Family meatballs in tomato sauce

February 26, 2019
Family meatballs in tomato sauce

A comforting and homely one-pan meal that is a great way to trick your family into eating their veggies! “I’ve been trying to add pulses to my meals as often as possible, and adding lentils to sauces and meatballs, as in this recipe, is a great way to increase your intake”.

Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi

Photograph by Dylan Swart

Family meatballs in tomato sauce

Serves: 4
Total Time: 1 hr



  • handful rosemary and thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 500g extra-lean beef mince
  • 1 x 400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) dried oregano
  • 90g carrot pulp
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) canola oil + extra, to drizzle and fry
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cumin
  • 2 x 410g tins peeled and chopped tomatoes

  • 150g buffalo mozzarella/fior di latte, torn (optional)
  • green/purple basil leaves



For the meatballs, mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl – it’s best to do this with your hands to ensure everything is well combined. Shape the mince into 5cm meatballs, packing them fairly tightly. Set the meatballs aside on a tray or chopping board.


Add a drizzle of canola oil to a large, deep frying pan with a lid (one that will fit the meatballs and sauce) and place the pan over high heat. Brown the meatballs in batches, about 2 minutes per side, then remove from pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add a little water to the pan if there are any bits of mince that have stuck to the base. Boil the water and scrape the bits of mince, but do not discard – these tasty morsels will add flavour to your sauce.


Add all of your sauce ingredients to the pan and simmer, 10 minutes, before tasting the sauce and seasoning accordingly. Add your meatballs, then cover with a lid and simmer, a further 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked to your liking. Serve in the pan, sprinkled with torn buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte, if desired, and tear over some basil leaves.

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