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Porcupine Meatballs
with potatoes / green beans

Active: 45 minTotal: 45 min
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These "porcupine" meatballs get their name from the cooked rice that is folded into the mixture and pokes out a bit after cooking. Ricotta lends moisture to the meatballs.
Smarts: If you’d like tomato sauce for dipping Thursday’s calzones, double the recipe below and set half aside for Thurs.



Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Thyme:
  • Shallots - 1 bulb, diced
  • Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
  • Thyme leaves - 1 tsp, leaves torn
  • Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
  • Paprika - 1/4 tsp
  • Tomatoes, crushed (28 oz / 794 g) - 1 can
Porcupine Meatballs:
  • Beef, ground - 1 lb
  • Cheese, ricotta - 1/4 cup
  • Panko breadcrumbs - 1/4 cup
  • Eggs - 1
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Oregano, dried - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Cooked rice (leftover from Monday) - 1 cup
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
Boiled Potatoes and Green Beans:
  • Green beans, fresh or frozen - 12 oz, chopped into 1” / 2.5 cm pieces
  • Potatoes, baby red or yellow - 1 lb, halved
  • Butter - 1 Tbsp

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. Green beans / Shallots / Garlic / Thyme - Prep as directed. Store green beans and shallots in their own containers. Combine garlic and thyme in another container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Make tomato sauce - (If prepping right before cooking, get water for potatoes / green beans boiling before continuing with prep.) Heat a saucepan with olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and paprika and saute for 1 minute. Pour tomatoes over top and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Form meatballs - Combine beef, cheese, panko, eggs, salt, oregano, black pepper, and cooked rice. Form into 1” / 2.5 cm wide meatballs. You should have ~4 meatballs per serving. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  4. Potatoes - Slice potatoes in half. Soak in water if not using right away.


  1. Place potatoes into a stock pot and cover with cold water and some salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  2. Add green beans and continue simmering potatoes and green beans together until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 4 to 6 minutes more.
  3. Drain and let sit in a colander for ~5 minutes to let the steam escape (this creates creamier potatoes vs. liquidy potatoes).
  4. Meanwhile, heat a skillet with cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and saute on all sides until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Pour tomato sauce (reserve half if you doubled it for Thursday) around meatballs and cover. Cook, covered, until meatballs are cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Toss potatoes and green beans with butter. Season generously with some salt and pepper.
  7. Serve meatballs and sauce with potatoes and green beans on the side. Enjoy!

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This meal has 33 reviews

We liked this meal a lot! Little bits of the meatballs did stick quite a bit to the skillet. I think this might be from all the starch in the rice and the GF breadcrumbs. Despite that, this was one we will make again.

By: Stephanie
Posted: Dec 13, 2018
Diet: Gluten-free

Enjoyed this meal. Used my Instant Pot to make the potatoes and green beans, which simplified the whole thing. Meatballs were easy to make, though I would add some more spices the next time. The final step of simmering the meatballs in the sauce actually takes FAR less time than the recipe calls for. If you have a meat thermometer, I would defer to that so the meatballs don't get overcooked. Would recommend this recipe, though!

By: Bailey
Posted: Dec 02, 2018
Diet: Original

I thought this was pretty good, and completely missed the step where you finish the meatballs in the sauce...I just ladled the sauce overtop- and it was fine. A bit time consuming, though, and I used at least 3 pans, which is more than I'm used to.

By: Kristen
Posted: Nov 20, 2018
Diet: Original

Meatballs tasted a bit bland to me. Used Trader Joe’s tiny potatoes which turned out great but again a bit bland.

By: Kelsey
Posted: Nov 19, 2018
Diet: Gluten-free

Liked this a lot. I didn’t think the meatballs and sauce would fit in my skillet, so I made the sauce in my Dutch oven and transferred the meatballs to the sauce after browning them. I like my meatballs extra brown; I think this helped keep them together in the sauce. I did have a lot of loose (burnt) rice in the skillet, but his wasn’t a big deal since I wasn’t adding the sauce to that pan. To simplify things, I skipped the potatoes and steamed green beans in the microwave. Still very satisfying.

By: Danielle
Posted: Nov 16, 2018
Diet: Original

Fine but not fantastic. Tried to make it a bean sauce instead of tomato based and it was a bit dry. Added some potatoes into the cauliflower/bean mix because my family loves them...

By: Shawn
Posted: Nov 16, 2018
Diet: Paleo