Whole-Wheat Spaghetti and Meatballs

21 Reviews / 4.7 Average
This is one of those recipes that my whole family absolutely loves. Let’s face it…meatballs are a crowd pleaser. My youngest daughter even likes cold leftover meatballs in her lunch on occasion. It's an easy dinner that comes together in under 30 minutes. Who doesn't love a good whole-wheat spaghetti and meatball recipe?
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These would also be good on toothpicks as an appetizer at a party or a tailgate, or you could mix them together with some warm noodles and sauce like the picture. You could also double the recipe and freeze the leftover meatballs (when they are either raw or cooked) for a quick meal on a busy day.

No matter what you decide to do I promise you will not be disappointed. This recipe has been one of our family’s favorite “go-to” meals for years!

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133 thoughts on “Whole-Wheat Spaghetti and Meatballs”

  1. 5 stars
    All I need to say is that the second time I made this recipe, I tripled and froze two-thirds. My whole family loves these! Do not change a thing!

  2. The comment that said took 1.5 hrs? Crazy! I thought these were super quick to throw together and my family of 6 loves the flavor of these meatballs. Very tasty! I had 3 mozzarella cheese sticks that I cut into 8 small squares each and wrapped the meat around the cheese because I was nervous we wouldn’t have enough for everyone. It ended up marking 24 meatballs. Thanks for the great recipe! Served it with your spaghetti sauce using canned tomatoes. Look forward to making that one using fresh.

  3. Just made these meatballs, they are so so so good! Thank you! Going to make your pumpkin muffins now :)

  4. 1 star
    1 1/2 hours to make and a major disappointment; these meatballs do not have a good flavor

    1. 100 Days Admin

      Sorry to hear you weren’t pleased with this recipe. You can always alter them to fit your taste. – Nicole

  5. 5 stars
    I made these for a New Years Eve party (I wanted to make sure there was something I would eat) – and they were a huge hit! My only modification was to add some finely chopped mushrooms. I’m going to try them next with ground turkey and am sure that they will be delicious!

  6. Ashleigh Esteves

    This is the first recipe I have tried from this site. I made this last night and it was delicious! The meatballs have great flavor, although I thought my store bought pasta sauce masked that great flavor. I can’t find your homemade pasta sauce recipe. Could you post the link to it? Thank you. Also, I added 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Do you think that is too much? And lastly, would you recommend a type of dip to supplement these meatballs as an appetizer? Thank you so much!

  7. 5 stars
    Lisa, I made this last night with your homemade pasta sauce and your kale chips. Everything was absolutely delicious. My five-year-old son said, “Mommy, I love this dinner! Can we have this dinner tomorrow night?” Talk about music to my ears! We are big fans, and we thank you for the great recipes.

  8. If you freeze these, raw or cooked, how do you go about cooking them? Let them thaw first, or just put on the baking pan frozen?


    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Angela. I usually thaw overnight in the fridge and then heat them in a covered pyrex.

  9. 5 stars
    I just made this for my family. Hands down ~ BEST SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS EVER!!!!!! Meatballs are so easy and very flavorful!!!!

  10. 3 stars
    This one isn’t one of my favorites. If I make it again, I will probably sauté my garlic first. Raw garlic (even though it does cook as the meatballs cook, clearly) is just too overpowering for us. These were also a tad dry, but perhaps I overcooked them.

  11. I’m considering using 1 lb grassfed pork and 1 lb grassfed beef and am wondering if i could make part into meatballs and part into a meatloaf. Would i need to add anything to the meatloaf section? Onions?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Meg. That is not something we’ve tried but I can’t imagine a meatloaf with out onion. :)

  12. I have made these several times now. This is the only way I want to eat spaghetti now! My questions is how to go about freezing the meatballs. Can you flash freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put into a ziplock bag? Or cook them before freezing? Then also what would be the best way of cooking them from frozen? I always skim through all the comments so that if someone already asked I am not asking the same question. I see where someone asked but there was never a reaponse, so I am hoping to get one for myself and others who are wondering the same thing. I love you site and I am getting ready to purchase your book.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. I cook and then freeze them. You can freeze them in any airtight container. When reheating, I allow them to thaw overnight and reheat them in the oven or just add them to your sauce as it cooks until they are warm through. ~Amy

  13. 5 stars
    My kids LOVE this recipe and want me to make it every week!! I bought your cookbook and it is wonderful! Thank you for the wonderful, healthy recipes!

