Mini meatballs in tomato sauce


Spray oil

1 small onion

1 clove garlic

1 small carrot

115g lean minced beef

55g fresh white breadcrumbs

1 x 15ml spoon freshly parsley                       

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small egg

175g dried spaghetti


For the tomato sauce:

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 x 15ml spoon tomato puree


Vegetable knife, chopping board, measuring spoons, small frying pan, large saucepan, spatula, large bowl, fork, wooden spoon, baking tray, food processor or blender, sieve or colander.


1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.

2. Prepare the ingredients:

  • peel and finely chop the onion;
  • peel and crush the garlic;
  • peel and finely grate the carrot;
  • chop the parsley;
  • beat the egg.

3. Add a few sprays of oil to a small frying pan and heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté (fry lightly) for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Remove half of the cooked onion to a large bowl and leave the other half in the frying pan.

4. Add the carrot, beef, breadcrumbs, parsley and seasoning to the onions in the bowl, and mix well. Then add just enough beaten egg to bind together without making the mixture too sticky.

5. Divide the mixture into 16 equal amounts and roll each into small balls. Place on a lightly greased or lined baking tray. Thoroughly wash and dry hands after touching the raw meat.

6. Cook in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes or until cooked through, turning over halfway through cooking.

7. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti following the pack guidelines in a large saucepan of boiling water.

8. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree to the remaining onion mixture in the frying pan. Simmer together for 5–8 minutes or until the onions are very soft. Season to taste and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.

9. Drain the spaghetti thoroughly then toss together with the cooked meatballs and tomato sauce. Divide between warmed serving plates and serve immediately.

Top tips:

  • You can leave the tomato sauce chunky if you prefer. The meatballs can be frozen before cooking. Simply follow the method up to step 3, roll into small balls then open freeze on a tray until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to a month. To cook, simply transfer the meatballs to a baking tray to defrost, then continue from step 4 once they are defrosted.


Why not use the Explore Food calculator, the British Nutrition Foundation's free online nutritional analysis programme, to calculate the nutritional information for this and other Food - a fact of life recipes?

Food skills:

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Cut, Chop, Slice, Dice & Trim
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Fry & Sauté
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Mix, Stir & Combine
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Portion / Divide
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Melt, simmer and boil
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Blitz, puree and blend

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