This kinda-gross, kinda-cute party appetizer really couldn’t be easier: stuff a mozzarella ball into a meatball, top with a green olive slice, and dish up with hot marinara. The red pimento pupils give the eyes an inhuman touch, and floating them in a pool of marinara just ups the creep factor a little more. On the other hand, they’re not so gross that no one wants to actually eat them, and melty mozzarella is irresistible.
I have a major pet peeve about delicious-looking-but-terrible-tasting gimmicky holiday foods. Looking at you, Pinterest… seriously, sausage and candy corn? I don’t care how cute it looks, no one wants to eat that.
So I promise these eyeballs actually taste delicious (words I never thought I’d type) and the platter will be clean before you know it. If you want to make them a little more substantial for a big party, they’d be HEAVEN on top of crusty garlic bread! Put a basket of bread next to them and you’ve got open-faced meatball subs. Otherwise just set a pile of toothpicks next to the plate and let your friends stab them in true Halloween spirit.
Ciliegine is just the Italian name for the size of the mozzarella balls, meaning ‘small cherry’. If you can’t find fresh ciliegine mozzarella then you can cut a large ball into cherry-sized pieces. I also only used slices from the middle of the olives so each slice had a pimento for a more pupil-y appearance.
Need to throw something together last-minute? Don’t worry about making homemade meatballs, just use a pound of seasoned sausage instead. Sausage turns this into an easy 4-ingredient, 15-minute recipe that’s still impressively party-ready!
Mozzarella Monster Eyeballs
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced
- 1/4 cup parmesan grated
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 12 oz. fresh ciliegine mozzarella
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives sliced
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Mix together all ingredients for meatballs.
- Roll meatball mixture into balls, about 1 T. each, and set on a foil-lined baking sheet. in the palm of your hand, then place a mozzarella ball in the middle and mold the meatball around it.
- Push a mozzarella ball deep into each meatball, pressing the edges around the mozzarella.
- Bake at 425° for 8-10 minutes, until meatballs are cooked and mozzarella is beginning to melt.
- While meatballs are baking, spread marinara evenly in a large baking dish and add to the oven to heat.
- As soon as the meatballs come out of the oven, press an olive slice on top of each mozzarella ball.
- Set meatballs into the hot marinara sauce and serve warm.