Soutzoukakia Smyrneika with Linguine pasta

Soutzoukakia – Amazing Greek meatballs in a tomato sauce with Linguine. Soutzoukakia are normally served with pilaf rice but they also go well with pasta. Hard to resist a good meatball in tomato sauce, it goes with everything and enhances the taste of every side dish!

Soutzoukakia quote ENGa
Soutzoukakia in a tomato sauce
Soutzoukakia Smyrneika in a tomato sauce

Soutzoukakia Smyrneika

Soutzoukakia without cumin is like a boat without sails” my grandmother used to say and I totally agree with her!

The people of Smyrni (now called İzmir), famous for their cuisine but also for their cosmopolitan way of life, brought the Soutzoukakia recipe to Greece after the destruction of Smyrni in 1922 and since then it has entered the hearts and kitchens of every home.

When my grandmother moved from Crete to Athens, she happened to have a neighbor from Smyrni, with whom they often exchanged recipes, so I managed to obtain this wonderful recipe too. My grandmother used to put twice as many spices as I mention in the recipe but after making the Soutzoukakia for many years I came up with the perfect (for me) amount and proportions for this recipe.

Soutzoukakia with linguine2

This is actually the amount of cheese I usually add to my pasta but it is not convenient to photograph it because it’s hard to tell what’s below all that snow haha. I usually serve my Soutzoukakia with a green salad or Greek salad

Soutzoukakia with pilaf rice or pasta?

Normally the Soutzoukakia meatballs are served with pilaf rice but they also go well with pasta. Hard to resist a good meatball in tomato sauce, it goes with everything and enhances the taste of every side dish!

If you prefer Soutzoukakia with pilaf rice then add half the amount of the tomato paste and the Olive Oil that I mention in the recipe for the tomato sauce. I added a little extra tomato paste to this tomato sauce because it will be diluted with water to go in the oven with the Linguine. Good luck and Stay Fresh while cooking!


Soutzoukakia Smyrneika with Linguine pasta

Prep: 30m | Cook: 30m | Total: 1h | Yield: 4-6


For the meatballs:

  • 500g ground Beef*
  • 3 slices of stale Bread
  • 1 large Onion, very finely chopped or blended
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1 wineglass of Red Wine (to soak the bread)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pinches of Oregano
  • 1 pinch Salt and Pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose Flour, for the outer flouring
  • 200ml frying oil, for frying the meatballs

For the Tomato sauce:

  • 3 Fresh Tomatoes, grated
  • 70g Tomato paste (2 Tbsp)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Clove
  • 1 ball of Allspice
  • 1/3 tsp Cinnamon
  • One pinch Salt and Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 liter of boiling water
  • 1 pack of linguine pasta


  1. For the meatballs: Blend the onion in your kitchen processor or finely chop it.
  2. Remove the crust from 3 slices of stale bread and soak them in red wine for a few minutes.
  3. Drain the bread slices by squeezing them with your hands and add them into a bowl together with the minced meat, onion, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp olive oil and mix them all together with our hands very well.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Shape it into long conical meatballs and roll them into a bowl with flour.
  6. Fry them over high heat with Sunflower Oil until they turn brown on all sides.
  7. Remove them to a plate with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  8. To prepare the Tomato sauce: Add the olive oil in a pot over high heat and add the garlic, the tomato paste and the fresh grated tomatoes, cumin, clove, allspice, salt, and pepper.
  9. Stir them all together and bring them to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Add the fried meatballs to the pot with the tomato sauce, bring to a boil and then take them out of the pot.
  11. Pour the tomato sauce into a pan, add the linguine and 1 liter of boiling water.
  12. Bake at 200C / 385F for about 20 minutes.
  13. Serve the linguine with 3 meatballs and add a little grated Kefalotyri cheese on top.


  • For extra flavor, use in the minced meat half beef and half lamb or pork.
Soutzoukakia nutrition facts

Did you make this recipe? Or are you planning to make it? Let me know in the comments below, tag me on Instagram @freshpiato or show me your photos on Pinterest!

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Hi, I'm Christina!

On this website, you will find a pinch of passion for cooking, a bunch of craziness, one liter of inspiration, and only great recipes that I have created with love! Follow me on an adventurous culinary journey  […]

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