Healthy Meatballs in lip smacking sauce

My niece pestered me to cook meatballs, ever since I took her on a grueling 4.5hr walk one Summer, after which she was treated to meatballs in a tapas in Howth. The thing is, after a 4.5hr walk, everything tastes better than good! How to compete?

Meat is an excellent protein and source of  easily absorbable iron and trace minerals BUT too much red meat is linked with bowel cancers and poor health.

I balance out mince meat by adding green lentils that when cooked with meat, look like meat  I add plenty of plant foods such as salads or vegetables to the mix to mitigate the risks associated with red meat.

I use the ‘typically 5% fat’ mince meat selling in supermarkets.

Calories: 303           4 meatballs & sauce

Servings: 3 – makes 12 meatballs

Fibre Protein Carbohydrate Fat
5g 34g 28g 7g



300g, Lean beef mince

400g,  tin Bijoux Verts lentils

1 medium red onion

Black Pepper

4 garlic cloves

lotsa fresh herbs or dried – coriander, parsley, sage, oregano, thyme

100ml passata

30g  tomato puree


350g passata

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 or 2 red chilli

5g ginger,

1 red pepper, chopped roughly

a shake of smoked paprika

A small bunch of thyme

15g grated parmesan

Black pepper


Heat the oven to 200 degrees

Rinse the tinned lentils in a sieve under a cold tap and leave to drain or they will be soggy

Put all of the meatball  ingredients into a bowl and bind together well until you get a smooth and sticky mixture

Using a cereal spoon, scoop out a portion and roll between both palms to form a  meat ball. Place the 12 meatballs on a baking tray that has holes on it (like a pizza tray) and place this tray over a  baking tray to collect the juices that come off the meatballs as they cook.

Bake for 15 minutes then turn each meatball. Add the juice that comes off the meatballs to the sauce (recipe below) Put the tray back in the oven for final 10 minutes or so. Total cooking time  25 minutes.

To make the sauce, place all the ingredients except the cheese into a saucepan and heat – use a hand blender to blitz into a smooth sauce. After you add the juices that come from the meatballs, bring the sauce back to a gentle boil. Finally stir in the parmesan and season.

Serve With: a large green salad, red onion and grated carrot and 50kcal of a salad dressing (see online recipes)  grate a little parmesan on top OR serve with pureed  spinach as seen in picture.