Turkey meatballs in tomato & fennel sauce

Turkey meatballs in tomato & fennel sauce

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(47 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 25 mins


Serves 4
This quick, tasty and economical supper is a healthy way of getting the family fed

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal216
  • fat8g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs12g
  • sugars6g
  • fibre2g
  • protein26g
  • salt0.46g
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  • 400g turkey mince
  • 25g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 carrot, diced



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

    A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…

  • 400g can chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g spaghetti, cooked, to serve


  1. Put the mince in a mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs and half the garlic. Season and mix well to combine. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 balls, then chill for 10 mins.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the onion, carrot and remaining garlic. Cook for 5-6 mins until softened. Add the fennel seeds and cook for a few secs. Tip in the tomatoes with half a can of water, then stir in the tomato purée. Season and simmer for 15 mins until thickened. Using an electric hand blender, whizz until roughly smooth.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the meatballs for 8-10 mins until cooked through. Transfer to the sauce and simmer until piping hot. Serve with spaghetti.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (53)

Mrs.Selwood's picture

I'd like to know which spaghetti this recipe is based on - how can the meal be 216 Calories in 1 serving when 100g of spaghetti is approx 356Kcal?
I use myfitness pal and when I have imported this recipe it come back with 500+ calories.

louisewinder's picture

I agree with some there was not enough seasoning looking at the original recipe so I tailored this by adding a beaten egg to the mince, tsp cumin, tsp parika, tsp ground fennel, tsp of cayenne sprinkle of cinnamon. I also added glug of wine to the sauce. We loved this and agreed we will be doing this again.

Mazi's picture

Handy midweek meal. I followed the recipe however made some additions as previous comments noted it was bland. Used an egg to bind the meat balls & seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh basil, fresh rosemary, paprika & parsley. Added 1 birds eye chilli to the sauce with extra garlic. Turned out very nice!

mikeydread's picture

Add grana padano to the meatballs with double garlic. Thigh mince is twice as nice. Add fresh thyme and dried oregano, with a splash of red wine. Don't over - engineer the meatballs or they'll go a bit tough. Thank me later!

saraheoliver's picture

Really tasty meal. However, after the first time I've given up on the actual meatballs (such a faff!) and simply use the ingredients (minus the breadcrumbs) to make it as an alternative bolognese.

michelle_30's picture

this was the 2nd time i made this, the 1st time, i didnt think much of it. But just made this again tonight & is was quite nice. The only thing is the meatballs dont hold together very well when frying so i just fryed them quickly and put them in the sauce to finish cooking through for another 20 minutes and they tasted just as nice. So next time will add more breadcrumbs and an egg to hold them better together and perhaps cook them in the oven. Easy dish which is cheap, worth trying

Northernclarej's picture

Thoroughly enjoyed this, but would add chilli to the sauce next time. I used Chia Seeds instead of breadcrumbs, so they looked a bit odd, but still nice. I did add more garlic than suggested.

viccichick's picture

A great midweek meal, cheap and easy to make and really tasty....it's only flaw was I could have done with more sauce! Would add some passata to the recipe next time I make it. And I did put a sprinkle of chilli powder in it for a bit of a kick!

morgsh's picture

Nice, although did not use fennel seeds. Great sauce for chicken too

nicolareid82's picture

meatballs and sauce quite bland, needs more seasoning and a bit of a kick. Will make these again as the kids loved helping and they tasted alright

heatherwillson's picture

This is a lovely quick and easy meal to make. The sauce is really tasty and I made it ahead of time to give the flavours time to come out. I'd definitely do this again.

claire3110's picture

Going to try this tonight. Very mixed comments on here so a bit unsure as to how it will go down! Will let you know....

eleanormayo's picture

I thought these were great, I added half a large red chilli to the sauce and a good slosh of some white wine that needed using up. Was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

kja1985's picture

Really tasty. After reading the comments to decided to season well and added chilli flakes to the turkey ball. Nom nom nom.

laughinggirl66's picture

Really enjoy these - surprisingly as not a great fan of turkey. chucked it all into the slow cooker on low for 7hrs and had with some linguini, salad and sometimes garlic bread - become a midweek regular in our house, and a great lower fat option for meatballs

mhomoky67's picture

personally i thought this was weird tasting and rather vile!

dance_abs's picture

Quite nice, but did not need that much pasta!

justineburton's picture

Not for me I'm afraid, bit sickly.

mrsjosephinesmith86's picture

I added garlic powder and onion granules to the meatballs and increased to 600g mince turkey. I also added a tsp of sugar to the sauce to balance the tomato sauce. Love the fennel seeds! Served ours with parmesan shavings.

menapian's picture

Turkey? Meatballs? Really? I don't know how .. but it works.


Questions (2)

budsey's picture

can you freeze this recipe

goodfoodteam's picture

Yes, you can freeze the meatballs in the sauce. Use within 6 weeks and thaw before reheating to make sure that the meatballs stay whole. Add a dash of water or stock if necessary to thin the sauce as it reheats.

Tips (3)

louisewinder's picture

Add, tsp ground fennel and cayenne with a beaton egg as a minimum to the

Anastasija133's picture

Don't put fennel seeds in, it makes the sauce very minty.

louisewinder's picture

I disagree it gives it a depth of flavour but I did grind them in my pestle and mortar