This dinner was so well received by all of my kids that I was actually a little bit shocked!
The 2 big boys had seconds and asked for thirds, the 2 little ones totally cleaned their plates (including actual licking!). Ellie even asked if she could have them for her birthday dinner 😮 Now they are a very firm family favourite.
They are pretty simple to make, they make a lot and it’s easy to have a meat meal but use only a little meat whilst boost it with a good serve of veg to help meet our daily targets and to really increase the fibre content – Good for your health and good for your budget too! I think they key is to make the mixture fairly smooth.
- 1kg beef mince
- 1 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed (kidney beans and black beans are great too)
- 300g pumpkin
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1/2 tsp pink salt
- A few grinds of pepper
- 1/2 cup GF bread crumbs**
- 1 tbsp garlic olive oil
- 600ml tomato pasata
- 1/2 cup hot veggie stock
- Good pinch pink salt flakes
- Fresh basil
- Pasta of choice to serve
**for a deeper savoury flavour and to further boost the nutritional value of this meal, instead of bread crumbs, I often use 1/3 cup of Nutritional Yeast, 1/3 cup of hemp seed.
Roughly cut the pumpkin and place into your processor, then process until very fine. (Speed 5, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat).
Now add in the beans, herbs, salt and pepper in your food processor and process until well combined. (Speed 4, 10secs)
Add in the bread crumbs** and mix again until well combined (speed 4, 8 secs)
Whilst processing (Speed 4), add in the beef mince through the top chute, then continue mixing until well combined and fairly smooth. Blitz for a little longer or at a higher speed if you want less visible ‘bits’.
Place mix into the fridge for at least an hour, but up to overnight.
Using a heaped teaspoon of the mixture, roll the meat balls (or make bigger patties)
Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry meatballs on each side until golden.
Add in the pasata, stock, pinch of salt and basil and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes before turning balls and simmer for a further 5-6 minutes or entirely cooked through.
Serve on your favourite pasta and top with a little cheese that suits your diet.
*Recently when we’ve been making these I’ve been baking them to avoid the crazy splatter on my stove. Brown them with the oil in the frying pan then pop them in a big baking dish, pour over the pasata and stock, top with basil and then cover with alfoil. Place in to a preheated 200C for 25 minutes.
If you want cheese on top, remove alfoil and sprinkle with grated cheese then return baking dish to oven for the last 10 minutes
Makes 19 patties or about 30 small meatballs
If macros are important to you here are some details:
*The above macros are based on making 19 patties, that are served with the pasata and 120g of cheese spread over the whole dish – so each serve is 1 meat ball with some sauce and a little cheese. These are also the macros when using the nutritional yeast and the hemp seeds in place of the breadcrumbs.