Egg-Free Meatball Marinara

Posted by on September 15, 2011 | 26 Comments

I received a few interesting packages recently that begged to be made into a meal. The first included several boxes of Wasa Crispbread along with a Crispbread cookbook! How cool is that? That shipment was followed by several jars of Barilla pasta sauce and two boxes of Barilla Piccolini pasta. Can we say Italian night?

After thumbing through the cookbook, I honed in on the Crispbread Meatballs recipe. I loved that it didn’t use eggs or cheese, and could even be a really quick meal when coupled with the Barilla sauce and pasta. The “glue” in the meatballs is actually a soaked mixture of “milk” and crispbread crumbs, making them incredibly moist and tender. I admit, they are a touch fragile, especially if you make them big. So make them smaller and/or be gentle when turning the meatballs if you have fear of breakage. They do hold together pretty well once browned, and the two “casualties” we had tasted equally delicious!

Obviously, as I made it, this recipe is not gluten-free. But if desired, you can use your favorite hearty gluten-free crackers and some brown rice pasta to make this a gluten-free meal with ease.

Recipe: Egg-Free Meatball Marinara

Summary: Recipe adapted from Cooking with Crispbread: 32 Delicious Ways to Get Whole Grains by Art Smith. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Low Fat, and optionally Gluten-Free (see my notes above).


  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Hearty Cracker Crumbs (I used Wasa Rosemary Crispbread, and processed it in my spice grinder to make crumbs), divided
  • 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Plain Soymilk or Rice Milk (You can sub your favorite unsweetened milk alternative)
  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef (My husband ground sirloin steak, so it was quite lean. You can also use half ground pork, half ground beef for a different flavor)
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, diced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked or Regular Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder (or 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed – I was out)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 8 Ounces Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 24-ounce Jar Marinara (I used Barilla Traditional Marinara)
  • 8 Ounces Pasta (I used Barilla Piccolini Penne (a rich in fiber white pasta – it cooked up perfectly and fast!))
  • Chopped Olives, optional for garnish


  1. Place 2 tablespoons of the cracker crumbs and the milk alternative in a medium-sized bowl and let it soak for about 20 minutes.
  2. Once the milk mixture has had time to soften and thicken, add the ground beef, onion, salt, parsley, oregano, paprika, garlic, and pepper. Stir well to incorporate the ingredients.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into 12 to 20 meatballs. Twelve if you like them big, twenty if you prefer smaller meatballs that hold shape best.
  4. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of crumbs (or more if needed) in a bowl and roll the meatballs in it to coat.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  7. Add the meatballs, and fry them, turning occasionally, until brown all over.
  8. Place the meatballs in a casserole dish.
  9. Add the mushrooms to your fry pan and cook them for just a few minutes to soften. Sprinkle the mushrooms over the meatballs, and marinara sauce over all.
  10. Cover and bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
  11. Serve the meatball marinara atop your prepared pasta, sprinkle with olives (if using), and add an extra dose of greens with a side salad or steamed broccoli, if desired.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

Egg-Free No Cheese Crispbread Meatballs


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes

Comments (26)


  1. I LOVE Wasa! Max and I go crazy over those crispy little crackers. This looks sooooo good!

    • Brad says:

      This does look tasty! I actually work with Wasa so I have a ton of the product around, maybe I’ll make this over the weekend!

      Sarena- I’m glad to hear you like Wasa have you liked the Wasa North America Facebook page? if not visit the Wasa page and you can receive a coupon under the coupon tab. I hope this helps!

  2. I love meatballs. I think we have some version once a week. Mine are dairy free like yours but also gluten free. Thank you for sharing the tips. My favorite is the quinoa pasta. These sound really good. I also love how your meal came in the mail!

  3. Looks delicious! I haven’t had meatballs in AGES. Probably cause I’d have to make myself a loaf of grain-free bread and then make my own dang breadcrumbs, but this looks delicious!

  4. Wow! These sound so good. I have all of the stuff here, too. Gluten-free versions, of course. I think I might be making these soon. I just love meat balls.


  5. That last photo is making me drool like you would not believe. I love meatballs and you know what? I forget how much I love them until someone reminds me to make them. Of course I will make mine gluten free. Never tried dairy free but now I will. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  6. Oh, I’m all over that recipe! It would make Mr. GFE super happy, too. Meatballs AND pasta–super yum! And you’re right, this recipe would be super easy to turn into a gluten-free dish. Thanks, Alisa! 🙂


  7. Hannah says:

    Oh, this gets me every time! In Australia “marinara” meansa seafood tomato sauce, so my mind went “waaaaaah? Meatballs and prawns and squid and fish?!” 😛

  8. The first picture looks fantastic. The second picture looks even more fantastic. And the great thing about this recipe is that it is SO adaptable. I mean, you could sub ground chicken or turkey for the meat, or I bet you could even sub tofu or tempeh. Not to mention that your original recipe, with the meat, looks fab. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but when I do, Spaghetti & Meatballs is my idea of yum. What a versatile recipe! And of course, for gluten free, there’s lots of options, whether you buy pre-made GF breadcrumbs, or grind up a bunch of GF crackers or use GF bread. Thank you for yet another great post Alisa!

  9. Katie says:

    When I was growing up, my mom let us pick our birthday meal (and cake, obviously), and I always picked spaghetti and meatballs. I loved it!! And I ate wasa like it was going out of style in the field – with pb and honey….such a perfect snack.

  10. Alta says:

    I love meatballs. And they’re one of the few things I can get everyone in the house to eat. I love how you use olives in your recipes, almost as a cheese alternative. They’re at home here in this recipe – a lovely salty little bite nestled in those meatballs. Yum.

  11. I am ready for some meatballs!! It is finally feeling just slightly cooler here and I am starting to think of some recipes for the cooler weather! This one looks awesome!! 😉

  12. AndreAnna says:

    It’s 9 am and I could legitimately eat a whole bowl of those meatballs. 🙂

  13. Lexie says:

    Nothing quite like a perfect meatball and a swirl of spaghetti and sauce. Yum recipe. And Andreana, thanks for the walnut meal suggestion.


  14. Joanne says:

    Meatballs are definitely one use of wasa crackers that I would NEVER have thought of! but they sound delicious!

  15. I’ll definitely need to make this for my meat loving family sometime 🙂

    LOVE wasa rosemary crispbread!

  16. Talia says:

    This recipe looks beyond amazing!! I love Wasa and I love, love meatballs!! I actually work with Wasa’s social media team and it is great to see all the different (and oh so delicious) recipes people come up with!

    I may have to add this one to my “must try” pile! Although, I’d probably sub turkey for beef.

  17. […] – like button',unescape(String(response).replace(/+/g, " "))]); }); After posting up this egg-free, dairy-free meatball recipe, the folks at WASA offered up a prize package for a giveaway, and who was I to say no? One of you […]

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