Meatballs with Hidden Veggies Tomato Sauce

Meatballs are a great fun make for children (and adults!) of all ages. This recipe makes fairly traditional pork and beef meatballs buts cooks them in a veggie-packed tomato sauce for an added nutrient boost that’s also big on flavour. Serves four. 

Makes: 4


For the Meatballs:

  • 200g lean pork mince
  • 200g lean beef mince
  • 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 30g Parmesan or Cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large pinch each of salt & pepper

To Serve:

  • wholewheat pasta
  • grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed & grated
  • 1/4 butternut squash (peeled, deseeded) OR 1 small courgette, grated
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded & grated
  • 1 x 680g jar tomato passata
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
  • 1 large pinch each of salt, pepper & sugar
  • 1 small pinch dried chilli flakes, optional


  1. Start with making the meatballs. Weigh and assemble all the ingredients and place in a large bowl. Squish together with your (well washed) hands until very well combined.
  2. Using your hands shape the mixture into 12 equal sized balls (about the size of a walnut), set aside on a plate until you are ready to cook. Now wash your hands very well.
  3. Prepare all the vegetables for the sauce, finely chop the onion and garlic and grate the carrot, squash/courgette and pepper.
  4. Heat the oil for the sauce in a large saucepan or casserole dish. Fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and all the grated vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Stir in the tomato passata, then fill the jar 1/3 full with water. With the top on shake the jar and pour the water into the pan. Stir in the tomato puree, oregano, Worcester sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and chilli flakes if using. Bring to a simmer and cook the sauce for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  6. For very little children or the veggie-phobic blitz the sauce with a hand-held stick blender or in a food processor until smooth. Bring back to a simmer.
  7. Carefully drop or spoon the meatballs into the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook for 20 minutes. DO NOT STIR the balls for at least 15 minutes as they need to firm up and cook.
  8. Serve on a bed of (wholewheat) tagliatelle or spaghetti, with grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese. Delizioso!