Italian tuna balls

Italian tuna balls

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(53 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Ready in 20 mins


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

  • Freezable
  • Easily doubled / halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal594
  • fat12g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs92g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre4g
  • protein35g
  • salt1.42g
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  • 2 160g cans of tuna in sunflower or olive oil, drained (reserve a little oil)



    A member of the mackerel family, tuna are mainly found in the world's warmer oceans. They…

  • small handful of pine nuts
  • freshly grated zest 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • small handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • 50g fresh breadcrumb
  • 1 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 500g jar pasta sauce


  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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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kasiakoczwara's picture
20th Apr, 2013
One hour in the fridge after shaping them and no problems. And very gently turning over while frying.
16th Apr, 2013
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!
9th Apr, 2013
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.
23rd Sep, 2012
the whole family loved it. My husband doesn't usually like hot tuna but this went down a treat!
16th Aug, 2012
Awful. Dry, bitter tasting and didn't go down well at all.
15th Aug, 2012
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.
28th Jul, 2012
Just made this for my family both kids and wife loved it thank you great meal this :D
jburton's picture
25th Jul, 2012
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.
23rd Apr, 2012
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!
15th Jan, 2012
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.


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