Crispy Sheet-Pan Meatballs with Salsa Verde
If the word “meatballs” brings to mind some kind of long, elaborate Sunday cooking project, then this recipe is here to change your mind. No shade to the classic Italian American version, but they just don’t need three kinds of meat, a tedious sear and braise, or even tomato sauce to be incredibly delicious. When you stick with one type of meat, give them quick, high-heat roast in the oven, and serve them with an herby salsa verde, few things are as cheap, versatile, and weeknight-friendly as a sheet pan full of meatballs. Think of this recipe as a template, and the possibilities are endless—mess around with different spices, types of meat, herbs and other add-ins, and you can easily make these once a week without getting bored. They’re great on top of grain bowls, in noodle-y soups, as an appetizer, or on their own alongside a green salad or some simply roasted veggies. And don't sleep on that salsa verde—it might just become your new favorite put-on-everything sauce.
- 2 garlic cloves, divided
- 2 cups packed mixed herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil, and/or dill, divided
- 3 Tbsp. drained capers
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 3 Tbsp. plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1 lb. ground beef (20% fat)
- 1 lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°. Finely grate 1 garlic clove into a medium bowl. Finely grate 1 more garlic clove into a small bowl. (The medium bowl is for your meatball mixture, and the small bowl is for your salsa verde, in case this part seems silly.)
- Finely chop 2 cups mixed herbs. As we mentioned in the ingredients list, you can use any combo of soft herbs like parsley, dill, basil, and/or cilantro, but if you've only got one that's cool, too-we just love how green and complex they taste when mixed together. Transfer half to same medium bowl, then transfer remaining herbs to same small bowl.
- Finely chop 3 Tbsp. capers. Transfer 2 Tbsp. capers to medium bowl, then transfer remaining 1 Tbsp. capers to small bowl. Chop ¼ cup walnuts and add to same medium bowl. If you've never added nuts to meatballs, you're in for a real treat; they lend great texture and flavor to the finished dish.
- Whisk in 1 egg, 1 Tbsp. paprika, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. oil to bowl with walnuts.
- Using clean hands, mix 1 cup panko into egg mixture. Add 1 lb. ground beef and continue to mix gently with your hands until incorporated, but do not overmix. This part is key-if you work the mixture too much, the meat will become tough and springy, almost like sausage, so use a gentle hand. Also: At this point, you can pinch off a little piece of the meatball mixture, crisp it in a skillet, and give it a taste to make sure the seasoning is to your liking. This is your last chance to make any tweaks before they all get cooked!
- Drizzle 2 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roll beef mixture into 1½" balls (about the size of golf balls). Arrange 1" apart on pan.
- Bake meatballs, shaking pan halfway through, until crispy on all sides, about 10 minutes. One cool thing about using all beef (instead of a beef-pork-veal combo) is that it's totally fine if the meatballs are a little pink in the middle.
- While meatballs are cooking, you can finish that salsa verde. This is one of our all-time favorite sauces, and is delicious spooned over just about any piece of meat, roasted veg, or bowl of leftovers you can think of. Which is all to say: Get ready to have a lot more salsa verde in your life from here on out. Finely grate lemon zest into bowl with herbs and garlic. Halve the lemon you just zested and squeeze juice into bowl, using your hand to catch any seeds. (You can use a citrus squeezer for this if you've got one.) Add remaining ½ cup oil and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, taste, and add more seasoning if necessary-it should be good and punchy.
- Transfer meatballs to a platter, and serve with salsa verde alongside.