Quick, delicious and very child friendly these Easy Homemade Meatballs with Tomato Sauce are perfect served with spaghetti for an easy peasy midweek meal.
Spaghetti and meatballs – my kids’ favourite!
Mmm meatballs in a rich tomato sauce served tumbled over spaghetti and sprinkled with cheese – pure comfort food, but also a great crowd-pleaser… especially with the little people!
I am pretty lucky – my kids are generally not too fussy and will generally put up with me endlessly testing ‘my latest recipe’ on them (but believe me, they don’t hold back on the critique!).
But ask them what they’d really like to eat for dinner and the list is pretty short and rather predictable… pizza, fish fingers and chips, noodles (mostly my daughter), baked beans (my son, who would happily eat his own bodyweight in them if I let him)… and spaghetti and meatballs!!
My kids can’t get enough of spaghetti and meatballs… but here’s the thing. I am not massively keen on buying ready-made meatballs from the shop. I like to know exactly what goes in my food – I prefer to cook from scratch… and well, I kind of have this thing about long lists of ingredients (especially ones I can’t pronounce!)
Making homemade meatballs is easier than you think!
Now I know what you are thinking… spaghetti and meatballs is one of those ‘throw it together in 30 mins, easy peasy, no need to think too hard’ kind of dinners – why mess with that?
But honestly making your own meatballs is not that much extra work (10 mins extra tops), it’s actually kind of fun – and you can even rope your kids into making them with/for you (depending on age)… thereby occupying them with something positive and feeding them more healthily to boot. WIN WIN in my book!
All you need to do is tip some fresh beef and/or pork mince, a couple of cloves of garlic, a little onion and a teaspoon or two of herbs into a bowl, mix together with your fingers and shape into balls. And then you are at the stage you would be if you’d bought the meatballs.
While the meatballs are baking in the oven (far easier than frying, less mess – and healthier), you can get on with making the simple tomato sauce and cooking the spaghetti.
Once the meatballs are cooked, it’s just a case of popping them in the sauce for a few minutes and then serving it all on top of the spaghetti and sprinkling with cheese.
100% cooked from scratch in just 35 minutes – and much tastier and healthier than the shop bought version.
Can you reheat Meatballs with Tomato Sauce?
Absolutely! If you have any meatballs and sauce leftover, simply put in a plastic lidded container and place in the fridge. The meatballs and sauce will keep for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply place in a saucepan and gently simmer until piping hot all the way through (you may need to add a little more water if the sauce starts to get dry).
Make extra meatballs for the freezer!
Since making twice as many meatballs is hardly any extra effort, I highly recommend making a double quantity of these delicious meatballs. Use half today and freeze the other half ready to use on a super busy day when you need good food fast!
You can either freeze the meatballs after they’ve cooked in the oven (but before you’ve put them in the sauce) OR you can make a double quantity of the sauce too and freeze the meatballs in the sauce.
To reheat version 1 (just the meatballs), simply make the sauce as per the instructions below. Then plop the defrosted meatballs in the sauce and cook until the meatballs are piping hot all the way through.
To reheat version 2 (meatballs in sauce), first defrost, then put the meatballs and sauce in a saucepan and reheat until piping hot all the way through (you may need to add a little more water if the sauce starts to get dry).
Make these meatballs your own – adaptations to try
I like to make these meatballs with a mix of beef and pork as I think it gives the nicest flavour, but you can make these meatballs with just beef or just pork if you prefer. If you want to try something different, you could also make these with lamb, or even turkey mince instead.
I’ve gone for classic Italian flavours of garlic, oregano and parmesan in my meatballs – but if you prefer you could switch the herbs – try a mix of thyme and rosemary, add a little chilli for heat and/or smoked paprika for smokiness… or turn these a bit Middle Eastern by adding a teaspoon of cumin and some chopped fresh mint (and lose the parmesan!).
What to serve with meatballs?
My favourite way to serve these Easy Homemade Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (and my kids’ favourite way too!) is on top of a pile of spaghetti and sprinkled with parmesan.
But you could serve them with any type of pasta you like – for example linguine, penne, fusilli… You can serve the meatballs mixed into the pasta rather than on top, and you could swap the parmesan for mozzarella or good ol’ cheddar.
But there are also lots of different things you can serve with these delicious little meatballs to mix it up a little. They go brilliantly with rice, couscous, bulgur wheat – even mashed potato…
Or, if you want to jazz things up, why not try one of these accompaniments?
What to drink with spaghetti and meatballs?
With this kind of meal, I feel drawn to Italian wine… and it’s definitely more of a red wine meal than white IMHO! I would go for a simple Chianti or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
If you like my Easy Homemade Meatballs with Tomato Sauce…
…you might also like:
- Turkey Tikka Masala Meatballs with Bombay New Potatoes
- Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- Spicy Persian-Style Lamb Meatballs
- Easy Homemade Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat)
Easy Homemade Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Easy Homemade Meatballs
- 250 g beef mince
- 250 g pork mince
- ½ onion grated
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 25 g parmesan cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Easy Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion diced
- 1 clove garlic crushed or grated
- 250 ml passata (or chopped tinned tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil ripped or chopped roughly
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spaghetti (or your favourite pasta shape)
- Parmesan cheese grated (or mozzarella, or cheddar)
- Basil leaves
- Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F.
- Place all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly with your hands (you can do this with a wooden spoon, if you prefer, but it’s much better done with your hands!)
- Roll mixture into balls of roughly 25g (1 oz). This should make approximately 44 balls. (Tip – there’s no need to weigh every single meatball! Simply weigh out the first one, then try to make all the other balls roughly the same size by eye.)
- Place the balls on a baking tray lined with lightly greased foil and cook in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. There’s no need to turn them.
- While the meatballs are baking in the oven, make the tomato sauce. Place the oil and diced onion in a wide saucepan or a deep frying pan (a sauté pan is ideal) and cook over a low heat with the lid on for 3 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and fry gently for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the passata, basil, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down again and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the oven-baked meatballs to the sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Serve over spaghetti and with a sprinkling of parmesan and a scatter of basil leaves.
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