Meatballs In Smashed Tomato Sauce
By Teresa Cutter
What's great about it
These meatballs contain all the essential nutrients such as protein and antioxidants needed to build muscle, fight disease and support a healthy body. You can use your choice of grass-fed beef, veal, pork or turkey mince in this recipe. I've also mixed in a few spoonfuls of ricotta which lightens the meatballs so they are tender and gorgeous when you eat them. Tomatoes are a wonderful source of vitamin B6, C, K, beta-carotene, potassium and manganese. The lycopene (a phytonutrient) in tomatoes have been linked to lower rates of heart disease and stroke.
500 g (17 1/2 oz) lean grass-fed beef mince or your choice veal, pork or turkey mince
150 g (5 1/4 oz) full fat firm ricotta cheese
1 organic / free range egg
200 g (7 oz) spinach, blanched, drained well and chopped finely
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped + extra to garnish
generous pinch of sea salt
Finely grated parmesan to serve
- Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F).
- Combine mince, ricotta, spinach, parsley, egg, salt and pepper.
- Mix well until smooth and well combined.
- Shape mince into meatballs. I've used an ice cream scoop to portion and shape into even sized balls.
- Roll into round balls. I normally wet hands with a little water occasionally as this helps the ball-rolling process.
- Place balls into a baking dish coated with olive oil. Make sure there is enough room around the meatballs so they can cook evenly.
- Bake meatballs for 20 minutes in the oven or until cooked.
- Spoon over the smashed tomato sauce and return back into the oven for another 20–30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve with your choice of vegetable noodles or steamed vegetables.
Notes and Inspiration
500 g (17 1/2 oz) fresh green peas
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
4 spring onions, finely chopped
200 g (7 oz) chopped cooked spinach ( drained)
125 g (4 1/2 oz) ricotta
1/2 cup almond meal or a little chickpea flour
Place peas in your food processor with herbs and blend until just combined but still chunky.
Remove from the machine and add sea salt, pepper, ricotta, spring onion, almond meal and spinach.
Mix through with your hands and form into balls – coating with a little extra almond meal.
Allow to rest in the fridge for 1 hour then lightly sauté in a pan with a little olive oil until golden.
Serve with smashed tomato sauce and enjoy.
Garnish the meatballs with chopped fresh parsley and a little grated parmesan.
Serve with zucchini spaghetti.
Serve in individual 20-cm cast-iron pans or earthenware dishes for some flair.
Try veal and ricotta meatballs or pork and fennel.
For those who are dairy free, you can add one fine-grated potato in place of the ricotta and mix it through the mince before forming into balls. I always use my Smashed Tomato Sauce for this recipe because it's simple and clean on the palate and the fresh ripe tomato flavours mingle delicately in the mouth after eating it.