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Herby meatballs with hidden veg tomato sauce



Sorry I’ve not been around as much as I normally am. Quick run down of why: got a new part-time, very exciting job (marketing for a tech start up); been on holidays in Spain, then camping (if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know about that) and that’s it really. In between trying to run every day (reality is a couple of runs a week and becoming puce-of-face as a result), looking after my dog, being a mum and wifey, and general social shenanigans I’ve struggled to keep up! But don’t worry, all is restored now. Well, I’m back from my holibobs at least!

So even though I have my new job, I’ll never, ever give up Well Worn Whisk. It’s just in my bones now. I have a backlog of awesome recipes to share with you. So I will try to play catch up this week. Starting, in back to front order, with tonight’s dinner. Meatballs! If I want to make my kids happy, I make meatballs. I don’t have a recipe that I stick to as such, but they are always kind of similar in that I use good quality meat, don’t pad out with egg or breadcrumb, season well, add herbs – and in this case, Parmesan too. Adding Parmesan to the meatballs seriously transforms them. If you are not normally bothered about meatballs, try this way, you’ll be addicted.

I served them with a quick hidden veg tomato sauce, using passata as it doesn’t really require cooking down as such – whereas chopped tommies do. Passata is a little bit like a cheat’s sauce, but more pure. I added heaps of garlic, finely chopped onion and a couple of small grated carrots. If I had courgettes in, I would’ve grated one of those in too. Not too much though, or else I think it becomes noticeable. This way it’s really hidden. So great for fussy vegetable haters like my son.

I served with brown rice pasta – which I am so in love with. No one ever, ever knows. And it’s made of frickin’ brown rice man! Such a win for mums who have fussy kids but want to up their nutrition. Doves Farm is the brand I like.

Serves: 3/4 people
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes approx

450g beef mince (buy from the butchers or the best quality you can from supermarket)
75g Parmesan
Handful of basil, chopped (use fresh parsley if you want, or a mixture)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Little ground black pepper

Hidden veg tomato sauce: 
600ml passata
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

To serve: 
More basil, torn
More Parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil

About 250g-300g brown rice pasta (I serve 75g-100g per adult and 25-50g per child depending on age and hunger!)


  1. Make your balls! Mix meat with herbs, cheese and seasoning. Squish with hands and roll into bitesize (for kids) balls. Heat a frying pan and add oil. Wait until rather hot and pop in pan. Don’t move until they form a crust, then carefully turn over. Once sealed you can move them more freely.
  2. Remove from pan once brown and only just cooked. You will have some oil and lots of lovely crusty bits in the pan now. Add carrots, onions and garlic. Sweat down for 15 mins until a little soft.
  3. Add passata to pan. Bring to boil. Rescue heat and simmer for another 15 mins.
  4. Meanwhile bring large pan of water to boil. Add pasta. Cook till al dente.
  5. Add meatballs to sauce 5 mins before serving.
  6. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Serve in pan with basil, more grated Parmesan and a drizzle of good oil.

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