Lemon & fennel pork meatballs

Lemon & fennel pork meatballs

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(13 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 35 mins - 40 mins


Serves 4

Meatballs are always popular and these are served with toasted pine nuts and vibrant kale, making a vitamin C-rich dish that's 2 of your 5-a-day

Nutrition and extra info

  • uncooked meatballs only

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal401
  • fat23g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs16g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre3g
  • protein31g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 2 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 medium onion, finely chopped



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

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges



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

  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

    A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…

  • 250g kale



    A member of the cabbage family, kale comes in two forms: kale, which has smooth leaves, and…

  • 25g pine nuts, toasted
  • crusty bread or mashed potato, to serve (optional)


  1. In a medium pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 mins. Tip in the tomatoes with a splash of water, increase the heat and allow to bubble for 15 mins.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the lemon zest, mince, fennel seeds and a good pinch of seasoning. Mix well, then shape into walnut-sized balls.

  3. Heat the remaining oil in a lidded frying pan over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown for 5 mins, then pour the tomato sauce into the pan. Simmer for 10 mins, then add the kale, cover with a lid and cook for 5 mins more until wilted. Season to taste, and scatter over the pine nuts. Serve with the lemon wedges, for squeezing over, and crusty bread or mash, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Alexandra Taylor's picture
Alexandra Taylor
15th Jul, 2020
Honestly it’s a horrible combination and I would really advise against making this dish unless you really hate your family and want to punish them
25th Mar, 2020
Very tasty, didn’t need to add the splash of water though as it was quite wet. I did it in the oven for ten minutes just to finish it off. Lovely with mash.
5th Jun, 2018
Made a few times and really enjoyed it if you get the balance right. Emycakes maybe your husband should try make it for you sometime if he's the expert :'D
13th Oct, 2016
Sorry but my husband said this was the worst meal I have ever made for him. He didn't think the lemon and fennel went well with the tomato sauce. I thought they were okay but didn't like the texture of the kale in the sauce.
29th Jun, 2016
A great alternative to the normal meatballs in tomato sauce. Whole family loved and served it with rice
12th May, 2016
A lovely meal to eat on a summer evening - very fresh, great flavour, and not too heavy. The lemon and fennel work really well together, and the pine nuts are a great addition. The only differences I made, were to use 1 tin of tomatoes and 1 tin of passatta, and I also used spinach instead of kale as I was using up leftovers from the fridge. Very yummy, will be making this again!
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