Tender, cheesy, and packed with flavour – and a few sneaky veges – these meatballs are a popular weeknight meal in my house. And I reckon they'd be a hit at your house, too!
Finding the BEST meatballs recipe
Meatballs are loved around the world, with many cuisines having their own take on this most comforting of comfort foods.
Italian and Swedish Meatballs are the most popular ones that come to mind, and for me, my Mum's version of meatballs.
This is a recipe she clipped from The Daily Telegraph newspaper many years ago, and it's a recipe by prominent Australian recipe creator and food director Kim Coverdale.
It's a brilliant little recipe which I've changed just a little to:
- speed up the cooking time (I replaced fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes)
- pack in a bit more of the cheesy flavour (I added a tablespoon of parmesan to the meatball mixture)
- make them even more soft and filling (by adding a little extra of the fresh breadcrumbs).
The recipe was, of course, already lovely, featuring:
- a melted cheese centre
- a rich sauce packed with sneaky vegetables
- fresh basil, to really lift the flavour.
Ingredients for Meatballs
You'll need these ingredients to make meatballs:
- beef mince (the best quality you can afford)
- parmesan cheese
- fresh basil
- fresh breadcrumbs
- cheddar or tasty cheese
- olive oil
- canned chopped tomatoes
- tomato paste
- beef stock cubes
- salt and pepper.
Ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make these Cheesy Meatballs in Vege Sauce
You'll need a large frypan to make these meatballs.
Start by combining the beef mince, finely chopped onion, parmesan cheese, chopped basil, lightly beaten egg and fresh breadcrumbs.
Make fresh breadcrumbs by chopping day old bread in a processor or food chopper.
You can use a spoon to combine the mixture but I mix it with my hands to get it all combined in nicely.
Next, you form the mixture into meatballs – and you need to hide a cube of cheese into each meatball.
Take about a tablespoon and half of mixture and shape into a cup shape (see picture below).
Place a cube of cheese into the middle and shape mince mixture around the cheese to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture and cheese.
Next, we brown the meatballs.
Heat half of the oil in a frying pan and cook meatballs until browned. Remove and set aside.
Place the rest of the oil in frying pan and add the chopped celery, carrot and zucchini. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock cubes (crumbled) and water to the pan.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Return the meatballs to the pan (and any leftover cheese cubes) and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
Serving Meat Balls
You can serve these meatballs with a variety of things, including:
- Pasta: Spaghetti, fettuccine, penne... meatballs and pasta always go well together.
- Rice or Grains: Meatballs also go well with fluffy white rice, fragrant basmati rice, couscous and quinoa.
- Bread: Meatball subs, sandwiches and rolls are also a popular option for a quick and satisfying meal.
- Potato: Enjoy meatballs with mash or piled onto a baked spud.
You could also opt for a side salad or side of veges next to your meatballs.
Me? I'll have them with spaghetti, thanks.
And, yes, they're fine to serve as leftovers the next day and can be frozen for up to a few months.
What else can I do with mince?
- 500 grams beef mince
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 80 grams cheddar or tasty cheese, chopped into 1cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
- 400 grams canned chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 beef stock cubes
- 1 cup water
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- extra chopped basil (to garnish)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the beef mince, onion, parmesan cheese, basil, egg and breadcrumbs.
- Take about a tablespoon and half of mixture and shape into a cup shape (see picture above). Place a cube of cheese into the middle and shape mince mixture around the cheese to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture and cheese.
- Heat half of the oil in a frying pan and cook meatballs until browned. Remove and set aside.
- Place rest of oil in frying pan and add the celery, carrot and zucchini. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock cubes (crumbled) and water to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Return meatballs to the pan (and any leftover cheese cubes) and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve with rice or spaghetti.