This healthy gluten-free meatballs in hidden veggie sauce recipe is a budget-savvy, tasty alternative to bolognaise, which freezes well for quick mid-week meals. The whole family devoured it in minutes!
The eggplant flesh disappears into the tomatoes to make a sweet sticky sauce. The soft meatballs break apart and drink up the sauce.
Healthy Gluten-Free Meatballs in Hidden Veggie SaucePrint Recipe
- Sauce Ingredients
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and roughly diced into 1-to 2- centimetre cubes
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 400-gram tin of peeled tomatoes
- Meatball Ingredients
- 1/2 bunch of fresh Italian parsley, finely diced
- 3 shallots or green onions, finely diced
- 450 grams of best quality beef mince
- 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- Olive oil
- Rice Ingredients
- 1 mug of basmati rice
- 40 grams of red lentils
- 8 cloves
- Dice the eggplant into 1- to 2-centimetre cubes, sprinkle with salt and leave for 15 minutes.
- Chop the parsley stalks and leaves finely (reserve some leaves for garnish if you fancy) and shallots, and put them into a bowl with the beef and milk. Scrunch and mix by hand, divide into 20 equal pieces and roll into balls.
- Scatter the fennel seeds over the meatballs with a bit of seasoning. Pop into the fridge to firm up until needed. You could make these a day ahead if you like.
- Take handfuls of the eggplant, squeeze out the excess salty liquid, then put into a saucepan on medium heat with a lug of oil to cook for 10 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add diced garlic, stir in the honey and balsamic, then tip in the tomatoes and a third of the same can of water. Simmer the sauce for around 10 minutes or until thickened. Use a potato masher to break up the eggplant through the sauce until it becomes smoother.
- Brown the meatballs in a frypan on medium heat with a lug of oil for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden and cooked through.
- Using a hot saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, add 1 mug of basmati rice, 2 mugs of boiling water, cloves and season. Once boiling, turn down to simmer, keeping the lid on. After 7 minutes of cooking time, add the lentils, put the lid back and cook for 3 minutes.
- Mix the meatballs together with the sauce and serve over rice.