Italian tuna balls

Italian tuna balls

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(52 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Ready in 20 mins

Easy

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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Ingredients

  • 2 160g cans of tuna in sunflower or olive oil, drained (reserve a little oil)
    Tuna

    Tuna

    tune-ah

    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
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

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

  • small handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
    Parsley

    Parsley

    par-slee

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

  • 50g fresh breadcrumb
  • 1 egg, beaten
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

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

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 500g jar pasta sauce

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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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vickpole
4th Oct, 2011
4.05
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
26th Jul, 2011
4.05
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
13th Jul, 2011
3.05
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
6th Jul, 2011
4.05
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
6th Jun, 2011
5.05
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
21st May, 2011
5.05
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
9th Feb, 2011
5.05
A family favourite, and a regular part of our weekly menu!
fizzh89
31st Jan, 2011
5.05
I love this recipe, I've done it a few times, and would offer the following advice to those who have had problems with collapsing meatballs........ leave them to get nice and brown before you attempt to turn them. I also prefer to squash each ball down into a little burger shape, making it much easier to cook evenly and turn. In my experience, this is a pretty reliable way of avoiding the frustrating collapse. I serve it with a home made tomato sauce, and it always goes down well, though I would agree that it may not serve 4 adults for a main meal.
stormyraincloud
22nd Jun, 2010
3.05
Very tasty. I didn't have pine nuts so didn't have them. I also didn't fry them, too time consuming for me. I just put them on an oiled baking tray and oven cooked them. Thought it might dry them out but they were lovely. Made a spicy tomato sauce, with basil, chilli flakes, tinned tomatoes, passata, and a spoonful of sugar. With wholewheat pasta. Very nice.
emmajmcc
21st Jun, 2010
4.05
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