Light Italian Meatballs

These Light Italian Meatballs are my go-to meatball recipe for whenever I am craving traditional Italian food. They key here is the extra lean ground beef. This makes a dramatic difference in the Points value. Cutting down on all that fat in the ground beef, allows for the addition of grated Parmesan cheese mixed into the meat. This makes for an unbelievably good Italian meatball. I used jarred marinara or spaghetti sauce when I’m pressed for time and to keep it super easy, but you could make your own from scratch if you prefer. At just 5 Points for each 5 meatball serving, this Italian Weight Watchers Recipe is a dream come true. I will often make large batches and freeze them to have on hand later for a quick Italian meatball sandwich for lunch – yum! These Light Italian Meatballs are a HUGE hit with my family, and I highly recommend giving them a try.

Light Italian Meatballs Recipe

Moist, tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor, these Italian meatballs are the best I’ve ever had. Made with real ground beef, (not turkey or chicken!) they taste so good it’s hard to believe these are so Weight Watchers friendly.


  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (96% lean, 4% fat)
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 jar fat free marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms)


  1. Combine all ingredients except the marinara sauce in a large bowl, and mix well with hands.
  2. Form meat into 30 1” meatballs.
  3. Spray a very large, non-stick skillet with an olive oil mister, and set over medium high heat. Once pan is heated well, add in meatballs, and brown on each side (about 3-4 minutes per side).
  4. Pour in jarred marinara, cover and turn heat to medium low. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced fat, Reduced carbohydrate, High protein

Number of servings (yield): 6

Culinary tradition: Italian

Calories: 188

Fat: 5g

Protein: 21.5g

Entire recipe makes 6 servings
Serving size is 5 meatballs with sauce
Each serving = 5 Points

PER SERVING: 188 calories; 5g fat; 13.5g carbohydrates; 21.5g protein; 2g fiber


  1. I followed this recipe exactly and the meatballs LOOKED incredible, however, they tasted a bit bitter, I don’t know what happened :(

  2. Can you tell me what the point value would be for just the meatballs without the marinara sauce?

    • LaaLoosh Reply

      I’m not sure offhand, as I calculate the nutritional info for each ingredient and then add them all up. But marinara sauce is typically very low in Points Plus, so at the most, it would take off 1 Point, if any at all.

  3. These were delicious! I didn’t have parsley on hand, so I used a bit of rosemary, and I also added some crushed red pepper to the meatballs. I used a basic marinara sauce from Costco (it’s wonderful!) and served it with whole wheat pasta. This was a HUGE hit! My husband liked them as much as the very fatty and tender meatballs at Italian restaurants. I’ll definitely be using this recipe again.

  4. Thanks for all the great recipes! I was just wondering what type of parmesan cheese you are using in this recipe? I used Kraft dry type of parmesan cheese and while I love cheese, this seemed like a lot, so I only used half.
    I am making this with a Weight Watchers 0 point pasta sauce recipe that I found online, can’t wait to try both recipes!
    Thanks again!

  5. How can we cook these without the Marinara. My daughter won’t touch marinara and so I would like to make that sauce an option.

    • LaaLoosh Reply

      Carrie, you can just cook the meatballs all the way through in the pan. Add a tbsp or two of broth or water, cover the pan, and cook meatballs until no longer pink inside. It should only take an extra minute or two on each side. The marinara just cooks it slower and allows for the sauce to seep into the meatballs some.

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