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.
- 500g beef mince
- 1 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed (kidney beans are great too)
- 250g 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.
Peel, dice and steam the pumpkin (speed 1, ST, 10 mins).
Place the pumpkin, butter beans, beef mince, herbs, salt and pepper in your food processor and process until well combined and smooth. (Speed 4, 10secs, scrape down and then speed 5 for 15 seconds).
Add in the bread crumbs* and mix again until well combined (speed 4, 8 secs)
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.
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.
Makes about 24 balls.