Meatballs with pesto mash

Meatballs with pesto mash

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(26 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4
A rustic Italian-style family dinner, with herby mashed potatoes

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Egg-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal438
  • fat14g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs51g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre0g
  • protein31g
  • salt0.96g
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  • 400g lean beef mince



    The classic cut of meat for a British Sunday roast, beef is full of flavour, as well as being a…

  • small bunch basil, most leaves roughly chopped, reserving few whole to serve



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp 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…

  • half a 700g bottle passata with onions and garlic
  • 1kg potato, peeled and cut into small chunks



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 150ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 2 tbsp fresh basil pesto



    Pesto is a generic Italian name for any sauce made by pounding ingredients together.



  1. Mix the mince with half the chopped basil, the Worcestershire sauce and some seasoning, then use your hands to shape into 16 meatballs. Heat a non-stick frying pan, add the oil, then fry the meatballs, turning, for 5 mins until browned. Tip in the passata and remaining chopped basil. Simmer gently for 10 mins until the meatballs are cooked through.

  2. Meanwhile, boil potatoes for 10-15 mins until tender. Drain well, then return to the saucepan over a low heat and mash – leaving the heat on will help to dry out the potatoes for a fluffier mash. Stir in the milk, then marble through the pesto. Pile the mash onto 4 plates, spoon over meatballs and serve scattered with the reserved basil.

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Comments (36)

thecherub's picture

This recipe was ok but I won't rush to make it again, although using pesto was a good idea which I might use in other recipes. The meatballs were really heavy so next time I would use all or part sausage meat and breadcrumbs too. After making the meatballs I put them in the freezer for 15 mins before cooking so they held their shape a bit more.

gemscook's picture

I love this recipe, but substituted the beef mince for sausage meat which makes for much tastier meatballs that don't fall apart! The kids prefer it as well.

bandcamper's picture

I oven baked the meatballs, and they held together no problem. A simple, tasty meal.

talie265's picture

Unfortunately as a recipe for meatballs I found it useless (the meatballs fell apart even after reading the previous comments an adding an egg). BUT I added mushrooms to the mince mixture and it made a tasty bolognese, which was great with spaghetti and cheese! Based on my experience I'd look elsewhere if you want a good meatball recipe, but would recommend using the recipe for bolognese instead.

kupoqueen's picture

I'm not extremely fond of the recipe itself, although it isn't bad. However, I had never thought of adding pesto to mash before but now I do it regularly. Pesto mash is the best part of this recipe :)

steevegh's picture

Very good recipes but the meatball was a little too dry i will put an egg next time

maggiebleksley's picture

I put the mince in the food processor along with the basil. The extra mincing helps to bind it together and none of my meatballs came apart. I added some sliced mushrooms to the sauce and a little grated Gran Padano cheese to the pesto mash and served it with French beans. It all worked very well.

fiargent's picture

I came to this recipe via the gluten free page ... beware as I believe worcestershire sauce contains gluten ...

xneevus's picture

forgot to rate it!

xneevus's picture

This is absolutely DELICIOUS. I made it the other night for me and my mum and we loved it, so much that we're having a dinner party tomorrow night and this is going to be the main course! :)

eleanormayo's picture

I could not find onion and garlic passata either, so after browning my meatballs I took them out of the pan and sweated off half a red onion and some garlic puree before putting the meatballs back in and continuing. However, like others, I also found the meatballs a bit dry even though I had added an egg. The pesto mash was a big hit though!

monkadelic's picture

Very nice indeed. Will definitely do again. Didn't have onion & garlic passata so sauteed half an onion and one clove of garlic before browning the meatballs. Other than that I simply quartered all the ingredients (was cooking just for me).

No problem with the meatballs being dry. Not sure if this was down to slightly more meat used (quarter of my 500g pack), so slightly bigger meatballs, or the juice from the onion & garlic.

mimerolle's picture

I used the recipe just for the mash and got great compliments. They went very well with the meatballs though I used a Jamie Oliver recipe for the meatballs after reading comments from others saying that the ones in this recipe were a bit too dry. I will definitely use the pesto mash recipe again. So easy and really different and tasty.

samanthaecclestone's picture

Really easy to do. Cheated a little as we had a pack of meatball in the frezzer so used them instead of making them.
A really lovely meal however I did add a little chilli to the meatball sauce as i found it a little boring. The mash was really yummy :-)

mrsskins1971's picture

I was not happy with this as I tried to do it as it said and my meat balls came apart a waste of my time :-(

smileykt's picture

Tried this tonight - my first ever attempt at meatballs. Substituted beef mince for pork (simply because I don't like beef!), and I think next time I'll add some more herbs/seasoning to make them a bit more flavoursome. Also made my own sauce with chopped tomatoes, garlic, parsley, paprika and oregano which worked well, and the mash was fantastic!

Grosvenortearoom's picture

I used chopped and deseeded tomatoes to make up a sauce flavoured with basil and garlic plus chopped onions and added the passata...go easy on the Worcestershire sauce, don't over power the rest of the flavours. serve with 'toasted cheesy rolls' or garlic bread. make sure the potato is well mashed, serve in a dish rather than a plate to allow lots of sauce to be served...I serve this in my Cafe and it always a favourite!

ruthmaguire123's picture

This was tasty, added extra onion and garlic and some fresh tomatoes... not convinced on the pesto mash but it did go well with the meat. Hubby and 8yr old loved it, 2yrs old did not.


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Tips (1)

maggiebleksley's picture

To prevent the meatballs from falling apart, grind up the mince a little more in a food processor or mincer. The finer it is, the better it sticks together.