Mozzarella-Stuffed Kimchi Meatballs


Your usual spaghetti and meatballs gets a Korean twist with the use of kimchi, Gochujang, and fish sauce. But meatballs stuffed with cheese and a familiar red sauce drizzled over everything means even the least adventurous eaters would be willing to try it.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Kimchi Meatballs
Photo: Carson Downing
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 3 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes in puree

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • cup brine from purchased kimchi

  • 1 ¼ cup finely chopped kimchi

  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Gochujang sauce or paste

  • 1 pound ground beef (80% lean)

  • cup panko bread crumbs

  • ¼ cup chopped green onions

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 ounce part-skim mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 24 cubes)

  • Cooked wide rice noodles and/or sauteed napa cabbage*


  1. For sauce: In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium. Add onion. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add three cloves garlic. Cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them to the pot, and their juices. Add broth, brine, 1/4 cup kimchi, 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, and the Gochujang. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  2. For meatballs: In a large bowl combine ground beef, remaining 1 cup kimchi, the panko, green onions, remaining two cloves garlic, remaining 1 Tbsp. fish sauce, remaining 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Use your hands to mix well. Using wet hands, shape into 24 balls. Insert a mozzarella cube into each ball, sealing meat around it.

  3. In an extra-large skillet heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium. Add half the meatballs. Cook 12 minutes or until browned and cooked through, turning occasionally. Remove; repeat with remaining meatballs. Transfer to the Dutch oven; heat through. Serve with noodles and/or cabbage. Serves 4.


To saute cabbage, remove and discard ribs; cut leaves into wide ribbons. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high. Add cabbage. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until softened.

To Bake Meatballs:

Place meatballs in a 15x10-inch baking pan lined with foil. Cover and chill 1 hour. Bake at 375°F for 18 minutes or until 160°F.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

554 Calories
37g Fat
25g Carbs
32g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 554
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 2456mg 107%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 30.8mg 154%
Calcium 354mg 27%
Iron 5.4mg 30%
Potassium 1174mg 25%
Fatty acids, total trans 1g
Folate, total 73.7mcg
Vitamin B-12 2.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.7mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Related Articles