We don’t eat red meat a lot in our house but when we do, we make sure we do it really well. This recipe has made a few appearances over the last month as I fine-tuned it (really, it was good to go from the first attempt but we loved it a lot and we had to have it more).
This is comfort food at its finest. Meaty, cheesy, rich, and just plain satisfying. It’s kinda like a mixture between spag bol and lasagna. Yum!
If you are looking for something light before a big night out on the town, this ain’t your guy. But if you want to sit down to a big cosy bowl of meatballs and feel like curling up on the couch and watching a good movie afterwards, this is the recipe you want.
Stick to paleo guidelines by using nutritional yeast throughout the recipe but if you do tolerate dairy in your diet, the parmesan creates an amazing cheesy flavour.
Winter cooking at its finest! Hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!
Cheesy Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
18-20 meatballs or 4-5 serves
GF, DF, Paleo, RSF
Prep time + tidy up: 30 mins
Cook time: 30-40 mins
500g beef mince
300g pork mince
1 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp dried Italian herbs or dried oregano
1 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
pepper to season
400g tin diced tomatoes
2tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1/2 onion, diced
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 cup water
Vegan ‘Cheese’ Sauce
500g cauliflower (approx. ½ head)
1/4 - 1/2 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
1/4 cup tahini
2-3 tbsp almond or coconut milk or water
salt and pepper to season
Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix well together. I use my hands for this because it’s just easier. Roll into tablespoon size balls, not too tightly and set aside.
To make the tomato sauce, in a pot on a medium heat, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until sauce. Add the garlic and oregano and tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the remaining ingredients and let the sauce simmer for approx. 10 mins keeping an eye on water levels. You want it to reduce until it's thick but not a paste.
While the tomato sauce is simmering, prepare the cheese sauce.
Cut cauliflower into small pieces and steam for approx. 10 mins until tender. Let the cauliflower cool slightly then add to a blender along with the other ingredients except for the milk or water. As usual, I used my trusty NutriBullet but any blender will do.
Blend for a few seconds, and then add 1/2 of your chosen liquid. Blend until smooth and add more liquid if needed. Taste and add more nutritional yeast or parmesan if you would like it ‘cheesier’ or a little more salt if needed.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Heat a frying pan and brown the meatballs. They do not need to be cooked through, just nice and brown on the outside.
In a casserole or baking dish add your finished tomato sauce to the bottom. Then add your browned meatballs on top of the tomato sauce and pour the cheese sauce over the top covering all meatballs.
Sprinkle extra cheese or nutritional yeast to the top if you want and pop everything in the oven for 20-30 mins until bubbling and golden.
Serve with a big green salad, steamed greens, quinoa or rice.
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