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How to Make a Delicious Pasta and Meatball Bite Appetizer

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Not only do these pasta and meatball bites taste amazing, but they also look adorable! This is such an easy recipe that takes only a few ingredients and very little prep. I also love how you can use cupcake toppers as skewers and change them out for any occasion!

Pasta and Meatball bites

I used these fun sparkly toppers from Amazon for a New Year’s Eve twist, but you can use any cupcake toppers to coordinate with the event, such as birthday parties, holidays, and more!

Ingredients

  • 20 premade, frozen meatballs
  • 1/2 cup grape jelly (for meatball sauce)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (for meatball sauce)
  • 20 pieces of cooked bowtie pasta
  • 20 leaves of fresh basil

Supplies Needed: One small saucepan and 20 toothpicks, skewers, or lollipop sticks. Or any fun cupcake toppers to match the occasion!

One batch yields 20 meatballs, but you can certainly make more. If you have leftover pasta, toss with marinara sauce and enjoy dinner the next night!

Batch of cooked meatballs with ketchup and grape jelly

Substitutions

Meatballs: You can use turkey meatballs for a healthier option.

Sauce: If you prefer a bit of spice, you can also swap the ketchup for sweet chili sauce and combine with the jelly.

Vegetarian: For a vegetarian variation, caprese skewers composed of a cherry tomato, mozzarella ball, and fresh basil drizzled with vinaigrette are a delicious option.

Ingredients for meatball and pasta bite

Directions

For Meatballs:

  1. Defrost and/or cook meatballs per package directions.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the grape jelly and ketchup over medium heat and stir often so the mixture doesn’t burn.
  3. Let the mixture boil for one minute and reduce heat.
  4. Stir in meatballs so they are completely covered in the mixture.
  5. Simmer for approximately five minutes before removing from heat.

For Pasta:

  1. Cook and drain pasta according to box directions.
  2. Toss with Olive Oil for extra flavor.

Assembly:

  1. Place one bowtie pasta, one basil leaf, and one meatball on each skewer.
  2. Display on serving platter and enjoy!
Close-up of meatball and pasta bite with sparkly topper
These are so cute all dressed up!

Here’s a Quick Video Tutorial!

Leanna holding a platter of appetizers

Perfect Presentation Platters

These pasta and meatball bites could go on just about anything! Here are some of my favorite options:

White Porcelain Platters: I used this set of two white porcelain platters, or you could go with this large white porcelain platter. Both are from Walmart at a great price!

Wood Serving Boards: I use these for anything and everything, from desserts to charcuterie boards. Antique Farmhouse has this amazing set of three in various shapes and sizes. Target also has a huge selection, like a round paddle board, this rectangular distressed board, or this raised wooden tray.

Checkered Serving Board: This MacKenzie Childs checkered board is a bit of an investment, but I use it all the time and also display it as decor in my kitchen.

Plate of meatball, pasta, and basil bites

Can I Make These Ahead of Time?

With the fresh basil, cooked pasta, and frozen meatballs, I’d recommend assembling these close to when you’re planning on serving. To save time, the pasta can definitely be prepped several hours beforehand! You could also defrost and cook the meatballs a few hours in advance as well.

White platter with festive New Year's appetizer

Storing Leftovers

Store leftovers in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container in the refrigerator. These should last for several days. Tip: If you’d prefer to reheat after it’s been refrigerated, remove the basil leaf first so it doesn’t wilt in the microwave.

Three meatball and pasta bites on a white platter

Enjoy!

Have you ever made this recipe before? The classic sauce combo of grape jelly and ketchup reminds me of my childhood! Thanks so much to www.theBakerMama.com for this recipe inspiration. Have a very Happy New Year, friends!

xoxo,

Leanna

Print

Pasta, Basil, and Meatball Bites

  • Author: Leanna
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 20 meatballs 1x
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

Scale

  • 20 premade, frozen meatballs
  • 1/2 cup grape jelly (for meatball sauce)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (for meatball sauce)
  • 20 pieces of cooked bowtie pasta
  • 20 leaves of fresh basil

Supplies Needed: One small saucepan and 20 toothpicks, skewers, or lollipop sticks. Or any fun cupcake toppers to match the occasion!

One batch yields 20 meatballs, but you can certainly make more. If you have leftover pasta, toss with marinara sauce and enjoy dinner the next night!

Instructions

For Meatballs:

  1. Defrost and/or cook meatballs per package directions.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the grape jelly and ketchup over medium heat and stir often so the mixture doesn’t burn.
  3. Let the mixture boil for one minute and reduce heat.
  4. Stir in meatballs so they are completely covered in the mixture.
  5. Simmer for approximately five minutes before removing from heat.

For Pasta:

  1. Cook and drain pasta according to box directions.
  2. Toss with Olive Oil for extra flavor.

Assembly:

  1. Place one bowtie pasta, one basil leaf portion, and one meatball on each skewer.
  2. Display on serving platter and enjoy!

Notes

Substitutions:

Meatballs: You can use turkey meatballs for a healthier option.

Vegetarian: For a vegetarian variation, caprese skewers composed of a cherry tomato, mozzarella ball, and fresh basil and drizzled with vinaigrette are a delicious option.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers: Store leftovers in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container in the refrigerator. These should last for several days. Tip: If you’d prefer to reheat after it’s been refrigerated, remove the basil leaf first so it doesn’t wilt in the microwave.

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