A saucepan with meatballs and sauce by a serving bowl with spaghetti

Toddler recipe: Batch-cook mini pork & veg balls

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Prep: 15 mins Cook: 45 mins

Easy

Makes 6-8 toddler portions or 2 adults' + 1-2 kids' portions

Try these toddler-friendly meatballs with tasty tomato sauce for your little one. Batch-cook and freeze them for easy, healthy dinners when you're busy

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy

Nutrition: Per toddler serving, without pasta and cheese

  • kcal145
  • fat5g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs8g
  • sugars6g
  • fibre2g
  • protein16g
  • salt0.28g
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Ingredients

    For the meatballs

    • 2 tsp rapeseed oil
      Rapeseed oil

      Rapeseed oil

      If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

    • 1 small onion, chopped
      Onion

      Onion

      un-yun

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

    • 1 slice wholemeal bread, torn into chunks
    • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
      Carrot

      Carrot

      ka-rot

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

    • 1 celery stick, cut into chunks
      Celery

      Celery

      sell-er-ee

      A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

    • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
    • 500g lean pork mince
    • 1 egg
      Eggs

      Egg

      egg

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

    For the sauce

    • 1 tsp rapeseed oil
      Rapeseed oil

      Rapeseed oil

      If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 x 390g cartons passata
    • 1 tsp dried thyme

      Thyme

      This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

    • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
      Sugar

      Sugar

      shuh-ga

      Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

    • fresh basil or parsley, chopped (optional)
      Basil

      Basil

      ba-zil

      Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

    • cooked spaghetti and grated cheese, to serve

    Method

    1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat 2 tsp rapeseed oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 mins until softened. Blitz the bread in a food processor until you have breadcrumbs. Add the cooked onion, carrot, celery and peppers and pulse until finely chopped. You may need to use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the pork, egg and a little black pepper, then pulse to combine.

    2. Divide the mixture in half. Shape half into small meatballs about the size of large marbles and arrange on a baking tray lined with foil. Shape the rest into golf-ball-sized meatballs. Arrange on a lined tray and open freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and save for another meal. Now bake the mini meatballs for 25 mins or until browned and cooked through.

    3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Using the same pan that you cooked the onion in, heat the 1 tsp oil, add the garlic and cook for 2 mins. Pour in the passata, add the thyme and sugar. Simmer for 5-10 mins. Gently stir the meatballs and any juices into the sauce and heat through for a few mins. Stir the meatballs through the spaghetti and serve with grated cheese.

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