Day 28: Spaghetti & Bison Meatballs

I admit I spent most of the past 24 hours fantasizing about what I would have for dinner tonight. Inglewood pizza? Mu Shu pork from KamHan? Ooooh – butter chicken and fresh garlic-butter naan from the Taj Mahal!

Unfortunately, it being -300 degrees outside, our car froze solid and so all of those options flew out the window. But really, it occurred to me that after 24 hours without food, anything I eat will taste bloody fantastic, so I might as well make it something healthy. And because I was still a little dopey, Mike took over dinner duties and made spaghetti and meatballs.

The meatballs came from a stash we threw into the fridge over the holidays – once in awhile we’ll mix up a big batch, roll cookie sheet loads of meatballs, freeze them and then transfer them to freezer bags for dinner emergencies such as this. As the pasta is cooking, brown the frozen meatballs in a hot skillet, then pour the sauce overtop and simmer to warm the sauce and cook the meatballs though, while infusing the sauce with a beefy/bisony/sausagey flavor (depending on your choice of meat). These were actually bison balls – not in the prairie oyster sense, but made from ground bison, which has less than half the fat of beef. In fact, bison contains less fat than skinless chicken, turkey, or even halibut. Because it’s so lean, make sure you cook it for about a third less time than you would beef – otherwise it tends to be dry, which is the biggest issue people tend to have with it. If you’re a carnivore and think you don’t like bison, try it again.

Bison Meatballs


January 28, 2008

  • Makes: Makes about 3 dozen.


1 lb. ground bison

1 egg

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup bread or cracker crumbs

a bit of grated onion (optional)

a squirt of tomato paste, ketchup or barbecue sauce (about a tablespoon)

salt & pepper to taste


1Mix everything together in a bowl, making sure you don’t work it too hard. Shape into 1” balls. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, then transfer to freezer bags to store for up to 4 months, or bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. To make spaghetti sauce, brown the fresh or frozen meatballs in a drizzle of oil in a hot skillet, rolling them around to brown on all sides, then pour tomato sauce over top and simmer until they are cooked through.


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6 comments on “Day 28: Spaghetti & Bison Meatballs

  1. dana mccauley
    January 29, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Hi Jules,

    One of my fav tips for meatball lovers is to make the mixture, pat it into a rectangle about 1 inch thick and then to cut the ‘meat cake’ into bite-sized peices before baking. You don’t get gorgeous round meatballs like the ones pictured above, but you do get them fast! And, once they’re chewed up, who really remembers if they were round or had corners?

  2. Dana
    January 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    hmmmmm….julie it was like you were reading my mind…I was going to use ground turkey, now I just need to find some bison in this city!

  3. Theresa
    January 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    It’s the wine in the photo that’s making me drool…….

  4. Seth
    April 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    10-15 mins was a little short for baking time, even though the balls were at room temp. I roasted them for a total of 25 mins and they were a tad overdone — 195 degrees on an instant read thermometer, so probably 18-20 mins would have been perfect.

  5. Jen
    August 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    My husband liked it! Huzzah! (I liked it too)
    Super yummy and easy, thank you!

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