This classic dish gets a healthy makeover using low-fat turkey mince as an alternative to minced beef, yet remains the comforting family meal we all know and love.  


For the meatballs:

500 g turkey mince
4 tbsp porridge oats
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 clove garlic crushed
Olive oil
Chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

1 onion, diced
2 carrots, grated
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp smoked paprika
300 g passata
300 ml chicken stock
I tbsp tomato purée


For the meatballs:

  1. Combine the turkey mince with the oats, garlic, fennel and chilli flakes (to your taste) and season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Form the mix into approx. 3cm balls.
  3. Heat a frying pan, add a little oil and cook the meatballs for 7-10 minutes on a medium heat, turning occasionally until they have browned all over. 
  4. Set them aside for later.

For the sauce:

  1. In a heavy based pan, heat a little oil and add the onion, carrots and celery, cooking on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. 
  2. Add the garlic, harissa and paprika and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the passata, stock and purée bringing it to a gentle simmer, before covering and cooking for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Blend the sauce, then add the meatballs and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with pasta or spaghetti, sprinkled Parmesan cheese and chopped chives.


The amount of chilli flakes and harissa paste can be adjusted depending on the level of spice desired.   

Gluten free oats and pasta can be used to make this a delicious gluten free meal.

Serves 4.