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Italian “Juicy Lucy” Meatballs

  • Author: Elizabeth Briasco, MSc, RD, Purdue University


Inspired by my time living in Minneapolis, home of the famous “Juicy Lucy” burger, and my Italian grandmother’s skill for showing her family love the best way she knew how – through food.


• ¼ pound mushrooms
• 1 pound ground meat, 85-90% lean
• 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
• ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon pepper
• 1 tablespoons water
• 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
• Cooking spray


  1. Preheat the broiler to HIGH. Line a sheet pan with foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Wash mushrooms and blend in a food processor until finely minced, pulsing in 2-3 second increments for about 8-10 seconds. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Place the minced mushrooms, meat, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and water in a bowl. Mix until completely combined.
  4. Take about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Press a cube of cheese into the meatball, making sure the cheese is completely surrounded by meat. Place the stuffed meatball on the sheet pan and repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
  5. Lightly spray the tops of the finished meatballs with cooking spray. Broil for 8 minutes or until the tops of the meatballs begin to brown. Flip meatballs over and return to broiler for another 2-3 minutes, until meatballs are just done. Be careful not to overcook the meatballs or the cheese might spill out.
  6. Enjoy as appetizers or with a bowl of your favorite pasta and sauce!