Sausage & fennel meatballs with lentils

Sausage & fennel meatballs with lentils

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 55 mins


Serves 4
Sausage and mash with a healthier twist - roll your bangers into patties and serve with parsley pulses

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal459
  • fat16g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs39g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre13g
  • protein35g
  • salt3.1g


  • 450g pack low-fat sausage
  • 1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

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

  • 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 onion, finely chopped



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

  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped



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

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
    Fennel bulb

    Fennel bulb

    Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate – its strong aniseed…

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100ml full-bodied red wine
  • 200g puy lentils
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 850ml hot chicken or beef stock
  • juice ½ lemon



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

  • handful parsley, chopped, to serve



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…


  1. Squeeze the meat from the sausages into a large bowl. Add the fennel seeds and mix well with your hands. Shape the meat into 16 walnut-sized balls.

  2. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the meatballs for 5 mins, turning regularly, until golden but not completely cooked through. Remove to a plate.

  3. Add the rest of the oil to the pan, tip in the onion, carrots and fennel, cover and let the veg sweat over a gentle heat for 10 mins until softened. Stir now and then.

  4. Uncover the vegetables, turn up the heat and let them start to colour here and there. Stir in the garlic, sizzle for 1 min, then splash in the wine and let it reduce by half. Stir in the lentils, tomato purée and stock. Cover and simmer for 25 mins or until the lentils are almost tender. Add the sausageballs, plus a splash of water if the pan is looking a little dry. Cover and simmer for a further 10 mins until the meat is cooked through. Squeeze over the lemon juice, season to taste and scatter with parsley to serve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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2nd Nov, 2018
Tasty and enjoyed by all the family. I reduced the lentils to 150g which was more than enough! It would work well with sausages rather than the meatballs if you don’t have as much time.
27th Jan, 2016
I was hunting for a recipe with some ingredients I had on hand and google turned this up. All I can say is that it was wonderful! I did add one cut up potato but otherwise was faithful to the recipe. The lemon juice and parsley really knocked it out of the park. A keeper for sure!!!
10th Aug, 2015
Whole family love this, from a 5 yr old to grandma and grandad and it is enjoyed all year round.
13th Mar, 2014
Absolutely love this recipe even without the sausages on a veggie day. The fennel works brilliantly :)
24th Oct, 2013
Absolutely gorgeous. I follow slimming world so left out the wine and used low fat sausages. Would use this when entertaining, really good recipe to keep.
15th Apr, 2013
This was really delicious! Even my husband who didn't think he likes fennel loved it! ;o) I made sure it was still really moist when serving and sprinkled peas over it to serve, which gave a nice additional freshness. I forgot to add the lemon juice and parsley, but even without these ingredients it was yummy!
10th Mar, 2013
This was AMAZING! The flavours were so fresh and new. I bought really good sausages (90% pork) and served it with pappardelle instead of lentils, but I'm sure lentils would have worked beautifully.
9th May, 2015
Good to know that the flavours complement other "filler" foods, too.
andrea0018's picture
30th Nov, 2014
?? Well that's not the recipe.
10th Jan, 2017


31st Jan, 2020
Hi I can't always get a fennel bulb. What can I substitute instead please?
lulu_grimes's picture
3rd Feb, 2020
Hello, You can make it without the fennel, or, you could stir some frozen peas or fresh or frozen spinach through the cooked lentils just before the end of the cooking time (make sure everything frozen is fully heated through). If you like red peppers you could use a pepper instead of the fennel bulb though this will change the flavour of the overall dish. I hope this helps.
20th May, 2014
Hiya, is this dish microwavable?
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