Low-Fat Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Low fat spaghetti and meatballs
RF Pictures / Getty Images
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
370 Calories
8g Fat
41g Carbs
32g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 370
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 79mg 26%
Sodium 192mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 92mg 7%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 1100mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Delicious spaghetti and meatballs is a beloved American dish with Italian origins. The thick and chewy meatball recipe arrived with Italian immigrants during the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. As meat was cheaper in America than it was back in Italy, newly arrived Italians created meat-heavy meals accompanied by even cheaper plates of cooked pasta with a budget-friendly sauce of canned tomatoes. And thus a classic was born. Usually, classic Italian meatballs contain eggs and bread, as well as oil, and sometimes a good handful of Parmigiano, which makes them delicious, but also high in sodium and fat. Our tasty recipe for a low-fat version of this meal will provide the same flavors you're looking for in a plate of pasta with meatballs, minus the saturated fat and high salt content. Ready in less than one hour, this is a great family meal that satisfies all tastes and many dietary needs.

All you need for the meatballs is extra-lean ground beef, tomato sauce, garlic, chopped onions, herbs, and a tiny bit of breadcrumbs to keep the mixture together. These are baked, not fried, and then simmered in a low-fat marinara sauce. You won't miss the excess fat, as the wholesome yet intense flavors of the pungent garlic and fresh parsley make a wonderful meaty mixture. The meatballs can be baked in advance and then heated up in the marinara sauce when it's time to assemble the plate.

Our recipe is very simple, easy to follow, and uses a convenient ready-made marinara sauce to simmer the meatballs. There's no standing near the pot stirring for hours, or mixing and processing vegetables to make the sauce from scratch. Mix the meatball ingredients and bake, cook the pasta, and when it is ready, simmer the baked meatballs in the sauce. Dinner is served. Our recipe is dairy-free as long as the breadcrumbs you're using don't contain any milk. If needed, use gluten-free pasta and replace the breadcrumbs with ones made from oat flour to serve a gluten-free meal. Use the low-fat meatballs in marinara sauce for other recipes: serve them over rice or mashed potatoes, or use them as filling for tasty sandwiches or wraps.


For the Meatballs:

  • 3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef

  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, from about 1 slice bread

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium tomato sauce

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

For the Sauce:

  • 2 1/2 cups low-salt marinara sauce, low-fat

For Serving:

  • 8 ounces spaghetti, or angel hair pasta

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 400 F, and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

  3. Crumble ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, oregano, onion, tomato sauce, garlic, and parsley.​

  4. Combine ingredients thoroughly, either with fingers or with a fork.

  5. Roll meatball mixture into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet. You should have about 20 meatballs.

  6. Bake in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes, turning once in the middle of cooking.

  7. Cook spaghetti in a large pot according to package directions, without added salt or oil.

  8. In a large pan, heat marinara sauce; add cooked meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready. Serve t he meatballs over the cooked pasta.

  9. Enjoy!