Home made meatballs are so versatile and freezable, and once made ahead they are perfect for a quick midweek dinner with some pasta sauce and pasta, and the best thing is that if you make them yourself, you know exactly what goes into them. If you need gluten free or dairy free meatballs, beware of buying them in a supermarket because some manufacturers add milk, flour, and gluten containing breadcrumbs.
Here’s the recipe that we use, and this quantity makes approximately 40 meatballs. We portion them up for the freezer by wrapping 8 in cling film and then placing them in a zip seal bag. We get 4 dinners out of approx 1 kg of meat, so that’s 125g of meat per person per meal which equates to 4 golf ball sized meatballs per person. If that’s too much or not enough for you, feel free to divide it up into larger portions or smaller portions to suit your family. If you want to be super swish you can weigh the finished mixture (makes sure you note the weight of the empty bowl first), then you can weigh each meatball to make sure they are even.
1kg of minced meat (we vary ours but tend to mix two meats e.g. 500g of 5 star beef and 500g 3 star pork – this ensures that there is enough fat in them, but feel free to make them ‘leaner’ if you need, or use other minces such as turkey, chicken, veal, lamb etc.)
1 large onion, grated or whizzed up in a food processor (if you fry up the mashed onion first, this will release some of the water and make for a more manageable mixture, but you don’t have to).
2 slices of bread whizzed up into breadcrumbs (we prefer wholemeal, you can also use gluten free bread)
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons of your favourite mustard – Dijon is a good choice
2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder
Some herbs – dried mixed, minced in a tube, or fresh chopped such as parsley, basil etc.
Salt and pepper – approx half a teaspoon of each
Optional extras – if you want a spicier meatball you can add chilli, paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric. If you can eat dairy, you can also add grated parmesan to the mixture. You can also add a dash of nutmeg or some tomato paste if you like a tomatoey flavour.
Mix everything together in a large bowl until all of the ingredients are nicely combined then shape into golf ball size balls.
When you are ready to cook them, brown them in a little oil first in a frying pan, then add the sauce of your choice. Start your pasta cooking in a separate pot, and by the time the pasta is cooked (approx 12 minutes), the meatballs should be cooked through. Cut one in half to make sure. Obviously larger meatballs will take longer. Garnish with parmesan and black pepper (you can also buy good vegan parmesan if you prefer dairy-free).