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Cooking Croatia: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Cooking Croatia: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meatballs are a comforting classic in many countries. Including Croatia.
By Tamara Novacoviç


Meatballs and tomato sauce are actually a classic here in Croatia. I remember disliking this food when I was a child, probably because we use to have this in school. It tasted like nothing, had no flavor, no spices at all. Then I grew up and one day tried real meatballs with real tomato sauce and fell in love.

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I made my meatballs tiny, they look so cute and appetizing. Serve them on top of pasta with tomato sauce.

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Meatballs in tomato sauce

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  • Author: Tamara Novacovic
  • Yield: 4 1x


Comforting classic: meatballs in tomato sauce!


  • 14 oz (400 g) pasta
  • 24 oz (700 g) canned tomato
  • 15.8 oz (450 g) ground meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp powdered red paprika
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) breadcrumbs
  • olive oil


  1. Combine ground meat with spices and two minced garlic cloves. Add egg and breadcrumbs, combine well and form small balls. Fry them in olive oil until they get nicely golden color.
  2. In another pan, heat some olive oil, add canned tomatoes and the rest of finely chopped garlic cloves. Add some salt and pepper, basil and meatballs. Saute for 20 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water, al dente. Serve with tomato sauce and meatballs.
  4. Note: if in season, use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones.
View Comments (4)
  • Hey give me a shout been to Croatia and fell in love. Got pics I would like to upload and find a recipe for noodles that were made in duck fat omg.

  • My parents were Croatian and I cannot remember the name of the red meat sauce they made. It sounds like zvatseh (?) I thought I would ask an expert on Croatian food before I go through all my parents’ old recipes. Thank You Patricia (Hroncich) Colmer

  • I cannot remember the name of the red meat sauce made by my Croatian parents. It sounded like zvatseh. Does this sound like something you would know of? Thank You

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