Meatballs In A Chunky Vegetable Sauce

Meatballs in a Chunky Vegetable Sauce 3

My tomato sauce is thick, rich and very tasty. As my boys will tell you (with an eye roll), I like to add vegetables to almost everything and my pasta sauce does not escape. Sometimes I’ll add a couple of frozen blocks of spinach to this dish or a dash of chilli, if the mood takes me. I would love to add more mushrooms, although the boys aren’t too keen on them, which is why I have finely diced mine. But feel free to add more or cut them chunkier.

I use passata, along with crushed tomatoes, in my sauce, as this gives it a wonderful thickness and richness. I also add a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, as it really adds a lovely depth of flavour. For the bread crumbs I used my gluten free white bread, which I blitzed in my small food processor. Although, you can use any gluten and dairy free white loaf. Just note that when measuring out crumbs from my own bread, 100g will be 1¼ cups. However, when I’ve used a supermarket loaf, 100g will be 1½ cups. Also, the cup measurement is not firmly packed.

Meatballs in a Chunky Vegetable Sauce 1I usually have a lot of patience with cooking and baking. However, my patience is put to the test when I have to stand tirelessly and continually turn the meatballs, so they’re brown all over. So I’ve come up with an easier process, where I cook them until they’re nicely brown top and bottom first. Then I put them on a tray, lined with a few layers of kitchen paper, and place them in the oven at 140C for 10-12 minutes. That way, they are perfectly cooked through, without the hassle and time of all that standing!

Meatballs in a Chunky Vegetable Sauce 2

This meal freezes and defrosts well.

Makes approximately 45-46 meatballs

500g (17.6 ounces) beef or veal mince
500g (17.6 ounces) pork mince
100g (3.5 ounces or 1¼ cups) fresh breadcrumbs, not firmly packed
100g (3.5 ounces or ¾ cup) onion, finely chopped
60g (2.1 ounces or a scant ½ cup) green capsicum, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (5ml) minced garlic
2 tablespoons (30ml) parsley, finely chopped
60ml (¼ cup) dairy free milk of choice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
Oil for frying
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
150g (5.3 ounces or 1 heaped cup) onion, diced
2 tablespoons (30ml) finely chopped garlic
80g (2.8 ounces or a slightly heaped ½ cup) carrots, diced
80g (2.8 ounces or a slightly heaped ½ cup) zucchini, diced
60g (2.1 ounces or a scant ½ cup) finely diced celery
45g (1.6 ounces or a slightly heaped ½ cup) finely diced mushrooms (the weight is taken after I have cut the stem off)
125ml (½ cup) white wine
250ml (1 cup) gluten free chicken stock
700g jar of Passata
400g tin finely chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons (30ml) balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon (30ml) fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (5ml) sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Spaghetti (I like this brand)
Parmesan Cheese (I like this brand)

In a large bowl add the beef and pork mince, together with the breadcrumbs, onion, capsicum, garlic, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Before I start mixing all the ingredients together, I put on a pair of latex gloves, so it doesn’t stick to my hands.

Once it is thoroughly mixed, take 30g of the mixture (1.1 ounces or approx. 1½ tablespoons) and roll it into a ball.

Once all the meatballs are made, preheat the oven to 140C and line 2 trays with few layers of kitchen paper.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then fry the meatballs until brown on either side, adding more oil when necessary.

Once all the meatballs are cooked, pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes to finish off the cooking process.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy based pot over a medium-low heat, then add the onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, celery and mushrooms. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables have softened.

Pour in the wine and cook until bubbling, before adding the chicken stock, passata, crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, basil, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, before simmering covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened up nicely.

While the sauce is simmering, put your water on to boil and cook the pasta.

Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse

Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.

Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 325F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8

3 responses to “Meatballs In A Chunky Vegetable Sauce

  1. That all looks fantastic, Kylie! I’m wondering if passata is like tomato paste here or more like a tomato puree. I did look it up and I’m guessing the latter. Btw, I finely chop mushrooms even for myself. 😉


  2. Thanks Shirley 🙂 x Passata is a thicker version of tomato puree. I much prefer to use passata over tin tomatoes, as I find tin tomatoes are too watery, no matter how much you cook them down. Passata cooks down to a lovely thick and smooth consistency and gives any dish such an amazing flavour. In Australia, we can buy this from the supermarket, and they’re sold in 400g -700g glass bottles. I did a quick Google search, and passata doesn’t seem to be as popular over in the USA. Do you have an Italian grocer store near you?

  3. Pingback: Sweet & Sour Pork Balls with Vegetables | The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse·

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