Meatballs in red sauce – Yuvarlakia


Growing up meatball soup was one of my favorite dishes that my mom prepared. Comforting and delicious, “yuvarlakia” (or giouvarlakia) is are usually prepared with a white egg-lemon sauce. I had shown you how to prepare the traditional meatball soup before and today I’m bringing to you another one-pot and easy to make way to prepare this dish for your family. Those yuvarlakia is such a crowd pleaser and I promise that your kids will love them.  Let’s get into cooking, sunshines!

What you will need

  • Minced beef. I used organic grass-fed and grass-finished minced beef as this is the traditional way of making yuvarlakia. However, you can use minced turkey or chicken, just make sure to add a little extra olive when you are kneading your yuvarlakia. You can even use minced lamb or bison, I have done this before and the result was equally tasty.
  • Bulgur wheat. Traditionally yuvarlakia is made with short-grain rice. To switch it up I used bulgur wheat. You can even use cauliflower rice for a grain-free option.
  • Vegetables: carrots, zucchini, onions, garlic. I like to add extra vegetables in my dishes. I feel like they add a ton of flavor and nutrition so this is a win-win.
  • Egg. This is our banding agent.
  • Pantry staples: extra virgin olive oil, tomato puree or passata.
  • Herbs: parsley and mint.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, pepper. Those spices bring such a great flavor into this dish.

“I love adding extra vegetables on my recipes. They add extra flavor and nutrition. However, this is not the main way that I serve vegetables to my kids and I don’t recommend to just hide vegetables. You should keep offering veggies in any possible way and in their original shape so your kids get exposed and learn to love them.”

How I served it

I kept it very simple as those meatballs in red sauce are a complete meal by itself. So, in our beloved eco-friendly natural bamboo Bubba-Boo plates* I served:

  • A heaping portion of meatballs in red sauce
  • Steamed sugar peas
  • Baked sweet potatoes

For my little one, 11 months old, I cut the meatballs in pieces so it is easier for her to grab them. In Panos’ Pippa Penguin Bubba-Boo plate*, I just kept it on the original shape and let him decide if he wants to cut it. This way I let him being in charge and he loves it.

“Keep in mind that I didn’t add any salt while I was cooking the meatballs as I wanted to serve this to my baby as well. We just added some afterwards in our plates. If you are not serving a baby, you can add it while you are cooking”

How to store

This is a great meal to save in the freezer so I would suggest to double the recipe and save the half in an airtight container for later. It freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. Of course, you can keep it in your fridge (if they survive) for up to 3 days.


Head over to Bubba Boo* website and use code PANOSEATS to get 12% off *.


Then don’t forget to check out the traditional meatballs soup and of course my veggie packed meatballs, which is a great to-go lunch or snack.

Meatballs in red sauce – Yuvarlakia

Recipe by Panos EatsCourse: MainDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



Comfort food at its best! This meatballs in red sauce is a great family style meal. Your kids will love those yuvarlakia!


  • For the meatballs
  • 2 lbs (0.91 kilograms) (0.91 kilograms (2.01 pounds)) minced beef

  • 1 cups bulgur wheat (or short-grain rice)

  • 2 medium sized carrots, grated

  • 1 medium sized onion, grated

  • 1 egg

  • 4 oz (113.4 grams) tomato puree

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped mint

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat parsley

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • For the red sauce
  • 3 medium sized carrots

  • 1 medium sized zucchini

  • 1 medium sized onion

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 20 oz (566.99 grams) tomato puree

  • 48 oz (1360.78 grams) tap water or vegetable stock

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • ½ tsp grounded clove

  • ½ tsp grounded nutmeg

  • salt and pepper to taste


  • For the meatballs
  • In a big mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients and knead to incorporate
  • Form small meatballs in the size of a ping pong ball and set aside
  • For the sauce
  • In a deep pot over medium heat saute the spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) with olive oil until fragrant
  • In the blender, blend the vegetables (onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini)
  • Add the vegetables’ mixture in the pot and stir well
  • Add the tomato sauce, water, salt and pepper and bring it to a boil
  • Gently add the meatballs one by one
  • Make sure that the pot has enough water to cover the meatballs
  • Cover with the lid and boil over medium heat for 40-45 minutes or until are cooked through

Recipe Video

Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, which means Panos Eats may receive a commission to help us run this site at no extra cost to you if you purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you anything! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »