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Meatballs and Rice

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!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword Meatballs and Rice
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 741kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $9.12


  • Nonstick pan with fitted lid


  • 1 tablespoons olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • 19 oz. Italian Sausage (in casings) (Note 1)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, finely diced (we like 1 red, 1 yellow)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 cups grated carrot (Note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon each: dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 cups basmati rice (Note 3)
  • 2-1/2 cups good chicken stock (like Swanson)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • For serving: 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 1: Italian sausage: Depending on personal preference, use mild or spicy sausage — either works. (When making for my kids, we use mild.) Make sure to get Italian sausages with casings (as opposed to bulk ground Italian sausage) so the sausages can be cut into the mini "meatballs." Before cutting the sausage, remove the casings. Once casings are removed, use a sharp knife to cut the sausages into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. No need to shape them into perfectly round balls-- they'll work great this way!
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.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 741kcal | Carbohydrates: 41.7g | Protein: 27.8g | Fat: 51.7g | Cholesterol: 105.8mg | Sodium: 1223.6mg | Fiber: 5.4g | Sugar: 12.1g