Porcupine Meatballs

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This Brown Rice Porcupine Meatballs recipe is a classic retro dinner, made in the oven. This recipe makes a great addition to a hearty meal and these baked porcupine meatballs are a great choice for a busy day. Hope you enjoy as much as our family does. They are simply comforting and filling, and make the perfect weeknight dinner in about 45 minutes.

Simply simmer the meatballs in the oven in a tasty seasoned tomato broth for 30 minutes. The brown rice in the meatballs by then will have puffed up all around the meat, and your meatballs will look like little porcupines, too cute. The final result of this simple recipe is a saucy, satisfying weeknight dinner.

Porcupine meatballs came about during the Great Depression era as a way to help stretch ground beef into more meals. Adding rice bulked up the beef, yielding more meatballs for less money. The recipe stuck, and eventually people started making rice-filled meatballs by choice rather than necessity. Glad it stuck. love these tasty little guys!!!

For an appetizer, this goes well with Fresh Tomato Crostini or Cabbage Soup. Pair it with a side of vegetables like Roasted Brussels Sprouts. For dessert, try Luscious Lemon Squares.


Brown Rice Porcupine Meatballs

This Brown Rice Porcupine Meatballs is a classic retro dinner, made in the oven.

  • Author: Charles Mattocks
  • Prep Time: :15
  • Cook Time: :30
  • Total Time: :45
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Diet: Diabetic


Units Scale
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (at least 95%)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice, chilled
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 16 ounces low-sodium vegetable juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Mix beef, rice, onion, seasonings, and beaten egg.
  3. Form into 8 meatballs.
  4. Place meatballs in baking dish, add the vegetable juice, and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with a green salad dressed with a little olive oil and lemon juice, if desired.


Choices/Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 1 Lean Protein, 1/2 Fat

Meatball Tips

  • Keep Things Cold – You want to keep the fat from melting and breaking down before you cook the meatballs, so keep your meat and ingredients as cold as possible. Make the mixture in a chilled bowl, and if you are adding precooked ingredients like onions, let them cool down completely before adding.
  • Be Gentle – If the meatballs are packed too tightly and compactly, they’ll turn out tough, rubbery, and chewy. Oil your hands so that the mixture won’t stick to them and gently and quickly form the meatballs.


  • Serving Size: 4
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