  14. Does anyone have a recommendation for a brand of whole wheat pasta that doesn’t taste gritty? Can’t seem to get my husband on board with the whole wheat version because of the texture…Thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Michelle. I would thaw them overnight and reheat them covered until heated through in the oven. You could also microwave them. ~Amy

  15. Hi – a few questions.
    1. Could you use ground turkey instead of ground beef? If so, would the other ingredients need to be modified for taste/texture?
    2. For the bread crumbs could you use whole wheat panko?
    3. How many meatballs is considered a serving? We are a family of 3 so thinking this will make extra which I’m thinking could be frozen for later use. Correct?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Rachel. Yes on all fronts and I’d use 3 meatballs as a serving size. :)

  16. These were the most amazing meatballs I have ever eaten! Thank you for such amazing, obtainable recipes.

  17. Just wondering what your take is on wheat? I have been reading a lot on how bad today’s wheat is for our bodies because it has been so modified over the years. It seems you use a lot of wheat products.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Caroline. Lisa’s family enjoys whole wheat and many other whole grains. They have no sensitivity to wheat or gluten though many people do. I think you have decide based on what works for your body. ~Amy

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Debbie. I use this vegan recipe for a Parmesan sub all the time. I don’t tolerate dairy well, myself. ~Amy

  18. Any suggestions to sub for the breadcrumbs to make gluten free. Am using gluten free pasta. Gluten free breadcrumbs?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Gen. I make gluten free breadcrumbs from the gluten free bread I buy at our local bakery. It works great in the dishes that I’ve used it as a sub. ~Amy

  19. 5 stars
    My fam will no longer accept a meat sauce spaghetti, it HAS to be meatballs. We love this recipe, thanks!

  20. I have made this meatball recipe several times! I’ve used it in your Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce, and even converted it to a meatloaf! There are absolutely NO leftovers in the history of ever at our house! This weekend I am making it for all our party guests! Thank you! What a great recipe!

    1. This was my plan, too! I’ve made the spaghetti & meatballs, but wanted to try something different with it.

  21. This looks delicious!! What brand of whole wheat noodles to you recommend? I seem to have a hard time finding one! Thank you

  22. I just cooked up a batch of these. Yummy! I’m wanting to freeze some raw now, but am wondering how long/what temp I should cook them from frozen later on? Thanks ahead for reading and answering this comment! 100daysofrealfood is my “go-to” site for recipes! :-)

  23. Another great recipe that I tried. I am so excited for the cookbook. Made this over rice with marinara sauce and froze the leftovers. Thank you

  24. Just made these, and they taste terrific! My kids are going to love them. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  25. 5 stars
    Made meatballs with noodles and sauce for dinner. My four Year old keeps saying, “Mmmm yummy meatballs!” and “Yum Yum these noodles are good :)’ I will be adding this meal to our monthly rotation.

  26. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi there. Here are several: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/10/19/recipe-whole-wheat-spaghetti-and-meatballs/, https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/09/27/recipe-slow-cooker-sunday-sauce-will-feed-crowd/, and https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/07/19/recipe-homemade-spaghetti-sauce/. All can be made ahead and frozen in single servings, retrieved from the freezer the night before to thaw in fridge, making for easy lunch prep in the morning. Also, this post is all about quick little cheats: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/04/10/real-food-tips-4-super-quick-wholesome-dinners/. Hope this helps. ~Amy

  27. ThanQ for sharing the recipe for home made meatball sauce.

    Love the real food site… awesome recipes and good helpful tips.
    Can you please, suggest any QUICK homemade pasta to be cooked
    in the mornings for my school kids?
    I use the very handy “Pasta sides” as it cooks faster and add lot of frozen
    veggies and some herbs & spices or even some protein to it.
    Can you suggest some healthy home made alternatives? Something
    that i can rustle up quickly in the morning.
    Thank You very much!

    Can u please giive a homemade recipe for pasta sauce to use with
    meatballs f& spaghetti?

