• Cooking Time:
  • Servings: 10
  • Preparation Time:


This a bit different from any other meatball recipes I have seen...not Italian, Swedish, or a variation of classic crock pot meatball appetizer (you know what I mean). Apparently the sauce is Puerto Rican. It would make a good main dish if you added rice.

Overall, I do like it. I am not usually a green olive eater so getting used to the taste of that with the meat. Very different.

I did not use all the oil called for..also did not bother with the gremolata...too much work (and I just plain forgot).


  • Sofrito Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup water
  • 1⁄3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Meatballs:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed
  • green olives
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Lime-Cilantro Gremolata:
  • Grated rind of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced


  • Lime-Cilantro Gremolata: Grated rind of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • To prepare Sofrito Sauce, heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion, pepper and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add tomatoes, water and cilantro. Blend or process until smooth. Add salt and pepper.
  • To prepare meatballs, combine beef, olives, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well. Form mixture into 30 (1-inch) meatballs. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides. Drain off fat.
  • Add sofrito sauce to skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until meatballs are thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes; uncover the last 5 minutes of cooking, if necessary, to thicken sauce. Transfer meatballs and sauce to a serving dish or individual shot glasses.
  • To prepare Gremolata, combine lime rind, cilantro and garlic; mix well. Sprinkle over meatballs and serve.
  • Nutritional Information Per (3-meatball) serving: 120 calories, 8g fat, 40mg chol., 8g prot., 5g carbs., 1g fiber, 410mg sodium.

Author Credit: Lisa Holderness and Wini Moranville. Relish Entertaining, "Sizzling Summer Cocktail Party," June 2008

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