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Oh my gosh, you guys look.

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

I made a meal my oldest brother would LOVE.

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvestSimple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

When my brother comes to visit around the holidays, I always try to make the food he loves, but the rest of the year, I never make the type food he is into. My more usual fare has too many weird flavors, too many green things and never, EVER, enough beef.

BUT today I nailed it. Meatballs + pasta = Creighton food for sure. I only wish I could actually give him some to eat. I guess I will be making these around Thanksgiving… or Christmas, which kind of fits, seeing as the primary colors here are red and green.

Ok, sorry, no Christmas talk, but what about Halloween, can we talk about that yet?? This year I am more excited than most. I don’t know why, it’s not like I have crazy fun plans…or really any plans, but I don’t know. I think I am just SO happy that I have NO barn stuff to deal with this fall. Last year was beyond stressful, so this year I really want to do all the fun holiday things, and that means getting way too excited for Halloween!

Please tell me you guys are with me on this? Like can we just please pretend to be young kids and embrace that spirit that’s still alive within us somewhere?? Yes. <–DO IT.

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

And speaking of Halloween. I think this would be a pretty amazing pre trick or treating dinner… or in our family’s case, an after trick or treating dinner (my family doesn’t do anything EARLY!). It’s just such an easy, hearty, and of course, totally cozy, meal. A great way to both start and finish the month….you know, tomorrow is October first after all!

So here’s the deal. Aside from Creighton, no else is very big on meatballs. The idea of ground beef rolled into a ball just isn’t our thing, BUT, I found a way to make it our thing. Instead of ground beef, I really love using spicy Italian sausage. It just adds SO much flavor and the meatballs never come out dry. Another little secret of mine? Wet bread.

Yup, wet pieces of white or whole grain bread. I learned this trick from my grandma, who learned it from her mom. Both my grandmas make an amazing meatloaf. It’s probably my brother Creighton’s favorite meal. I have been saying for SO long now that I am going to make a meatloaf, but I just haven’t gotten the chance yet. I’m pretty sure my grandma has told me how to make it like five time now, and I still have yet to actually muster up the courage to try it out.

I think I’m kind of afraid to. I mean, you hear all these horror stories about meatloaf, bland, dry and tasteless meatloaf. Eeww! Who want’s that? Plus, most of the food I make, I make for the blog, and well I’m kind of scared to make meatloaf, and even more than a little horrified to photograph it.


Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvestSimple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

My point? If there’s one thing I have taken away from my grandma’s instructions on how to make her meatloaf, it’s that wetting your bread prior to mixing it with the meat is KEY for moisture. Trust me, the first time she told me this I literally said, “wait, what?”.  I had just never heard of actually putting bread under running water and squeezing out the excess water, seems weird, right?

Kind of, but it works, and it works really well. I used this same method for making my meatballs, and they turned out SO good! I do believe it’s all because of the bread. It’s magic guys!!

Ok and maybe all that oregano and sausage in there helps a little too!

Now let me tell you the bestest part about this dinner. It requires almost no effort. You mix your meatballs together, roll them into balls, place them in a baking dish, bake for a little, add your tomato sauce, add your cheese (and then a little more), bake a little longer, and… DONE. Yep, and only one pan – no frying the meatballs, no completely messy stove top and no broken, crumbly meatballs. Prayers answered, right?!?

And um, then – just add pasta!!

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 553 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


  • 1 pound ground spicy Italian Sausage may use ground beef if preferred
  • 2 slices thick soft whole grain or white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano chopped OR 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses may use regular molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Gochujang Korean chile paste, optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1 (28 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes crushed by hand
  • 2 tablespoons harissa optional
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced
  • 4 ounce provolone shredded
  • pasta for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  • Add the ground sausage to a mixing bowl. Take the bread and run it under water until dampened, but not soaked. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the the bread and then crumble the dampened bread into pieces and add to the bowl with the sausage. To the bowl, add the egg, oregano, cumin molasses and Gochujang. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into 2 tablespoon size balls (will make 10-12 meatballs). Place the meat balls in the prepared baking dish and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside, but not yet cooked through on the inside.
  • While the meatballs are baking, combine the olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, harissa (if using) and a pinch of salt + pepper in a bowl. Once the meatballs are ready, pour the sauce over them. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes longer or until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the foil and add the cheese. Place back in the oven until the mozzarella and provolone cheese are melted and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh oregano and your favorite pasta!


*Gochujang (Korean chile paste) may seem odd in this recipe but it adds a great unique flavor and if you have some, give it a try!
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Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs = Happiness!

