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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31st Jan, 2011
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.
22nd Jun, 2010
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.
21st Jun, 2010
Came home to
7th Jun, 2010
This recipe was a great success, so much more tasty then i thought it would be.
15th Apr, 2010
mmmmmm scrumptious and easy to make!!
19th Nov, 2009
Really unusual, would never have thought to do this, but it really worked. A nice healthy alternative to mince. Will def make again for a week night tea
10th Aug, 2009
My two year old daughter tucked into this with gusto! A very nice meal with the added benefit of being super-easy to prepare. I refridgerated the tuna balls for an hour before cooking and they stayed together perfectly. I will definitely make this again soon.
30th Jun, 2009
Very tasty - took a little longer than the 20mins and a couple of the balls fell apart but nevertheless - excellent. Will deffo try again.
22nd Apr, 2009
A great simple to prepare tasty meal - my family loved it, and I will make again.
1st Apr, 2009
Very tasty but the balls are very hard to bind and fiddly to cook - making a delicous dinner but presentation wise wasn't great. All in all very filling and healthy. I used wholemeal pasta to make it that little more healthy to.


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