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Easy meatballs and tomato sauce with garlic bread dippers

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Meatball fans follow me, these juicy easy meatballs with five vegetable sauce and garlic bread dippers are a really quick meal idea

Our easy meatballs are a fab easy family recipe and the kids just LOVE them!

Perfect for weeknight cooking.

Or you can prepare in advance so they just need reheating at tea time making them great family dinner option for busy parents!

The easy meatballs are quick to make and cook in the oven so there’s no need to be stood over them as they sizzle. 

Which leaves you free to make the sauce. The whole meal can be ready in around 30 minutes.

easy meatball recipe served in a wooden bowl with hidden veg tomato sauce and garlic bread dippers on the side for mopping up the juices

Easy Meatball Ingredients

For the meatballs….

  • 500g beef mince
  • handful bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of salt
  • egg yolk

For the hidden veg tomato sauce…

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red or orange pepper
  • 800g passata
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
  • olive oil

To serve…

  • Shop bought garlic bread slices.

How Do You Make Meatballs From Scratch?

  • I use the simplest of ingredients. Just beef mince, a handful of breadcrumbs and an egg yolk to bind.
  • I season them simply with a teaspoon of dried oregano and pinch of salt – simple!
  • You don’t even need to dirty a bowl! Just mix all the meatball ingredients together in the meat packet. Then roll into balls using your hands and put straight into the roasting tin.
  • Once the meatballs are cooking away in the oven the sauce is super simple to make.
  • The sauce even packs in five different vegetables so it’s great for contributing to the kids 5-a-day.
  • To get the sauce cooked quickly you need to chop things finely. I blitz the vegetables quickly in a blender. So you’re aiming for this size. This helps them to not only cook quickly, but to blend into the tomato sauce.
finely chopped vegetables in a saucepan being made into hidden veg tomato sauce

This sauce contains onion, celery, orange pepper, carrots and passata so it’s packed with ‘hidden’ goodness.

You could toss the meatballs and sauce through some pasta if you wanted.

Although it is substantial enough to be eaten just as it is from the dish, scooped up with lovely buttery garlic bread mmmm real family food!

Get loads more easy dinner recipes here

Make Easy Meatballs Your Way

lamb meatballs with spaghetti and tomato sauce in an enamel roasting tin. Served alongside a beetroot salad

Use this recipe as a basic idea and take it in a different direction, they’re your meatballs – eat them your way!

  • go spicy – add a pinch of chilli flakes to the meatballs and throw a fresh red chilli into the food processor when blitzing the vegetables.
  • go smoky – add a pinch of smoked paprika to the meatballs and a good squirt of shop bought BBQ sauce to the tomato sauce.
  • serve with rice or chips instead of garlic bread dippers.

Use this recipe as a basic idea and take it in a different direction, they’re your meatballs – eat them your way!

Get more easy ground beef recipes here

Do You Have To Use Breadcrumbs In Meatballs?

Hey! They’re your meatballs you make them the way you like!

You don’t need to use breadcrumbs in meatballs you can just make them with seasoned meat in a similar way to burger patties.

What Can I Use Instead Of Breadcrumbs In Meatballs?

You can bulk up your meatballs with any of the following…

  • Crushed crackers or pretzels – but be mindful of the salt content when using store bought crackers and pretzels.
  • Use cereal – rice krispies or crushed shredded wheat works well.
  • Use crushed tortilla chips – again these add great texture and bulk, plus you can add a little burst of flavour by using flavoured chips. Again – watch the salt content.
  • Oats – use small rolled oats, I often soak these in milk first, just to soften them as they can stay a little on the crunchy side.
  • Ground or crushed nuts – these add a great nutty flavour as well as bulking up your meatballs. But they can pile on the fat content.

Love to eat Italian food? Try out more of our easy Italian recipes here

How Many Eggs Do You Need For Meatballs?

I tend to use 1 egg yolk per 500g ground mince, but if you find your mixture is too dry add in the egg white too or another egg yolk.

Get lots more delicious, healthy kid friendly recipes here

What Can I Use Instead Of Egg To Bind Meatballs?

Try using pesto, tomato puree or a splash of heavy cream to bind the meatballs.

Browse all our meat recipes here

Make your family’s mealtimes more interesting with one of our mouthwatering beef mince recipes

How To Cook Meatballs

Pan Fry – you can shallow fry meatballs in a frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Just cook them over a low heat, turning frequently until they’re cooked through.

Oven Bake – this is my favourite way as you don’t need to fiddle around with them as they cook. Just bang the tray in the oven at around 200C. Give it a shake around 15 minutes into cooking and just bake until they’re cooked through.

Get more really delicious easy minced beef recipes here

Yield: Serves 2 adults and 2 kids

Easy Meatballs

easy meatball recipe served in a wooden bowl with hidden veg tomato sauce and garlic bread dippers on the side for mopping up the juices

Super juicy and quick easy meatballs with hidden vegetable tomato sauce and garlic bread dippers - fab family dinner.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


For the Meatballs

  • 500g beef mince
  • handful of breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt

For the sauce

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 800g passata
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch salt 
  • pinch black cracked pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Open the meat pack/bag - tip in the breadcrumbs, 1 tsp dried oregano, egg yolk and a pinch of salt.
  3. Combine the meatball mixture with your hands and then roll into golf ball sized meatballs and place in a roasting tin.
  4. Cook in the oven for around 20 - 25 minutes until browning and cooked through.
  5. As soon as the meatballs are in the oven get cooking the sauce. Put the garlic, onion, celery, pepper and carrots in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium/high heat and briskly fry the chopped vegetables for around 5 minutes.
  7. Pour in the passata, Worcestershire sauce and the remaining tsp of dried oregano, season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bring the sauce to the boil and then keep on a medium heat with the lid on for around 15 minutes.
  9. To serve combine the cooked meatballs with the tomato sauce and spoon into bowls.


This is delicious served with garlic bread slices to mop up the sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 473Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 337mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 37g

Nutritional content will vary depending on the exact ingredients you use and how careful you are with measuring - this nutritional information is given as a general guide only and may not be accurate - you should always calculate your own nutritional information especially if you have specific dietary requirements.

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homemade easy meatballs in hidden veg tomato sauce served with garlic bread dips. Text overlay reads "delicious easy meatballs recipe"

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