Simple Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs | @hbharvest

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  1. 5 stars
    Good ideas with a new mess less method, very tasty with no mess. I used grass fed beef and substituted Chinese chili garlic paste because I was out of the Korean chili paste. The wet bread method stumped me, could not envision how bread when moistened would crumble but I followed instructions on the first slice. For second slice, I used days old brioche without water and bc the bread is normally moist and light, it ‘crumbled’ into fine pieces which worked into the meat mixture seamlessly.

    1. Hey Lilly,
      Happy Friday!! I am so glad to hear this recipe was a winner, thanks for giving it a go:) xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    This was outstanding! I used 1/2 mild Italian sausage and 1/2 ground beef; regular molasses; shredded mozzarella instead of provolone; no harissa; blended tomatoes using immersion blender. Served with cavatappi pasta.

    1. Hey Karla,
      Happy Sunday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks bunch for giving it a go! xxTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    This may seem like a travesty, but I have made these “meat” balls several times using Beyond Meat vegan beef. They are still delicious and even my non-vegan friends and family love them. The recipe is very adaptable. I skip the cheese and just serve the meatballs over pasta. If I don’t have bread or am in a “low carb phase”, I skip the bread and add nutritional yeast for texture. And I never use egg – doesn’t need it. This recipe NEVER disappoints.

  4. This may seem like a travesty, but I have made these “meat” balls several times using beyond meat vegan beef. They are still delicious and even my non-vegan friends and family love them. The recipe is very adaptable. I have skipped the mozzerella cheese and just served the meatballs over pasta. If I don’t have bread or am in a “low carb phase”, I skip the bread and add nutritional yeast for texture. This recipe NEVER disappoints.

    1. Hey Carroll,
      Fantastic!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it! Thanks for sharing what works well for you. xTieghan

  5. 3 stars
    I made these last night exactly per the recipe. I was intrigued by the use of cumin, pomegranate molasses and gojuchang in the meatballs, and the harissa in the sauce—and gladly used all of those ingredients! I’ve always been thrilled with the flavors you come up with. We all liked this dish…..however, I found myself craving classic Italian flavors. So, this one missed the mark for me—probably the first time in my HBH cooking history! But this doesn’t make me any less a devotee!

  6. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! The meatballs were so moist, great trick with the wet bread. I swapped out the cumin for English mustard powder and used dried oregano and it was delicious. I would definitely add more tomato to coat the spaghetti and even wondered about mixing the spaghetti in before adding the cheese? Will report back

    1. Hey! This is awesome, I’m so happy to hear this recipe turned out the way you’d hoped! 🙂 xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! The only change I might make next time would be to reduce the amount of cumin. I think this is more about personal preference — I like cumin but find it can sometimes overwhelm other flavors. Other than that, it’s a total home run and we’ll definitely make again!

    PS. Huge fan of the HBH recipes! 🙂

    1. Hey Tricia,
      Yes, that will work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    Best meatball EVER!!! I used ground beef instead of sausage, all the rest of the ingredients, I followed exactly the same !! Yummmmmm

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Fantastic!! So great to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and thanks a lot for making it. Have a great week!? xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Amazing dish – I made it for dinner for my family tonight. I swapped out the sausage for ground turkey. It is one of new favorites! Thank you – I love your recipes.

    1. Hey Maureen,
      Thanks a bunch for trying out this recipe, I am delighted to hear that it was enjoyed! Have the best day:) xTieghan

  10. 4 stars
    First of all, I love HBH! I’ve never made a recipe I didn’t like. Just some that I like more than others. This one was a bit odd for me. I did enjoy it overall but my tastebuds couldn’t quite figure out what I was eating. I really liked the cooking method and will use that in the future, but with Italian ingredients.

  11. 5 stars
    This dish was absolutely delicious and quick to make! Thank you for giving a recipe that uses Asian/Indian ingredients. I only added finely chopped onions to the meatballs. I’m making meatball sandwiches out of the leftovers. Yum!

  12. I want to make this but wonder if there is enough sauce to coat the pasta well for 6 servings? We like a lot of sauce so should the spaghetti need some of its own?

    1. Hey Patti,
      This recipe is for the meatballs only, if you are planning on doing spaghetti as well then yes, I would double the sauce. I hope the recipe turns out amazing for you. Please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  13. 5 stars
    I made this last night & we LOVED it! So many different flavors. My husband said “you can make this Korean spaghetti again soon” HAHA. Great recipe, thank you