  28. 5 stars
    These are seriously the best meatballs ever! My picky 5 year old devours them and always asks for 2nds when I make these :)

  29. 5 stars
    Delicious! Love the addition of the soy sauce…really adds a nice flavor. Might consider browning them in a pan first and then baking to get a really crispy outside.

  30. 5 stars
    I wanted to report that I made these using quick cooking GF oats and without cheese, as I’m GF and DF, and my whole family thought they were great. I’ve also shaped them into patties baked them in foil with veggies and onion and everyone loved that too.

  31. I’m making this now and underestimated how much ground up carrots 2 big carrots makes! What Can I do with the leftovers?

    1. I would add them to a baked good, like applesauce or pumpkin muffins. Carrots work great in baking! I know this is too late, probably, but perhaps it will help others who had the same issue.

  32. These are awesome! The best I’ve ever made. I did not use soy sauce because I didn’t have any. Also, I used egg replacer instead of eggs because my daughter is allergic to eggs. (I don’t know if that counts as real food, but I didn’t know what to use as an alternative.) now, I just have to make sure these last until dinner time!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jessica. Eden Organic can be found at most conventional grocery stores as well as health food stores. Lisa does the majority of her shopping at Earth Fare. ~Amy

  33. I made these tonight. They were awesome. I used ground turkey also. Very good. Love the carrots in them. Where do you find whole wheat breadcrumbs? I couldn’t make it to a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and couldn’t find them at Harris Teeter.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Carly. If you can’t find them, you can always make your own and keep them on hand for when you need them. ~Amy

  34. I make homemade meatballs once a week – our whole family loves them. Your recipe sounds delicious and I will have to try it. What brand of pasta do you buy? We’ve had mixed experiences with whole grain pastas. My family thinks the texture is different (I don’t really notice) and I could use some guidance!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Julie. There is not one particular brand we recommend. Sometimes it just takes a bit of trial and error to find the one your family likes best. I found that over cooking the noodles a bit when I first made the switch to be helpful with the texture issues. I also switched back and forth between whole wheat and brown rice. Hope that helps a little. ~Amy

  35. I made these tonight with gluten free bread crumbs and gluten free pasta and the kids and hubby loved them! I was told it was the best dinner in awhile.

  36. 5 stars
    I’m a big fan of 100 Days! I bought some grass-fed beef yesterday thinking I will try making meatballs for the first time. So this is the first (and last) place I looked for a recipe! Delicious and quick–I minced the carrots by hand and used oatmeal in place of bread crumbs. Thanks!

  37. My gramma taught me to make meatballs when I was really young but hers take quite awhile to make. I decided to try this, pretty convinced I wouldn’t like them and I’d desperately miss my go to family recipe. I was wrong, these are absolutely delicious! (Still love my Gramma’s) but these are a great addition for an easy meal :)

  38. How necessary are the breadcrumbs? I would need to leave them out or find a substitution for my husband who isn’t eating gluten.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kristin. You could use gluten free bread crumbs. The crumbs do help bind these together. I’ve used brown rice bread and made my own. I also recall someone using gluten free oats as a sub. Best of luck.

  39. 5 stars
    I made these tonight and made meatball subs. The kids told me that they didn’t like them…they LOVED them!

  40. I just made these and I’m going to eat them all before anybody else does. So good, just added fresh parsley because I had it. Thank you!

  41. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hello Susan. Balsamic vinegar is often used in Italian recipes as a red wine vinegar replacement adding a subtle sweetness. Are you not wanting to use any Italian seasonings or do you just not have the blend? ~Amy

  42. I made these last night with ground turkey. They were a HIT! Keep up the great work!

  43. laura maccarthy

    made these tonight for the 2nd time. last time we found the garlic too strong and the carrots too crunchy (although we still gobbled them up and so did one of our kids). tonight i lighted sauteed the garlic and carrots, waited for it to cool, then added it as well as some fresh parsley. TO DIE FOR. thanks so much, this one’s a keeper!

  44. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Jane. You can find dried Italian seasoning with other dried herbs in the seasoning section at any grocery store. It’s usually a combination of oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, etc. Enjoy. ~Amy

  45. 5 stars
    Made these tonight. LOVE! I loved how easy they were (and my 3 yr old son loved helping). My very very picky husband even liked them.

