Everyone needs a good meatball recipe up their sleeve! They're delicious and wickedly versatile, great on the own as a snack, on top of oodles of pasta, or served on top of mash with your favourite veggies. A plate of good quality meatballs and tomatoey pasta makes my heart sing.
Meatball recipes can be as individual as we are, with great variance in flavours, the meat used and serving style depending on your preferences, culture and where you are in the world. For me one of the keys to a great meatball is lots of flavour, done by seasoning the mix appropriately, and then adding in strong, but complimentary, flavours like onions, garlic, and ample herbs, like fresh parsley and dried oregano. To help stretch the mix I also added in a tin of brown lentils, which are ridiculously cheap and a great source of fibre. They're such a versatile legume and are great to add to mince-based dishes, as they have a similar texture when mixed through and take up flavours really well - I often sub 500g mince with a tin or two of lentils.
When it comes to making the mixture make sure to combine everything well (using you hands of course!) to fully incorporate all the lovely flavours and seasoning, but avoid turning the mix into a paste which can be done be being a bit heavy handed and over-squeezing the mix together. A little texture is nice.
Ways to enjoy meatballs...
- As a protein packed snack on-the-go
- On top of your favourite pasta of choice, whether that be traditional, gluten-free (brown rice, quinoa), plant-based (zucchini, spaghetti squash)...
- Poached in a tomato-based soup
- In lettuce cups, piled with a spoon of hummus and shredded slaw
- On top of potato/kumara/pumpkin mash and a side of your favourite veggies
- As a party appetiser, with a little toothpick poking out the middle
- On top of homemade pizza
- In your kiddies lunchbox...
Beef and Lentil Meatballs
500g prime beef mince
1x 390g tin brown lentils
1/2 brown onion
2 cloves garlic
1 free-range egg
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1. If using oven to cook meatballs preheat to bake 180 degrees and line a baking dish with baking paper. If pan-frying then pop a pan on the stove top.
2. Open tin of lentils and pour contents into a sieve. Drain liquid, then rinse well with water. Keep aside.
3. Peel and finely dice the onion and garlic.
4. In a large bowl add the egg and whisk. Add all other ingredients.
5. Using hands evenly mix everything until perfectly combined. Roll even tablespoons of the mixture into balls.
6. Either pop meatballs into the baking dish and put in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or oil up the pan and pan-fry meatballs until cooked. If cooking in a baking dish then you may get a little leakage out of the meatballs - this is totally fine.