Hearty meatballs with sundried tomato sauce

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Serves 4-6


For the sauce:

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon sundried tomato oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 200ml water
  • 6 sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • Salt and pepper


For the meatballs:

  • 1kg beef mince
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 sprigs basil (leaves and stalks), chopped
  • 1 large handful parsley (leaves and stalks), chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil for frying
  • 100g cheddar, grated on the large grate


Prep time: 1o minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Hearty meatballs with sundried tomato sauce

Meatballs are a staple in our house. I first started making beef meatballs based on the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef book 20 years ago, and have been doing versions of them ever since. They can be a bit of a faff, so I’ve refined the recipe to make them as quick as possible whilst still packing a flavour punch. For me, it’s the sundried tomatoes in the sauce which makes all the difference.


Preheat the oven to 180/350/gas 4.

First make the sauce which takes 30 minutes to cook. Heat the tablespoon of sundried tomato oil in a saucepan over a low-medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, and then add the garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, water, vegetable bouillon and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, place a lid on and turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes or until it has thickened. Blitz to a smooth sauce with a hand blender, or leave to cool and blitz with a food processor.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well using your hands. Put a tablespoon of mince on to the palm of your hand and roll into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the meat.

Heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a high heat and brown the meatballs on all sides. You are looking for nice crisp sides so take care not to overcrowd the pan or else they will sweat instead. Once they are brown all over, place in a roasting tray and cover with the sauce. Sprinkle over the grated cheese and cook for 25 minutes or until the cheese is golden.

Serve with spaghetti and broccoli.



Meatballs are great to freeze. Simply freeze them in a container once you have added the tomato sauce to the meatballs, cover and label. When you are ready to eat them, all you need to do is grate over some cheese and pop them in the oven for 45 minutes or until piping hot.

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