  46. I made these tonight and they were delicious! This was the first time I had attempted meatballs and they were so easy to make. Thank you for the recipe and for inspiring my husband and I to get processed food our of our diet! Keep up the good work!

  47. Thank you for this recipe! The meatballs my husband makes are dry and yukky. I made these and the whole family was happy! Keep up the great work because a lot of us are depending on you for such wonderful recipes!

  48. 5 stars
    Great recipe! My 3 toddlers loved them and its always hard to find something that pleases them and my husband and this was definitely a winner. I didn’t have soy and used tamari instead and it still worked great. Thanks so much for all your great recipes!

  49. 5 stars
    These are delicious! Will no doubt become a staple for us…Do you have culinary training or did you just figure these recipes out “on the fly”?

  50. I made these tonight my first ever attempt at beef meatballs. They were great! And so quick to put together – we actually ate super early since I thought I would need a bunch of time to get this together and I defintely didn’t. My kids loved them! I used fresh herbs instead of Italian seasoning because I had just done a huge trip to our farmers market and had a bunch of stuff on hand. We also used quinoa pasta which was great. Thanks for a great recipe!

  51. Sounds delish! As an alternative to soy sauce try bragg’s liquid aminos. Still great taste without all the sodium :)

  52. Hi,

    I made this tonight. I was going to make spaghetti anyway so decided to try your recipe. I usually just make a meat sauce but wanted to put more into our supper. It was delicious!


    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Amy. I have not tried them with chicken, but, you could certainly give it a try. Jill

  53. These really are the most amazing meatballs! I have been trying all kinds of meatball recipes, but this is the recipe I will use from now on. It’s a winner!

  54. You should call these make out meatballs. They were so good people should want to make out with them.
    I put them on some wheat toast with your homemade red sauce recipe & fresh sliced mozzarella and put it in the toaster oven. I love the red pepper flakes kick they have.
    Yum! Yum!

  55. I made these for the first time tonight. They came together really quickly and were delicious. I started the meal when we all got home from work/daycare, and dinner was on the table within the hour. My only regret is that I didn’t make a double batch. There is just enough left for my lunch tomorrow. Great recipe!

  56. I made these tonight and have never made homemade meatballs before – super easy and SUPER delicious! I used ground organic chicken and forgot the carrots, but otherwise followed the recipe. THANK YOU SO MUCH! It has been a long journey switching to “real food”, but we are slowly getting there and this really helped!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Erin. You can always use an egg substitute. I think you can make one with ground flaxseed. Good luck. Jill

  57. Looks delish! I have just started making homemade whole wheat pasta and it is so good and pretty easy! I’ll try it with your sauce next time! The sauce I have been making lately is basically a roasted bruschetta that I blend after it has finished roasting! Yumm!

  58. I just made these tonight- they were delicious! My girls want to take them for lunch next school year. Thank you.

    Also, I just wanted to let everyone know this seems to be a very forgiving recipe. I did not add the red wine vinegar or the garlic cloves. I meant to but it was hectic and I forgot. I also used oats instead of breadcrumbs. This is a wonderful recipe!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Ericka. I would be afraid that they would “fall apart” in the crock pot because it might make them too soft. You could always give it a try though. Let us know how it goes. Jill

  59. Can you make this without the bread crumbs? I am on a special diet due to health reasons and I cannot any carbs.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jennifer. I find that the bread crumbs seem to hold it all together. Is it a gluten issue? If so, you could try gluten free breadcrumbs. Or, give it a try without the breadcrumbs and see how they turn out! Good luck. Jill

  60. Just made this tonight. It was wonderful. Even my husband loved it. Thank you for all the great recipes you put on here. It’s a great website for helping us “clean” it up!!

  61. I loved this recipe. My whole family ate everything. Which can be hard with little
    ones! I am curious about your take on everything whole wheat. We try to use all whole wheat as well, but for some pastries I find my self using unbleached white flour. I have been looking into the case Dr. Matt Hyman has studied about gluten its toll on our bodies. he speaks about how most people have this intolerance but do not know it. Look into his research and I would love to get your perspective.

