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Meatballs in tomato sauce

Category: parenting

Duration: short


Keywords: family, parenting, iron, protein


This classic recipe makes about 26 meatballs – enough to feed a hungry brood! Freeze leftovers in small containers for a last-minute dinner option when you don’t have time to cook.

Meatballs in tomato sauce


  • 2 slices thick white Italian-style bread (crusts removed)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g lean beef mince
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • a little chopped basil
  • salt and papper to season
  • 750ml bottle of tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • a few basil leaves
  • pasta to serve


  1. Tear 2 slices thick white Italian-style bread (crusts removed) into small pieces, place in a bowl, and pour over 1/3 cup milk and 1 tbsp olive oil. Set aside until bread absorbs most of the liquid. Mix with a fork.
  2. Place 400g lean beef mince, 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 cup grated parmesan and a little chopped basil in a large bowl, add the bread mixture, season with salt and pepper. Using your hand, bring the mixture together and mix until combined.
  3. Shape small spoonfuls of mixture into small meatballs. Cook meatballs in tomato sauce for pasta (see right) or roll lightly in plain flour and shallow-fry in batches over a medium high heat until golden and cooked through.

Tomato sauce for pasta

  1. Place a 750ml bottle of tomato pasta sauce, 1 cup beef stock and a few basil leaves in a wide heavy based pan, bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Have the tomato sauce at simmering point, not any higher or meatballs may break apart.
  3. Carefully spoon the meatballs into the sauce and cook uncovered for about 10-12 minutes or until meatballs are cooked (depending on the size of the pan the meatballs may need to be gently turned while cooking).
  4. While meatballs are cooking, cook pasta.
  5. Serve pasta with a spoonful of the tomato sauce and spoon over a few meatballs.

Freezer standby…meatballs make everyone happy!
Take the meatball mix and roll it into small meatballs. Cook them until lightly golden. Cool, and then freeze meatballs in small containers. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Reheat them in the oven until thoroughly hot or pop them into a pasta sauce to cook.

Try these ideas

  • Serve the meatballs in a minestrone style soup.
  • Roll them up with flatbreads, salad and dips like hummus.
  • Team them with tomato sauce, mashed potato, and a green vegie like beans.
  • Present them with a dipping sauce of soy and tomato sauce and a dunking dip of sour cream and chives.

P.S. Pop them in the kids’ lunch box too!

More photos

Meatballs in tomato sauce

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