Buddy's easy meatballs

With grated courgette, mushroom, onion & garlic

Buddy's easy meatballs

Serves Serves 6 (makes 24 little meatballs)
Time Cooks In1 hour 15 minutes plus cooling & chilling
DifficultyNot too tricky
Nutrition per serving Plus
  • Calories 209 10%
  • Fat 9.5g 14%
  • Saturates 2.9g 15%
  • Sugars 7.1g 8%
  • Salt 0.4g 7%
  • Protein 19.3g 39%
  • Carbs 11.2g 4%
  • Fibre 2.1g -
Of an adult's reference intake
Recipe From


By Jamie Oliver
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  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 courgette
  • 6 chestnut mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 200 g higher-welfare lean minced beef
  • 200 g higher-welfare lean minced pork
  • 50 g wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 20 g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 x 600 g jar of passata
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Recipe From


By Jamie Oliver
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  1. Peel the onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Coarsely grate them on a box grater with the courgette and mushrooms, then tip everything into a large frying pan on a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Tip the cooked vegetables into a bowl and leave to cool. Add the minced beef and pork into the cooled vegetables along with the breadcrumbs. Finely grate in most of the Parmesan cheese and crack in the egg, then season with a little black pepper. With clean hands, squish and squash the mixture together until it’s all nicely combined. Now wash your hands!
  3. With wet hands, take tablespoons of the mixture and shape into 24 little balls. Pop them onto a tray and leave in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes or so. Wash your hands again.
  4. Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the balls into the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and gnarly all over, turning regularly.
  5. Peel and finely chop the remaining garlic cloves. Create a little space in the pan in between the meatballs, add the garlic for 2 minutes, then pour in the passata. Give the pan a gentle shake so the balls are evenly coated in the sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thick and delicious, stirring occasionally.


Serve with freshly cooked pasta, a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves and an extra grating of Parmesan, or stuff into a submarine roll, with a side salad.

Replace the meat with lentils to make easy veggie balls. Simply drain 2 x 400g tins of lentils well, pat dry, and add to the mix, chucking in a few extra breadcrumbs if it feels wet.

I’ve used a mixture of minced meat here, but feel free to choose just one. Turkey, chicken or lamb are super-tasty used here, too.

If you don’t have wholemeal breadcrumbs, swap in whatever you have at home. If you’ve ever got stale bread hanging around, whiz until fine and freeze until needed.

Swap onion for leek, or feel free to use a mixture of your favourite veg. Carrot, celery, cauliflower and spinach are all delicious – just cook until softened and leave to cool before adding.

If you don’t have a jar of passata, simply blitz tinned chopped tomatoes until smooth, or leave chunky if you prefer.

Swap half the mince for lentils, quorn or extra vegetables.

Switch up the cheese, if you like – bombs of mozzarella, a crumbling of feta or a fine grating of Cheddar or Red Leicester work a treat.

Throw a handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn into the sauce for an extra veggie boost.

Jamie wholeheartedly believes that cooking is up there as one of the most valuable skills you can teach a child. Getting kids excited about food, where it comes from and how to cook it, gives them a better chance of being healthier and happier in the long run. When cooking with kids, use your common sense to determine what jobs they can help you with, depending on their age and skill level. It’s always good to start small, with jobs such as mixing and measuring, then progress to elements of a recipe, then go on to slightly trickier techniques over time. The more they cook, the better they’ll get. Make sure you supervise them when using heat or sharp utensils like knives and box graters, and teach them about the importance of washing their hands before they start, and after handling raw meat and fish, as well as other basic hygiene rules. Most of all, have fun with it, and encourage them to give things a go.

Recipe From


By Jamie Oliver