Hidden Veg Meatballs

Juicy meatballs with hidden veg, served in a tomato and pepper sauce with gooey melted cheese.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Any Time Of the year
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 24 -25 meatballs
Author Nicky Corbishley



  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g lean pork mince/ground pork
  • 500 g lean minced beef/ground beef
  • 1 small grated courgette/zucchini
  • 4 mushrooms finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp of salt and pepper


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 red pepper finely chopped
  • 800 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaped tbsp of tomato puree check for gluten free if required
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 140 g 5oz mozzarella, roughly torn (I used reduced fat)
  • 75 g 2.5oz cheddar, grated/shredded (I used reduced fat)


  • 75 g dry weight - of spaghetti per person (use gluten free if required)
  • Grated parmesan and a bit of parsley or basil to serve


  • Preheat the over to 200C/400F.
  • Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Squash it all together but don’t overmix as this will make the meatballs tough. Shape the meatballs into little balls – the size of a golf ball – and place them on a baking tray. Put in the oven for about 20-25 mins. Keep an eye on them toward the end of the cooking time and turn the oven down a little if they start going too dark. They will seep a little in the oven due to the moisture in the courgette (but they’ll still taste great).
  • Whilst the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. Fry the onions in the olive oil on a low heat for about 5 mins. Add the garlic, and red pepper and cook for another couple of mins.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, sugar and salt and pepper to the sauce and let it bubble until the meatballs are ready, then take the cooked meatballs out of the oven and add them to the tomato sauce (leave the oven on). Sprinkle the mozzarella and cheddar on top and place back in the oven for 15-20 mins until the cheese is melted and golden (you can put your spaghetti on to cook at this point)
  • Drain the spaghetti and serve with the pan of meatballs (I usually serve 4 meatballs per adult and 2-3 for children) and garnish with some grated parmesan and parsley or basil.


Any leftover meatballs and sauce should be cooled and then frozen (you can freeze the meatballs and sauce together). To reheat, simply defrost thoroughly and heat through in a pan for about 15 minutes until the meatballs are hot all the way through.
Nutritional info is estimated per serving

Nutritional Information

Serving: 422g | Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.4g | Protein: 42.7g | Fat: 19.6g | Saturated Fat: 7.9g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 603mg | Potassium: 1024mg | Fiber: 3.5g | Sugar: 9.5g | Vitamin A: 2150IU | Vitamin C: 70.1mg | Calcium: 380mg | Iron: 3.6mg
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