Cheap ‘n’ Skinny “Porcupine” Meatballs


So amidst the last few days worth of sunny weather and super warm temps, we got a stormy crap day with a high of only 60-something (gasp! lol). Since I’d been wanting to try out my new meatball recipe I figured this was a good opportunity since it might be one of the last cooler days which are perfect for a good ‘ol spaghetti and meatball dinner. I came up with this recipe when I was thinking about how I could get rid of the rest of the brown rice I was going to have left over from a meal I had made earlier in the week. I figured that they would make a good substitute for the bread or breadcrumbs I usually use in my meatball recipe. All excited about having thought of the first ever meat and rice meatball, I hopped on the internet and found out, it already exists in the form of a “porcupine” which is apparently some sort of retro recipe staple which utilizes rice, meat and V8 or something like that. Regardless of my lack of originality I figured I would simply adapt my recipe for regular Italian meatballs to include brown rice and at the same time lighten them up into my own healthy little porcupine :).



  • Use ground turkey and add an 8 oz. box of frozen spinach, thawed.
  • Feel free to cut the recipe in half for 10-12 meatballs or double/triple if you would like to freeze them and reheat them with sauce in the crockpot! This is an excellent money saver since you can usually purchase a family size pack of ground beef at a discount.
  • 93% lean can be a little dry, so if you’d like a traditional meatball use a meat with higher fat content 🙂


  • 2 lbs. 93% lean ground beef (feel free to use a combination of 80/20 and 93/7 if you like a more traditional meatball, turkey would also be great)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. each, salt & pepper


  1. Make sure you have a squishy baby sous chef on hand, this is optional but how cute is baby P?! 🙂                                            meatball
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand to combine.                                                                                                      meatball1meatball2
  4. Form 15-24 balls (depending on how large you’d like them) and arrange on a baking sheet or dish (I line mine with foil for easy clean up).meatball3
  5. Bake for about 30 mins or until browned on the top.                                                                                                                                      meatball4
  6. Serve up with your favorite sauce and enjoy! I served mine with whole wheat spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce, but since they have rice as a filler they would also be great as a meal without pasta but I love to pile on the carbs 🙂


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