Cooking with kids: Spaghetti & meatballs with hidden veg sauce

Cooking with kids: Spaghetti & meatballs with hidden veg sauce

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(20 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 6 (4 children, 2 adults)

Teach children how to make this pasta supper - it's a tasty family meal packed with nutrients

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal388
  • fat24.7g
  • saturates9.4g
  • carbs10.2g
  • sugars7.2g
  • fibre2.5g
  • protein31.3g
  • salt1.5g
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    For the meatballs

    • 300g good quality pork sausage (about 4 large or 8 chipolatas)
    • 500g lean beef mince
    • 1 small onion, coarsely grated



      Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

    • 1 carrot, finely grated



      The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

    • 1 tbsp dried oregano



      Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

    • 50g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve



      Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

    • 1 medium egg



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

    • 1 tbsp 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…

    For the tomato sauce

    • 1 tbsp 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…

    • 1 courgette, coarsely grated



      The courgette is a variety of cucurbit, which means it's from the same family as cucumber,…

    • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • pinch caster sugar
    • splash red wine vinegar
    • 2x 400g tins chopped tomato

    To serve

    • cooked spaghetti


    1. Children: Squeeze all the sausage meat out of the sausage skins into a large bowl and add the mince. Tip all the rest of the meatball ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl and season with black pepper then squish everything together through your hands until completely mixed. Keep an eye on younger children to make sure they don’t taste any of the raw mix.

    2. Children: Roll the meatball mix into walnut-sized balls and place them on a plate – this is a job children as young as 2 can help with and a great job to help teach older children basic division.

    3. Grown ups: While the children are rolling the meatballs make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the courgette and garlic and cook for 5 mins until soft and mushy. Stir in the tomato puree, sugar and vinegar leave for 1 min then tip in the tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins. If your children like courgettes then you can leave the sauce chunky. But if, like mine, they hate courgettes then blitz the sauce with a hand blender – either way continue to simmer sauce gently while you cook the meatballs. If your child is confident with heat, from 7+ they can cook the sauce with supervision.

    4. Grown ups: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and, working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides then pop them into the sauce – continue to simmer the sauce for 15 mins, stirring very gently until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with cooked spaghetti, extra grated Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves your child has picked and torn.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    29th May, 2013
    I have tried out this recipe a few times now with great results. I did find that sometimes the meatballs come apart at the browning stage but 6 cream crackers made into breadcrumbs and mixed in before balling sorted this out and they held so much better. Tried it out on my sisters kids who are very picky and they cleared their plates.
    22nd Mar, 2013
    this was great, me and my 4 year old made this tonight and she loved helping out! cleared her plate and asked for seconds..unheard of with this fussy eater! thank you :)
    16th Mar, 2013
    This is really tasty - added some red pepper flakes to the sauce too to add a bit of spice. Really really nice - loved by all including my 2 year old.
    3rd Feb, 2013
    My kids and I (7 and 4) made fresh pasta to go with this, it was incredibly tasty and will definitely make it again!
    22nd Nov, 2012
    This recipe delivers a clean plate every time! Adults and children alike love it. Rather than the minced pork, I just zuzz up some bacon, which works equally well.
    5th Nov, 2012
    full of flavour. very tasty. children loved it
    1st Nov, 2012
    An excellent recipe, I'd definately recommend this.....cooked by a brilliant 7 year old!
    28th Sep, 2012
    That is a very clever idea hidding vegetables in sauces! My mum once hid a marrow in her ratatouille and the tomato hid the flavour completely! I can't wait to try this out at home :)


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