    Also, we currently eat Mom’s Best Cereal, can you recommended one with even fewer ingredients?



    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I occasionally use white flour as well (usually half white and half whole-wheat) in cookies and birthday cake. I am not familiar with mom’s best cereal, but there are a few 1-ingredient whole-grain cereals including Shredded Wheat, Barbara’s Wheat Biscuits, and the puffed grain cereals (like rice, corn, wheat).

  62. Can you give me your thoughts on the Dreamfields brand of pastas? They say that they only have 5 grams of carbs due to somehow “hiding” some of the cards so they aren’t digested? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I don’t worry at all about carbs (or calories or protein or any of that) all I really care about is the ingredients. I would just make sure it is 100% whole-grain.

  63. I finally got around to making these tonight! I paired them with some spaghetti squash and canned pasta sauce (I don’t want to waste what we have already bought before I make my own sauce, but it was too sweet! You’re already changing my taste buds). I will say that I didn’t realize I didn’t have any soy sauce, so I just added 1/2 tsp instead of the called for 1/4. I also didn’t realize that I grabbed the 1 tsp instead of the 1/2, so I ended up adding 3 tsp instead of 1.5 tsp of the red wine vinegar.

    And guess what! They were still delicious!! Pretty hard to mess them up, which is a WONDERFUL thing for me. Thank you for this yummy recipe :)

  64. Just now learning about your site via Holistic Moms Network. Love it! Congratulations, and thank you! I’ll be sharing this.

    I’ve been GF since 2004 and because of GI issues postpartum, I’ve been on the GAPS diet for 8 months: eating grain-free, sugar-free and exclusively homemade everything except for nut butter and a few other very occasional exceptions. Anytime I stray, I pay! I notice you are back to using packaged pasta but wonder if you could link to any pasta recipes you tried during the 100 days? It would be cool for recipes to have the quick options and the full-on Real Food options. I try to make more brown rice with chicken stock (or soaked per Nourishing Traditions), but my son still prefers rice pasta and I’ve yet to try making my own.

  65. Made this for my dad who was visiting in town. Delicious and really quick! And I have plenty left over for lunch tomorrow!

  66. Instead of buying jarred pasta sauce I like to make my own with canned organic diced tomato, butter ,onion, and salt and pepper. It is so simple and delicious and follows “the rules”. I will never buy jarred sauce again! Here is the recipe.

    3 cans of organic diced tomatoes (the 14 oz. cans- so 42 ounces total)
    ~1 onion, cut in half
    ~5 Tablespoons of Butter
    ~Salt and Pepper to taste
    Put diced tomato into the pot(do not drain the liquid out, just put the whole thing in). Then add the butter and the two onion halves. Bring these ingredients to a boil. When it starts boiling reduce the heat down to medium low and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.

    After 40 minutes. Remove the onions and throw them away. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

    Enjoy your delicious homemade organic simple pasta sauce on all your favorite pastas!

  67. We had what I called an “Extreme Makeover: Dinner Edition” the other night with our spaghetti. It was whole wheat, I used organic pasta sauce and turkey meatballs that I had gotten on manager’s special at the grocery store. It was all so delicious. And it made me happy that my kids liked the whole wheat spaghetti and the turkey meatballs. It’s the little changes, you know! Thanks for all of your inspiration! I have learned so much from your site!

  68. I’ll have aghetti. I’m out of carrots and don’t have any wine vinegar (just ACV, which I’m assuming addsa different flavor?), so I’ll put those on the shopping list. :) Only thing I think I would omit is the soy sauce… I try to avoid soy when possible. I imagine they’d still be pretty flavorful without it, though!

  69. Love this recipe.

    I cooked my meatballs right in the sauce instead of on a seperate pan in the oven. Just heat the sauce in a saucepan, turn it to med-low. Drop the raw meatballs in, making sure they are covered by sauce. Cover the pot and let it gently simmer for 15mins or so until they’re cooked through. Soooo yummy. Gives a great flavor to the sauce as well.

  70. I doubled my meatloaf recipe last night to make a batch of meatballs but looking over your recipe, I’m realizing I should have added some parmesan cheese and italian seasoning to make them more meatbally…next time :)

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