Colossal Rice and Beef Meatballs

Go big or go home! This delicious and hearty recipe will satisfy the biggest of appetites and then some. Get everyone involved in making this easy dish, which lets you have one batch for tonight’s dinner and one to freeze for another night; two delicious dinners and half the work!

Colossal Rice and Beef Meatballs

Makes 8 servings (2 pans with 4 servings each).
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 h
Total Time
1 h 20 min


  • 1 ½ cups (375 mL) long grain U.S. brown rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese (approx.)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped fresh basil, divided (approx.)
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ¼ tsp (6 mL) each salt and pepper, divided
  • 2 lb (1 kg) lean ground beef
  • 28 oz (796 mL) canned whole tomatoes (San Marsano-style preferred)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil


  1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Spread out on a plate until cool enough to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in Parmesan, ¼ cup (50 mL) of the basil, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp (5 mL) each salt and pepper. Crumble in beef. Add rice and gently mix until well combined. Form into 16 large meatballs. Arrange meatballs in two 9 x 13-inch (3 L) baking dishes.
  4. Combine tomatoes, remaining basil, olive oil and remaining ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt and pepper in a blender; pulse until smooth. Pour sauce over meatballs. Cover dishes with foil. (Can be prepared up to this point and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Add 10 minutes to bake time.)
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked and sauce is thickened slightly. Sprinkle with additional fresh basil.
  6. Serve meatballs with additional Parmesan cheese (optional).


  • San Marsano tomatoes are slightly more expensive than regular canned tomatoes, but because they are packed in purée, will make a richer sauce without having to add other ingredients.
  • If making ahead to freeze, use foil lasagna pans.
  • For a cheesy topping, sprinkle meatballs with shredded mozzarella cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking.