topped with two ketchup-covered meatloaf meatballs.

Meatloaf Meatballs with Parmesan Polenta

5 from 1 vote
This recipe transforms basic ingredients into a savory, multi-dimensional meal. A mix of pork and beef combine with oats to form a meatball with incredible texture. Pockets of onion, celery, and garlic deepen the flavor while an elevated ketchup sauce glazes the meatballs. A creamy bed of polenta made with Parmesan cheese and butter finishes off the dish. Flexible for leftovers, this meatloaf meatball will become a staple in no time.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

For the vegetables

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme

For the meatballs

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2 large eggs whisked
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ cup beef stock

For the sauce

  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 ½ tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

For the polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

For the meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Once hot, add the onion, celery, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the onion and celery are soft and tender, 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the thyme. Set the mixture aside to cool.
    1 tbsp olive oil, 1 medium onion, 1 stalk celery, 2 cloves garlic, ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, quick-cooking oats, whisked eggs, salt, black pepper, beef stock, and cooled onion mixture. Mix together until it is well combined.
    1 lb ground pork, 1 lb ground beef, 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ¾ cup beef stock
  • Portion ¼ cup meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place them in the preheated 350°F oven to roast.
  • While roasting, in a small saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 4-5 minutes and remove from the heat.
    ¾ cup ketchup, 1 ½ tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • After the meatballs have baked for 20 minutes, remove them from the oven. Brush each one with the prepared ketchup glaze. Return the meatballs to the oven to finish roasting until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F, 15-20 minutes. Serve with the Parmesan polenta.

For the polenta

  • In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the salt. While whisking, slowly pour in the polenta. Add the heavy cream and continue stirring until the polenta has soaked up the water and cream and the bubbles become slow and thick, 6-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    4 cups water, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 cup polenta, ½ cup heavy cream
  • Add Parmesan cheese, butter, and black pepper. Stir to incorporate and serve immediately.
    4 tbsp butter, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp black pepper

Notes

Beating the eggs before they are added allows them to combine better with the other ingredients. That way, you’re not trying to break up the yolks while also mixing the meat together.
Ensure the meat mixture is well-combined. Each element brings a different flavor to the dish, and that should be consistent throughout. Otherwise, there could be pockets of excess ingredients within the meatballs.
Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It takes a little bit more work to grate the cheese, but it creates a noticeable difference from pre-grated cheese, enhancing the polenta it’s used in.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (includes polenta)Calories: 601kcal
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for dinner and it was wonderful! I cut the recipe for the meatloaf meatballs in half as it’s just me and my husband. That worked out great!

    1. I made one batch for me and my husband, and froze the rest in mason quart jars. We liked them, so then I made a DOUBLE batch and froze in quart mason jars, five to a jar. Tonight, we are having a “serving”, (3 for him and 2 for me) and making the polenta (half batch) for the first time to serve them as Wyse Guide recommended.