When we get home from work, the last thing either of us wants to do is cook an elaborate dinner. (Sometimes we don’t want to cook at all, let’s be honest here!). So weeknight dinners for us need to be simple, quick and nourishing. Usually they alternate between something like grilled fish and roasted veggies, stir fries or soups. But when we’re craving something heartier and more comforting, nothing quite beats a good pasta dish!
The other week I decided to switch from our usual pasta sauce to meatballs instead, and we both enjoyed it so much! Meatballs are a fantastic way to get sneak in some veggies for kids (and adults too!) and in the past I’ve put in things like grated zucchini, chopped spinach/kale and even steamed and mashed sweet potato and pumpkin and they’ve all been delicious additions!
But this time round I wanted to keep them as simple as possible and stuck with a pretty basic ingredient list: grass-fed beef mince, grated carrot, onion, garlic, dried Italian herbs, breadcrumbs (I made these by blitzing up slightly stale sourdough in my food processor – but you can of course just use whatever breadcrumbs you like) and an egg to bind it all.
Even the sauce was kept simple. And I mean VERY simple. Two tins of organic diced tomatoes, salt and pepper. That’s it! The pan juices from cooking the meatballs flavoured the sauce nicely and it really didn’t need anything more than a bit of salt and pepper.
We enjoyed ours served on top of some spaghetti and fresh rocket, with generous servings of grated cheese to finish it. But we also love our meatballs on top of just pasta, pasta + steamed broccoli, quinoa, cous cous or brown rice. Whatever you feel like most – just go with that!
I hope you enjoy the recipe, and if you do post a photo to Instagram, please tag me so I can see it! I absolutely love seeing your creations!
- 400g grass fed mince
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs*
- Olive oil
- 2 x 400ml tins diced tomatoes**
- Salt and pepper
- To serve: cooked pasta, couscous, quinoa, rice or steamed greens.
- Combine mince, carrot, onion, garlic, herbs, egg, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and mix well. (I find it easiest to do this with my hands but you can also just use a large mixing spoon).
- Scoop a heaped spoonful of the mince mixture into your hand and shape into a meatball.
- Repeat until all the mince is used up.
- Heat a large pan on the stovetop and add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of it.
- Add in your meatballs to the pan.
- Turn after 1-2 mins, or when they've browned on the bottom.
- Keep turning them until browned all over.
- Add the two tins of diced tomatoes and a pinch of salt and pepper and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer for 12-15mins, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve on top of pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa or veggies for a wholesome dinner!
- * I used homemade crumbs made by blitzing some old sourdough in my food processor. But you can buy pre-made breadcrumbs, or sub it for gluten free breadcrumbs to make this a gluten free recipe
- ** I sometimes swap 1 of the tins of diced tomatoes for 1 tin of whole tomatoes, which adds a little more texture and richness to the dish!