What is spaghetti and meatballs?
Spaghetti and Meatballs! A timeless classic and a favourite meal for kids and adults all over the world. My son gets so excited whenever I make him meatballs because he loves them so much. Even when you make meatballs and marinara sauce from scratch its still pretty quick and easy to make so there really is no excuse not to make them all the time. For this recipe I used 5% fat beef steak mince but meatballs can be made from any mince. Traditionally in Italian cuisine a mixture of pork and beef would be used but chicken mince is also a great alternative and if my local supermarket had been selling chicken mince at the time then I would totally have used that to save even more calories. I have tried to use Quorn mince to make meatballs before and I’ve not been able to get it to stick together so there’s no vegan/vegetarian alternative for this recipe, sorry! This recipe makes 2 portions.
Do you have a diet restriction?
This spaghetti and meatballs recipe is:
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free
- Syn Free
- Low GI
Step 1: Shape the meatballs
First off we’re going to season our meat and shape our meat into meatballs. Add 250g of raw mince into a bowl with garlic, parsley, oregano, thyme and basil. You might be thinking, that’s an interesting selection of herbs for a meatball” And yes, it is! When i’m cooking I like to experiment with herbs. I think learning on the job is the best way to learn and thankfully when it comes to herbal experimentation, i’ve never regretted it yet. I urge you to do the same with your herbs, next time you’re inventing something new, just chuck in whatever herbs you have in the cupboard. My only tip is to leave the spices alone, there are several spices such as cumin and allspice that really should be left for the recipes they were intended for as their flavors are too overpowering for dishes like this. Anyway, little tangent aside! Once you’ve mixed all of your seasonings into the mince separate it out into 8 equal sections and roll into balls using the palms of your hands. Set aside whilst we prepare the rest of the meal.
Step 2: Fry the meatballs
Chop up ½ of a white onion and place into a frying pan to dry fry. You can use oil if you would like but if you are oil free like me then dry fry the onions adding a splash of water to stop them sticking if necessary. Once the onions have softened add in the meat balls and cook until browned all over, this should take 5-10 minutes. If you are using pasta with this recipe then weigh out 75g of dry spaghetti per person and cook in boiling water for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Prepare the marinara sauce
Once your meatballs are browned you can add in ingredients for the marinara sauce. I added 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp of basil ½ tsp garlic powder and around ⅛ tsp of salt. I should mention that although I used powdered and lazy (pre minced) garlic. Fresh is always better, i was just using up what i had in the cupboard! 1 clove garlic = 1 tsp of lazy garlic = ½ tsp powdered garlic.
Step 4: Serve your meatballs with pasta
Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs have cooked all the way through. Drain your pasta and arrange on the plate with the meatballs on top.
Can I use lean beef for the meatballs?
Yes, the recipe calls for 5% fat beef mince, which is a leaner option. You can also use turkey or chicken mince for a lighter alternative.
Can I make the meatballs in advance?
Absolutely! Prepare and shape the meatballs ahead of time, store them in the refrigerator, and cook when ready to serve. This can be a time-saving option for busy days.
Can I freeze the meatballs
Yes, the meatballs freeze well. After cooking, let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to a few months. Thaw before reheating.
Q4: What type of pasta is best for this dish
Spaghetti is the classic choice, but feel free to use your favourite pasta shape. Whole wheat or alternative grain pasta can also be used for added nutritional value. I also love green lentil pasta.
Q6: Can I add vegetables to the marinara sauce?
Certainly! Enhance the sauce with diced bell peppers, carrots, or mushrooms for added flavour and nutrition.
1. Turkey or Chicken Meatballs -Use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef for a lighter meatball option.
2. Whole Wheat Spaghetti – Opt for whole wheat or multi-grain spaghetti for added fibre and nutrients.
3. Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) – Replace traditional pasta with spiralized zucchini noodles for a low-carb alternative.
4. Spinach and Feta Meatballs – Add chopped spinach and crumbled feta to the meatball mixture for a Mediterranean twist.
5. Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce – Amp up the heat by adding red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the marinara sauce.
6. Veggie-Packed Marinara – Increase the vegetable content of the marinara sauce by adding diced carrots, celery, and bell peppers.
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