Italian tuna balls

Italian tuna balls

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(64 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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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.
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


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