Meatballs in Sofrito Sauce

Meatballs in a flavorful Puerto Rican sauce.

Sofrito is a rich sautéed mixture of onion, peppers and garlic that makes a great tomato sauce. It is used in many Puerto Rican dishes. Use a lean ground beef, but not the leanest, so that the meatballs will be tender.

46 min Prep: 15 min Cook: 31 min
Serves: 10 Save

Ingredients (24)

  • Sofrito Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14-oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Meatballs:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoon dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Lime-Cilantro Gremolata:
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Ingredient Facts and Health Benefits

Discover fascinating facts and health benefits about some of the ingredients in the recipe, including other delicious recipes!


  1. To prepare sofrito sauce, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper and garlic; saute 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Place onion mixture and remaining sauce ingredients in blender or food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.
  3. To prepare meatballs, combine beef and next 7 ingredients (beef through black pepper) in a medium bowl; shape mixture into 30 (1-inch) meatballs. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs; cook until brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Drain well; return to pan.
  4. Add sofrito sauce; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until meatballs are done and sauce thickens, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a serving bowl or individual shot glasses.
  5. To prepare gremolata, grate rind from lime, reserving lime for another use. Combine lime rind, cilantro and garlic in a small bowl. Sprinkle over meatballs. Serves 10.