Healthy meatballs in a rich tomato sauce

, ,

Galway medical student and blogger Ryan Mangan shares a simple and tasty midweek meal

Ryan Mangan is passionate about health and wellbeing, and shares recipe inspiration on his blog

His recipes include lots of clever swaps and tricks to make favourite dishes that bit healthier. There is a mix of meat and vegetarian dishes, so there is something for all members of the household to enjoy.


Here, Ryan shares his speedy recipe for meatballs in a rich sauce. A little bit of prep work before popping it in the oven, this simple dinner idea is perfect for your weekly rotation.

The Food Anatomist’s simple meatballs recipe

  • Beef mince, 450 g
  • Rye crackers, 10 slices, blended
  • Couscous (or any base of choice), 2 cups
  • Chia seeds, milled, 1 tbsp ( and 2 tbsp water)
  • Jalapeños, 4, chopped
  • Coriander, 50 g, chopped
  • Red onion, 1/4, chopped
  • Oregano, 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder, 1/2 tbsp
  • Cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp
  • Chopped tomatoes, 800 g
  • Honey, 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper, 1/2 tbsp each
  • Spinach, 50 g
  • Red wine, 1/2 of a glass (optional)
  • Olive oil
  1. Before you prepare the rest of the ingredients, add 1 tbsp of milled chia seeds and 3 tbsps of water to a glass and stir well. Leave aside for now (this will coagulate to form an egg substitute). Otherwise, just include 1 egg in the recipe instead.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the mince, coriander, onion, jalapeños, oregano, cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix well with a spoon.
  3. Blend 10 rye crackers together until ground into a fine powder, then add them into the mixing bowl, followed by the chia egg. Stir well with a spoon before mixing the ingredients together with your knuckles and fingers. separate the mixture into 9 parts and roll gently onto a clean dish into 9 balls.
  4. Place a large pan over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. After the oil has heated, reduce to low heat and place all of the meatballs onto the pan. Toss them regularly for 10 mins.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  6. Into a baking dish, add the chopped tomatoes, spinach, honey, salt, a touch of oregano (or any spices you prefer), salt and pepper and the wine (completely optional). Stir well.
  7. Place the meatballs into the baking dish with the sauce, drizzle the top surface with olive oil, cover with a lid and place the dish in the oven for 35 mins.
  8. 10 mins before the meatballs are ready, prepare your couscous (or any base of choice) according to the instructions on the packet.

Read next: More comforting midweek recipe ideas