Meatballs in Sofrito Sauce

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 (21)

Sofrito Sauce

  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 cup Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • or 1 cup Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 14 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup Cilantro Leaves
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper


  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
  • ⅓ cup Pimento Stuffed Green Olives
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 T Plain Dried Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • ½ tsp Dried Oregano
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil

Lime-Cilantro Gremolata

  • 1 Lime
  • 1 T Minced Cilantro
  • 1 Garlic Clove


  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.