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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17th Apr, 2017
This has quickly become a favourite. Be prepared to use slightly more egg (maybe another half) as one egg alone will not bind the mixture sufficiently.
4th Dec, 2016
These were good. I will make them again. I kept them in the fridge for some hours before frying and they held their shape very well. The lemony taste gives it that special something.
22nd Jul, 2015
We love this dish. First time I made it I didn't have any breadcrumbs so used porridge oats and didn't have any problems with breakage so always use them in any meatballs now. I also leave out the nuts for less calories.
21st Apr, 2015
This has become one of our family favorites!!! Will definatly recoment this one!!! Also freezes well so i always make a large batch!! Might even make them tonight :)
28th Jul, 2014
does this recipe NEED nuts?? :(
31st Jan, 2017
No. I never add nuts and we always enjoy them
3rd Jul, 2014
I made these and they are very easy to make. However we enjoyed them but my children hated them. So I won't be doing this again! I think it is the lemon which was too strong.
2nd May, 2014
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.
10th Sep, 2013
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.
26th Jun, 2013
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.


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