This one-pot Meatballs and Rice is downright delicious! Perfectly tender mini meatballs with fluffy rice, loads of veggies, and a spectacular spice blend. Sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike!
Meatballs And Rice
My kiddos could eat rice for every single meal if I let them! So, when I can “sneak” in loads of veggies, plus add some protein, it’s a win-win! They’re getting their coveted rice while I’m ensuring they’ve got a well-rounded meal.
Enter: this recipe with meatballs and rice. Fluffy perfect grains of rice with tender meatballs and a whole assortment of veggies! And not to worry — this meal isn’t only for kids, it’s sure to be a hit with adults as well. Not only in flavor, but also in ease of preparation. Only one pot and minimal hands-on time — we’re letting the stovetop do most of the work here!
Quickest Meatballs Ever!
When you think of meatballs, you may think you’ve got an investment of time on your hands. Between mixing together ground meat with other ingredients, shaping and rolling balls, and browning the meatballs — this can be a chore!
But not with this recipe! The “meatballs” in this recipe are only one ingredient and no rolling/shaping required. To save on time and ingredients we grab already seasoned meat — Italian sausage.
Slice the sausage into coins and that’s it — “meatballs” in a hurry! While they aren’t perfectly round, they’ll do the job great — adding loads of flavor and texture to this meal.
But can you use real meatballs if you want? Of course! Good cooks are adaptable and creative, so if you’d like to go a different route, feel free. Just be sure to make ’em small. If you use frozen mini meatballs, let them thaw a bit before adding. Nobody wants a meatball that’s cold inside!
Meatball and Rice Recipe Ingredients
A few ingredients worth mentioning:
- Italian sausage. Depending on personal preference, use mild or spicy sausage — either works. (When making this for my kids, we use mild.) Make sure to get Italian sausages with casings (as opposed to ground Italian sausage) so the sausages can be cut into the mini “meatballs.” Before cutting the sausage, remove the casings.
- Basmati rice. We’ve tested a few other types of rice and prefer basmati — it’s light and fluffy every time! Basmati rice can be found right next to other varieties of rice. Long grain white rice will also work in this recipe.
- Chicken stock. A high-quality, flavorful stock adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson’s® chicken stock in this recipe.
How To Make Meatballs and Rice
The following shortcuts will make recipe preparation quicker:
- Garlic. We love frozen garlic Dorot® cubes. You can keep the packages handy in the freezer and pop them into this (and other) recipes when needed. Another option is to use refrigerated minced garlic.
- Italian sausage. The sausage is saving us so much time — it already has lots of seasonings, salt, and flavorings added in so we don’t need to add lots of extra ingredients here.
- Frozenveggies. We use frozen produce which helps to save time in this recipe!
What Goes With Meatballs And Rice?
The great thing about this recipe is you’ve really got it all in one pot — rice, veggies, and protein! That said, here are our two favorite toppings if you’re looking for a little more pizzazz:
- Parmesan cheese: Finely grated Parmesan (off a block) is the perfect finishing touch — it adds a nice final seasoning (Parmesan is salty!) and melts nicely into the rice, veggies, and sausage. For the perfect super-fine texture, we like to use a microplane and grate it right over the serving plates.
- Pesto: If you want a creamy, herb-y element, I’d recommend getting a refrigerated, freshly-made basil pesto, which you can find near refrigerated fresh pasta and gourmet cheese. Rana’s® Basil Pesto is our personal favorite store-bought pesto sauce (not sponsored). Freshly made pesto can certainly be spendy, but it lasts a good amount of time and a little goes a long way to add loads of flavor to so many dishes.
As far as other side dishes, we like this Meatballs and Rice Recipe best with a greensalad. Here are our favorite salad recipes to pair with this recipe:
- Caesar Salad
- Garden Salad
- Olive Garden Salad
- Kale Avocado Salad
More Favorite Rice Dishes
- Amazing Curry Ricebaked in ONE pan
- Coconut Chicken and Ricewith a cilantro-lime sauce
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Riceroasted on a sheet pan!
- Fried Ricewith eggs and veggies
- Chicken and Rice Soupwith peas and carrots
Meatballs and Rice
Meatballs and Rice
- 1tablespoonsolive oil(plus more as needed)
- 19oz.Italian Sausage (in casings)(Note 1)
- 1largeyellow onion,finely diced
- 2sweet bell peppers,finely diced (we like 1 red, 1 yellow)
- 1tablespoonminced garlic
- 1-1/2cupsgrated carrot(Note 2)
- 1teaspoon each:dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano, paprika
- 1/2teaspoon each:onion powder, garlic powder
- 1-1/2cupsbasmati rice(Note 3)
- 2-1/2cupsgood chicken stock(like Swanson)
- 1cupfrozen corn
- 1cupfrozen peas
- Forserving: freshly grated Parmesan, basil pesto (optional)(Note 4)
SAUSAGE: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add prepared coined sausages (see Note 1) and cook, stirring/flipping occasionally with a wooden spoon until golden and nicely browned on the outside. While browning, season the sausage to taste with salt & pepper (I add 3/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper). Remove browned sausages with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave any oil/grease in the pan unless it is more than 2 tablespoons– then drain off excess. If there is no grease left behind, add another 2 tablespoons olive oil.
VEGGIES: Keeping heat to medium-high, add diced onion, diced peppers, and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7-10 minutes.
RICE, CARROTS, AND LIQUID: Add the grated carrots, rice, and all the seasonings. Sauté, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and stir well. Press rice below the liquid–be sure the rice is submerged. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low so it is simmering very gently. Add sausage in a single layer on top.
COOK: Cover the pot with a fitted lid, and cook for 17-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed into the dish and rice is tender. (Troubleshooting: liquid has absorbed but rice isn’t quite tender? Add a few more tablespoons of chicken stock or water. Too much liquid still? Slightly increase the heat.)Keeping the lid on pot, remove from heat, and do not stir yet.
REST: Working quickly, remove lid, and add peas and corn on top (don’t stir through), then quickly put the lid back on. Let stand for 10 full minutes. Don’t rush this or you may end up with mushy rice. Plus we need the steam to cook the frozen veggies!
SERVE: Remove lid and add parsley, if using. Use a fork to fluff the rice and mix everything together. Serve the dish, adding Parmesan cheese to individual plates. If desired, add a scoop of pesto (optional) and enjoy!
Note 2: Carrots: This is about 2-3 large carrots. Peel carrots then grate on the large holes of a grater. Measure to get 1-1/2 cups.
Note 3: Basmati rice: We tested a few other types of rice and preferred basmati rice — it’s light and fluffy every time! Basmati rice can be found right next to other varieties of rice. Long grain white rice will also work in this recipe.
Note 4: Toppings: We love finely grated Parmesan cheese (from a block) — it adds a nice final seasoning (Parmesan is salty!) and melts nicely. For the perfect super-fine texture, we like to use a microplane and grate it right over the serving plates. And, if you want a creamy, herb-y element, I’d recommend getting a refrigerated, freshly-made basil pesto, which you can find near refrigerated fresh pasta and gourmet cheese.
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