Mini beef meatballs with an easy tomato sauce
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Try adding some steamed and puréed broccoli, carrots or other veg to the sauce to introduce them to new flavours
- 2 slices of bread
- 125ml whole milk
- 250g Sainsbury’s beef steak mince
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Small handful fresh chives, snipped
- 1 free-range egg
- Handful plain flour, for dusting
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 350ml Sainsbury’s Italian tomato passata
- 1 tsp light soft brown sugar
- Small handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
- Cooked mini pasta shapes, chopped, to serve
Break the bread into pieces and put into a bowl, add the milk and leave to soak for 15 mins. Put the beef mince into a separate bowl, add half the garlic, the chives, egg and soaked bread, and mix with your hands. Shape the mixture into about 18 small balls.
Sprinkle the flour onto a plate, then roll each meatball in the flour. Put them on a separate plate and chill in the fridge for 10 mins.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil and add the onion, celery, carrot and the rest of the garlic and cook over a low heat for 10 mins, stirring every now and then with a wooden spoon. Add the passata, sugar and half of the basil, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the meatballs until they are golden brown all over. Don’t move them too much or they will fall apart. Once they are browned, add them to the sauce, cover the pan and leave to simmer very gently for 30 mins or until the meatballs are cooked through.
Spoon a portion of the meatballs and the sauce into baby’s bowl and mash with a fork to the desired consistency. Add the cooked chopped mini pasta shapes to the bowl then allow to cool to the right temperature before serving.
This recipe makes a large batch, so it’s ideal for making ahead of time. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge, reheat until piping hot and cool slightly before serving.