BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Red Pepper Meatballs with Chipotle Tomato Sauce

  • Prep Time 0:15
  • Cook Time 0:25
  • Estimated Cost $14.50

A batch of fresh meatballs in sauce is one of the quickest ways to serve a crowd (or hungry family) a fresh, home-cooked meal without laboring too much. Add a starch if you please (this dish works particularly well with roasted sweet potatoes), and a salad and voila! Dinner is served.

If you're making this for kids or anyone who can't eat spicy food, you might consider opting to use a few spoonfuls of the adobo sauce the chipotle comes packed in, instead of the chili itself, to get smokiness without too much heat. Another great option is to add a few grinds of this incredibly flavorful but not spicy South African smoke seasoning from Trader Joe's. After discovering it a few weeks ago, I want to put it on everything.


  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil Pantry
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped, divided Pantry
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo (remove the seeds if you are sensitive to spice), finely chopped $2 for a 7-oz can
  • 1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes $1.50
  • salt and pepper Pantry
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey, or a mixture) $4.50
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten $1.50 for 6
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs $1.50 for a 10-oz container
  • 2 tbsp finely minced onion (about 1/4 medium onion) $0.50 
  • 1 medium bell pepper, veins and seeds removed, diced finely $2
  • 1 handful fresh cilanro leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish $1 for abunch

Recipe Serves 4


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  3. In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat. 
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  5. Add the chipotle chile and cook for another minute.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup water and cover the pot.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes while you make the meatballs. As it cooks, the sauce should become milder, and should also reduce a bit.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef (or turkey), egg, bread crumbs, onion, bell pepper, cilantro and 1 tsp each salt and pepper.
  9. Use your (clean) hands to mix well.
  10. Shape heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture into balls, and arrange on the foil-lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cooked through but still tender.
  12. To serve, spoon the sauce into a large serving dish, or onto individual dishes, and top with the meatballs and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.

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