Egg-Free Meatball Marinara

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