Indian Meatballs in a 5 Minute Marinara Sauce
I LOVE MEATBALLS! But I also love simple, quick and delicious meals. This meal is ready in just over half an hour so is a perfect no-hassle family meal. As you can see from the photo, my little one also loves spaghetti and meatballs – can you tell by her sauce-smeared mouth?
This meal is a really well rounded, wholesome meal for the family. It’s protein-rich, abundant in lycopene – a powerful antioxidant containing anti-cancer properties, and is carb-rich too so great for providing energy. This yummy family meal recipe is suitable for children from the age of two (or one if your little one is an accomplished chewer).
SuperFoods included – onion, garlic, tomatoes
SuperSpices included – black pepper, garam masala, coriander, oregano
Total cooking and preparation time: 35-40mins
Serves a family of four
Suitable for freezing
1 onion – peeled, roughly chopped
2 white slices of bread – broken into pieces
450g (1lb) chicken or lamb mince
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
5 Minute Marinara sauce:
50ml (2fl oz/ ¼ cup) olive oil
1 onion – peeled, finely sliced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano (or fresh If you have some)
2 x 400g cans of chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
Handful of fresh basil – washed, roughly torn (optional)
Place the onion and bread into a food processor and blitz well. These two ingredients will help bind the meatballs together so they don’t break when cooked.
Then place the onion and bread in a bowl along with the mince, salt, black pepper, garam masala and coriander. Combine everything really well for 2-3mins with your hands. Alternatively if you don’t want to add salt to your little ones meatballs, simply remove a portion of minced meat before the salt is added. Roll and cook separately.
With wet hands take some mince and roll into golf-sized balls. Apply a little pressure when rolling the meatballs to smooth out the cracks and to ensure they stick together. If freezing, do it at this stage.
Place on a plate, brush with a little olive oil, and add a little more olive oil to a frying pan to lightly fry the meatballs (medium heat) for 8-10 mins until golden and thoroughly cooked – when juices run clear.
Alternatively you can bake them in the oven for 10 -15 mins (400F/ 200C/ gas mark 6) until browned instead of frying. This is actually a really great method of cooking the meatballs – they stay super-moist and tender. Simply place the meatballs on a greaseproof-lined baking tray and pop them in the oven (middle shelf).
Heat the oil in a pot on high heat and add the onions stir-frying continuously for 2 mins. Then turn to low heat and add the garlic and oregano. Continue to stir-fry for a few seconds then add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens. Just before you turn off the heat add the fresh basil if using, and stir into the sauce.
Finally add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and simmer together for 2-3 mins. Then remove a serving for your little one and add salt and chillies to the main pot and stir. Serve with freshly cooked spaghetti and top with a cheese of your choice.