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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Giada's Pork Meatballs Over Arugula

by Giada De Laurentiis
(1 review)
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Giada's Pork Meatballs Over Arugula

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People always think of meatballs with their pasta, but funny enough, it's not traditional in Italy to ever serve them together! While "meatballs with salad" might seem more odd here in the 'States, it would actually be the much more common way to see them be eaten in Italy.

I love this recipe so much - the blend of Italian sausage, ground pork and ricotta creates the most succulent, juicy and tender meatballs. Serve them on top of some lightly dressed arugula and shaved Parmesan, and it's a great protein-rich dinner - or a fabulous starter for a party!

Giada's Pork Meatballs Over Arugula

Giada's Pork Meatballs Over Arugula


Main Course



Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Giada's Pork Meatballs Over Arugula


    For The Meatballs:

  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • For the Salad:

  • 1/2 5 ounce container baby arugula, about 4 cups
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese


  1. This recipe originated on an episode of Giada Entertains. Episode: Weeknight Special.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the breadcrumbs, milk, egg, ricotta cheese and parmesan. Stir well to combine and allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. Add the sausage, pork and salt. Using your hands mix gently to combine.
  3. Heat a medium straight sided skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Roll heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture into balls and place in the hot pan. Add as many as the pan will allow without overcrowding, working in two batches if needed. Brown the balls on all sides rotating as needed, about 8 minutes. Remove the balls to a plate when they are browned all over. Continue with the remaining meat. When all the meatballs are browned, pour off the excess oil from the pan. Add the marinera. Return the balls to the sauce and cover the pan. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl toss together the arugula, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan shavings. Divide the salad among 4 to 5 salad bowls and top with 3 to 4 meatballs. Serve with more cheese if desired.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
17 grams
40 grams
63 grams
Saturated Fat
23 grams
170 milligrams
2308 milligrams
3 grams
9 grams
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3 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image
    Dawn - Apr 07

    These are my go to meatballs. I used to nag the old Italian grandma neighbour for her meatball recipe. No more! I don’t always serve them with the salad, but every time I make them, my guests say they are the best meatballs they have ever had. Making a huge batch to go with my sister-in-law’s manicotti for an Easter family dinner. Made the sauce today, making the meatballs tomorrow, and will put it all together in the crockpot on low for dinner.

  • Author's avatar image
    Jim - Jul 26

    How would you do this the day before? do the full meatball recipe, fully cooked in the marinara, refrigerate then reheat in a pot in the marinara the next day???

  • Author's avatar image
    JAMES KUCERA - Jun 09

    We love this recipe! The meatballs end up very tender because of the ricotta, and while we thought it was odd to put them on a bed of arugula (instead of pasta), the tartness of the lemony olive oil was a perfect balance.

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