Caramelized Onion-Apple Meatballs with Herbs for #WeekdaySupper

by Dorothy Reinhold on October 15, 2014

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I’m on a meatball kick lately. Are you along for the ride with me?

If not, come aboard, because today’s recipe will convince you that meatballs are not only fun, but can be a great weekday supper. Trust me, the family will want to gather around the table for this dinner.

Because they are relatively small in size, meatballs cook very quickly in the oven. Shaping them is easy by hand, and I often use an electric mixer to blend the ingredients on low speed. (OK, call me lazy.)

For my meatballs, I prefer organic, grass-fed ground beef in an 85/15 meat/fat ratio. There has to be enough fat for flavor, but not too much.

Caramelized Onion-Apple Meatballs with Herbs | ShockinglyDelicious.comCaramelized Onion-Apple Meatballs with Herbs | ShockinglyDelicious.comCaramelized Onion-Apple Meatballs with Herbs | ShockinglyDelicious.comOne hint: It does take a little bit of time to caramelize the onion and apple. Most often, I do this a day or two ahead, whenever I am in the kitchen, and then it is ready to go when I want to get the meatballs going. In fact, you could assemble this recipe in steps, over several days, if that is more convenient. You could do the apples-onions one day, shape and bake the meatballs another day, and simply reheat the following day for dinner. Voila!

Caramelized Onion-Apple Meatballs with Herbs

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 20 meatballs, 4-5 servings

Deeply flavored caramelized onions and apples along with herbs give a nice Fall flavor to meatballs. Serve over mashed potatoes for a satisfying Weekday Supper.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 large apples, cored, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pound organic grass-fed ground beef (I like an 85/15 meat/fat ratio)
  • A few squirts hot sauce
  • 2-3 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 4 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons homemade concentrated unsalted beef stock (or use water)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, stirring occasionally, until they begin to color, about 10 minutes. Add apples and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so, until onions and apples are colored deep brown. Stir occasionally, and add 1 tablespoon of water at a time if they seem too dry or are scorching. Remove from heat and cool. This can be done a day or more ahead of time; simply store in the refrigerator.
  2. When ready to make meatballs, turn oven on to 375F degrees.
  3. Chop the apple-onion mixture very finely. You should have about 1 cup.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add apple-onion mixture, ground beef and all other ingredients -- chili pepper, garlic, basil, parsley, bread crumbs, beef stock (or water) and salt. Mix on low until well combined, about 15-30 seconds.
  5. Spray a short-sided baking sheet with non-stick spray. Using clean hands, shape 20 meatballs and place on baking sheet. It’s OK to have some apple and onion chunks poking out. Can you see that in the photos, above?
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  7. Serve over mashed potatoes, and call me for dinner!
  8. Serves 4-6 (3, 4 or 5 meatballs each, depending on appetites).


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious

Our Weekday Supper cooks have lots of good suggestions for helping you get a healthy dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time. See below for the week’s menu, and choose something new to try out on your family or friends!

This week’s easy Weekday Supper recipes are: Weekday-Supper-10.13-thru-10.17

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie October 22, 2014 at 2:37 am

I love the flavors and think the caramelized onions and apples will also add so much flavor but moistness, too. And I love that they are baked! A perfect meal!


Dorothy Reinhold October 22, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Thank you, Jamie!


gululu1314 October 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Oh yum, this is almost too simple! I reckon I could do this for my next dinner party as an easy entree. 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold October 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

Yes, you could! You could make them ahead and reheat!


sippitysup October 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

I do the same thing with caramelized onions. Whenever I know I’ll be in the kitchen a long time I caramelize 5 or 6 onions. I freeze half and use the other half to throw into things or use as a sweet savory topping all week long. GREG


Dorothy Reinhold October 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Great minds, my friend. We do think alike.


The Ninja Baker October 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Ingenious recipe, Ms. Dorothy! Love the idea of adding apples and onions caramelized in olive oil….Yum!


Dorothy Reinhold October 16, 2014 at 9:21 am

Ninja Kim,
Thank you!


Lizthechef October 15, 2014 at 8:33 am

Meatballs – a perfect comfort food. Sometimes I make mine with ground turkey. The onions sound wonderful here and applesauce would be another quick way to insure that the meatballs are moist.


Dorothy Reinhold October 16, 2014 at 9:21 am

Applesauce a good idea!


Sally Newton October 15, 2014 at 7:32 am

Lovely!!!! My next post will be on meatballs too…. hope you can take a look, I think you will like it….

your version with caramelized onions AND apples: WOW!


Dorothy Reinhold October 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

Make this! You can sub turkey if you like…


Dorothy Reinhold October 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

Oh yes, it is! Mashed spuds and meatballs…nothing finer. 🙂


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