Meatballs are a family favourite in our house. I especially love this recipe because it’s a one-tray recipe! It is quick and easy, especially if you have some pasta sauce in the freezer, and a great mid-week meal – but I have provided a recipe for the pasta sauce too if you would like to make it!
If you want to avoid sourdough/wheat/grains you can swap for 1/2 cup almond meal – the meatballs will be soft and moist which is great for BLW.
This meal can be adapted for BLW and also puree.
For BLW under 9ish months of age (before pincer grasp has developed) you can shape the meatballs into ‘log’ shape so it’s easier for your baby to pick up and manoeuvre. You can serve it with some of the sauce, and whilst the meatballs are cooking you can pop a whole potato or small sweet potato, or some pumpkin slices in the oven to roast, which you can serve alongside.
For BLW over 9ish months, you can offer the meatballs in log shape or chopped into bite sized pieces and serve with pasta (we chose red lentil pulse pasta for extra iron and protein).
For puree, add the meatballs, sauce, roasted vegetable of choice and a splash of water to the blender and blend until smooth.
Tray Baked Meatballs & Simple Sauce
- 2 slices sourdough bread stale or frozen
- 1 sprig rosemary or thyme leaves picked
- 500 grams mince beef, lamb, chicken, pork or turkey
- 1/4 cup grated frozen liver optional
- 1-2 TBSP collagen powder optional
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 TBSP dried oregano
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or ghee
- 100 grams fresh mozzarella ball or feta sliced into 1/2cm thick slices
- 100 grams parmesan cheese shaved
- 500 grams pasta of choice
SIMPLE SAUCE (see notes)
- 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil or ghee plus more for drizzling
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 800 grams diced tomatoes 2 tins
- 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 handful basil leaves
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- To make the meatballs, add the bread and rosemary or thyme into a food processor and blitz until it turns into breadcrumbs. Tip into a large bowl and add the mince, liver and collagen (if using), cumin, oregano, garlic and egg yolk. Season well with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon, then with wet hands, roll meatballs into approximately 1 tablespoon-sized balls.
- Place a heavy-bottomed casserole pot or oven-proof frying pan over medium heat with the olive oil or ghee. Add the meatballs, and cook for 5 minutes, tossing regularly, until browned all over. Transfer meatballs to a plate with any of the pan juices.
- To make the Simple Sauce: place the casserole pot or frying pan back over the cooktop and reduce to a low heat and add the olive oil or ghee. Add the garlic and oregano, stirring frequently until golden and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and Bone Broth or water. Increase heat to medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes, but if you’re in a rush, it can be ready in 10 minutes!
- While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced.
- Once the sauce has reduced to your liking, add the vinegar, basil leaves and season well with salt and pepper.
- Add the reserved meatballs and resting juices back into the pan with the sauce. Top with the reserved basil leaves, and press the slices of fresh mozzarella just into the sauce. Grate over the Parmesan cheese and drizzle the top with olive oil. Place into the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the cheese is golden and melted and the sauce is bubbling.
- Serve the meatballs on top of cooked pasta, sourdough or with some Mashed Cauliflower.
For an easy and quicker dinner, you can use a 500 gram jarred pasta sauce Level up: Add chilli either into meatballs, sauce or on top. Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free bread instead of sourdough. You can also swap for 1/2 cup almond meal. Dairy-free option: Omit the cheese or swap for cashew cheese. Egg-free option: Lamb mince works really well without egg due to the fat content. Or you can use mustard in place of the egg!