Mardi Gras Meatballs (A simple sheet pan recipe)
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Y’all - I miss Mardi Gras something frightful. That is, I miss living in New Orleans during Mardi Gras Season. The city revolves around parades and festivities this time of the year, and it feels as if there is an electric current ever present in the air. I think this is a result of New Orleanians' collective excitement and anticipation. For many adults that reside there, it's the time of year that even we feel like kids on Christmas morning. Not to mention, the weather is usually a little cooler by this time of year. So, as a local, you go about your workday with a sort of magical buzzing undercurrent present... and you count the hours until you'll be standing at the parade route.
I was lucky to get off of work early on most parade days, and my then housemate (hey Kate!) and I would race home to prepare for our evening of revelry and delights. Before doing it all again… and again... for the entirety of the Mardi Gras Season.
Looking back, I like to think that Kate and I were doing “Rosé All Day” before it was actually a thing. We would personally tote thermoses of rosé to the Mardi Gras parades with us. This should tell you that parade-goers can often use some sustenance beforehand.
Hence the inspiration for this easy sheet pan recipe. You can do the chopping in advance, it's quick, and hearty enough to prepare you for whatever your day entails. Also, PURPLE onions, GREEN broccoli, and GOLD potatoes. If you don’t know about the symbolism of Mardi Gras colors, check out this article.
In all honesty, I didn't cook all that often back in my rosé-toting, parade-frequenting days. I was in my 20's, worked a lot, and some of my major food groups at home were mimosas, cheese, and crackers! Current me looks back and thinks this would have been just the right nutritious and satisfying meal to toss in the oven on a parade day.
It’s such a simple recipe, and definitely a crowd pleaser. If you are short on time, because the Krewe of Muses parade rolls in a few minutes, or something way less exciting 😉, you have my permission to forego the meatballs! Just chop up some andouille sausage or smoked sausage and toss it on the pan instead.
If you want to make this super easy, chop the ingredients in advance and refrigerate them until you are ready to cook day-of. Voila! It doesn't get more simple than that.
So here we go! Step by Step, Y’all…
You will need TWO standard sheet pans for this recipe. (Standard sheet pans, or half sheet pans, are your average 18'' X 13'' pan).
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
For the first sheet pan, chop potatoes in 1’’ pieces. No larger as we want them to roast evenly and quickly. Chop half of a red onion in about 1’’ pieces as well. Throw both ingredients right onto the first sheet pan you are going to use.
Dump the olive oil, garlic, and seasonings on top, toss with tongs to coat evenly. Spread the potatoes and onions out. Spreading is a KEY step so you get nice roasting results. Nobody wants steamed veggies from a sheet pan, and this will happen if you overcrowd them. Put that baby in the oven for 15 minutes.
Next wash up your broccoli and remove the stems. Keep the florets on the larger side so they don’t disintegrate when you roast them with the meatballs. Toss those onto the second sheet pan.
Add oil, salt, red chili flakes. Toss to coat well and spread them out evenly. Working quickly, form your meatballs. This will be more easily done if you put some olive oil on your palms first. Make them an inch in diameter. They will be small, but again the goal is for this to be an easy and quick recipe. Smaller meatballs = less cooking time! Place them right onto the sheet pan with the broccoli.
As soon as it’s been 15 minutes, remove the first sheet pan and give those potatoes and onions a flip to ensure browning. Put them back in the oven (middle rack) along with your second sheet pan of broccoli and meatballs (top rack) for another 15 minutes.
Wait those 15 minutes, and you will be rewarded!
IMPORTANT: Check the meatballs for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This recipe calls for a turkey Italian sausage. If you use a pork Italian sausage, your internal temperature should be 160 degrees F.
Mardi Gras Meatballs (A simple sheet pan meal)
4 - 5 servings (or 3 servings for very hungry Mardi Gras parade-goers)
1 c purple onion (about ½ large onion), chopped
2 c gold potatoes (about ½ lb), cubed
1 T olive oil
1 t salt
½ t pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sheet pan 2:
1 lb turkey Italian sausage, formed into 1’’ meatballs
½ lb broccoli florets
1T olive oil
¼ t salt
¼ t red chili flakes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On the first sheet pan you will use, toss first six ingredients together and spread out for even roasting.
Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, turning the mixture after 15 minutes to encourage even browning.
Meanwhile, on a second sheet pan, toss broccoli in oil, salt, and red chili flakes. Spread it out.
Next, form turkey Italian sausage into 1’’ meatballs and place directly onto the sheet pan with the broccoli.
Add to oven and roast for another 15 minutes, or until internal temperature of meatballs is 165 degrees F.
Remove both sheet pans from the oven and toss the ingredients together.
Top with fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!
*To make this recipe Keto, omit the potatoes and bake the onions along with meatballs and broccoli… just divide the ingredients between two sheet pans so they are not overcrowded.
About this Recipe:
paleo dairy free egg free ketogenic* coconut free nut free gluten free