garlic knot meatball sliders

Garlic Knot Meatball Sliders

Tender meatballs are made from a combination of beef and pork and then served in between two halves of homemade garlic knot buns with melted mozzarella cheese. Since the garlic knots have a healthy serving of garlic, I use less garlic than I typically would in the meatballs in order to balance it out. The garlic knots are also created a little larger to fit the meatballs perfectly.

The recipe for the garlic knots is based on the garlic knots served at C&O Trattoria in Venice beach. They serve garlic knots in place of bread before the food comes out. I always end up eating my weight in the buttery garlic knots and not even being hungry for my entrée, which is always a shame because their portions are huge and I end up taking at least half of my food to go. At least I get two meals out of it!



For the garlic knots:

2 pounds pizza dough, store bought or homemade, at room temperature

All-purpose flour, as needed

Kosher salt, as needed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano


For the meatballs:

½ cup whole milk

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 pound ground beef (80% lean/ 20% fat)

½ pound ground pork

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper


For assembly:

2 cups marinara sauce of choice

4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced 

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley



For the garlic knots:

Preheat oven to 425º. Divide the dough so you have 4 balls weighing 1/2 pound each. Lightly flour a clean cooking surface then take the first ball and roll out into a 5-inch x10-inch rectangle that is about ½-inch thick. Use a knife to cut the rectangle into 2-inch x 5-inch strips so that you end up with 5. Roll each into a rope then form knots with each, tucking the ends under to make a ball roughly the size of a pool ball. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the dough balls loosely in plastic wrap and let proof for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and bake until the garlic knots are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and let melt. Whisk the mixture together and add the garlic and oregano and remove the pan from the heat.

Brush the garlic knots generously with the garlic butter mixture. Set aside.


For the meatballs:

Preheat the oven to 400º.

In a small mixing bowl combine milk and breadcrumbs and let it sit for 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl add the beef, pork, egg, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and the breadcrumb mixture. Gently mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Use ¼ cup measuring cup to form balls that are about 2¾ ounces each. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining mixture. Bake the meatballs until they are cooked through and browned on the outside, about 20 minutes.


For assembly:

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the marinara sauce and heat through. Add the meatballs and toss to cover.

Preheat the oven to broil.

Slice the garlic knots in half and leaving the top partly intact. Place a meatball on the bottom half of each garlic knot and top with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Continue with the remaining garlic knots and meatballs and broil until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with parsley, close the sliders and serve immediately.


Makes 16 meatball sliders. 


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