Italian tuna balls

Italian tuna balls

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(48 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 15 mins Ready in 20 mins

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Serves 4

A superhealthy twist on a family favourite that can be served with spaghetti or squashed flat and cooked as burgers

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
  • Easily doubled / halved
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
594
protein
35g
carbs
92g
fat
12g
saturates
2g
fibre
4g
sugar
8g
salt
1.42g

Ingredients

  • 2 160g cans of tuna in sunflower or olive oil, drained (reserve a little oil)
  • small handful of pine nuts
  • freshly grated zest 1 lemon
  • small handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 500g jar pasta sauce

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Method

  1. Flake the tuna into a bowl, then tip in the pine nuts, lemon zest, parsley, breadcrumbs and egg. Season and mix together with your hands until completely combined. Roll the mix into 12 walnut-size balls. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil, then cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions.
  2. Heat a little of the tuna oil in a large non-stick frying pan, then fry the tuna balls for 5 mins, turning every minute or so until completely golden. Drain on kitchen paper. Heat the tomato sauce, then toss together with the pasta and tuna balls.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, July 2007

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Comments

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vicksfizzy's picture
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Wasn't sure about this to start with but the more we ate, the more we liked it! You can always make it healthier by making your own tomato and veg sauce.

sminki's picture

Love this recipe, really tasty and a big hit with my 3 yr old. The lemon makes it. Have used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts in the past which work quite well too. Also chill in the fridge before cooking and find they are less likely to fall apart.

suzanne3d's picture

Really tasty and very simple to make. Chilled in the fridge before cooking and no problems with them breaking up. Two cans was enough for 2 adults and 2 kids. Will definitely cook again, the lemony taste was lovely.

kasiakoczwara's picture
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One hour in the fridge after shaping them and no problems. And very gently turning over while frying.

fizzh89's picture
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I've made this a number of times. My 4 year old loves them.

If you had problems with them collapsing, don't turn them until they are golden brown.
Couldn't get fresh parsley last time so blitzed up 3 spring onions with the breadcrumbs, delicious!

missyalexhill's picture
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I added some finely chopped onion for texture the second time round. Both times I made them in advance and refrigerated them for an hour. No major problems with them falling apart.
I also used shop bought breadcrumbs.
Lovely taste - a real change from beef meatballs.

denisejura's picture
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the whole family loved it. My husband doesn't usually like hot tuna but this went down a treat!

jenniferatkinson's picture

Awful. Dry, bitter tasting and didn't go down well at all.

undogrel's picture

just made this, turned out great. By "this" I mean the tuna balls - I simply enjoyed them with a slice of bread and a glass of beer. I added an extra egg, and they didn't fall apart at all. Also, I used pistachios instead of pine nuts. Fantastic recipe, will make again.

markusvip40's picture
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Just made this for my family both kids and wife loved it thank you great meal this :D

jburton's picture

Instead of frying these i think i would be inclined to cook them in the oven say for 30mins 180* (160fan) turning once. Not only is this healthier but also they dont fall apart as they are not being moved about much.

locket31's picture
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Really tastey and nice and easy to make, this is the first time I have made the recipe and I also found it didnt bind properly, though the taste made up for this!

tamsinthefoodie's picture
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These were great but they fell apart easily when cooked. If you don't like lemony flavours you won't like these though as I found out from one of my children, the others lapped them up though.

vickpole's picture
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Mega quick to prepare and tasty. I squeezed out the excess liquid added toasted pine nuts and garlic and and baked them rather than fried them and they came out really well. I cheated and used a jar of tomato sauce with garlic and served with spaghetti. As a quick mid-week meal it's great, it can be prepared earlier in the day and baked when needed.

melaniesunflower's picture
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made this tonight. I made slightly in advance and chilled in the fringe then baked in the oven for approx 15 mins. I made a tomato sauce with a tin of tomatoes, garlic, chilli and mushrooms. Like some others have said it doesn't seem to stretch to 4 adult servings, it fed three of us. Everyone was impressed and i will be making this again.

mounses2's picture
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These were nice, but next time I will use less egg to make them a bit more firm. I made them with brown rice and I agree with other comments that they would not really feed four. I'm not sure what I was expecting, I will make them again as a handy mid week dinner without having to get extra items from the shop, they weren't amazing though.

forager's picture
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I also used tuna in brine but tipped into a colander to wash off the brine. I toasted the pine nuts to release that intense nutty flavour, and used passata instead of 'pasta sauce', tipped into some fried onion and garlic. Great advice for keeping the tuna balls in shape are 1) to put them in the fridge for 20 mins and 2) not to touch them for a good 3-4 mins to develop a crust before turning them. They came out brown, crispy and delicious!

louisa22's picture
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Really enjoyed this. Didn't have parsley, but still lovely lemony flavour. I was making for 2 and still used 50g of breadcrumbs and added onion and would say this was right amount. I made my own tomato sauce with onion and pepper.

nickynoo73's picture
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Love it, love it, love it! These are so easy to make and taste so good! I made them the third time round with tuna which had been in Brine (as it's cheaper) and added a very small amount of sunflower oil. The meatballs stayed together better this time round. I agree that 2 tins won't serve 4 people, 2 tins only just made 8 decent walnut-sized balls for me and hubby.

slaidler07's picture
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A family favourite, and a regular part of our weekly menu!

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