Meatballs packed with bold spices in a rich tomato sauce

These healthy tasty beef meatballs are perfect for January… yes, I’m still on a little health kick.

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP TIME: 10 mins
  • COOKING TIME: 10 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • PERFECT FOR: midweek meal, healthy meal, good for a crowd

Healthy tasty beef meatballs

Well, I’m not eating salad but this meatball dish is only 315kcal per serving.

And satisfies the tastebuds as I ease myself into the new year.

The mental promise I made to myself to hit January with enthusiasm for fitness has died a very swift death.

(… as it always does).

I’m never one for cold turkey on all things nice when it comes to January.

Plus ‘ I read somewhere ‘ that it’s bad for you to suddenly stop everything at once.

Because when you resume life’s great enjoyments – food and fine – you may go a little overboard.

So, it’s better to maintain a constant (lower level) throughout January.

Well, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Although, I need a bit of a talking to at the moment to re-align with that.

Or, maybe just start in February.

January-health-fitness, just became February

After all, January is my birthday month, along with some other poor souls that I share it with.

And this year, it seems to have been a bigger January for celebrations.

I blame this on the global pandemic and its lockdowns.

This year I was lucky enough to book a 3-day trip to Venice.

One of the maddest and most magical places in the world.

And we landed in bright blue, sunny skies (something we haven’t seen since November!).

So we made the most of it.

Walking everywhere in Venice.

Eating everywhere in Venice!

And of course, joining the locals in drinking everywhere in Venice…

They do love an Aperol Spritz at lunchtime.

But who are we to argue with the locals?

Viva Venice

Needless to say, it was a wonderful trip, with incredible fresh Italian dishes.

And brilliant random people to chat to along the way.

This was our first trip outside the UK since Covid hit the world.

And apart from the added stress of all the extra admin, they make you do pre-and post-flying.

It was 100% worth it.

It made us really appreciate once again, how amazing travel is.

And how incredible it is to spend time with different cultures.

Enjoying the people, the food, (the Aperol spritz) and the incredible architecture and history of a place.

I’ve got the travel bug again.

So, I’m willing this pandemic to get to a place where the world can open up again.

There’s just too much out there.

Food, glorious food

Um, so, that was just part of January and indulging in food.

Because, when we came back we were treated to a friend’s house who is an epic cook, for lunch.

And I mean restaurant-quality cooking.

With stunning wines to match.

Along with an afternoon of laughter and good chat around the table, it can’t get better than that.

But it didn’t end there. Mon Dieu!

Healthy tasty beef meatballs

More Italiano but not meatballs

Next up for January (and to end the month) is a special lunch booked at Luca restaurant in London.

A place I’ve always wanted to go to for its superb Italian cooking.

So, last year we booked it and crossed our fingers another lockdown wouldn’t scarper our plans.

It hasn’t.

So, that’s more amazing Italian food and wine to be enjoyed in January.

Stay focused in January

So, you can see why I’m struggling with a hardcore healthy-get-fit-January.

Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about it.

I know I’m lucky to be doing all this.

But it may explain a little more, why I’m trying desperately at home to avoid some of my favourite winter dishes like oxtail and gnocchi stew.

And instead, are substituting these healthier but still very tasty dishes.

Which is why I love meatballs.

Healthy tasty beef meatballs to die for

They’re versatile – you can make them rich, creamy and epically decadent like the IKEA meatballs.

Or as in this instance, tone it down a little and keep them lean and mean with lovely spices and a rich tomato sauce.

And serve with some nice greens instead of pasta (if you want).

Healthy beef meatball tips

If you want to be nice and healthy then lean ground beef is best.

There’s no need for breadcrumbs or eggs in this recipe.

As they still come out nice and juicy, just don’t overcook.

And unlike other meatball recipes, you don’t brown them off first.

Healthy tasty beef meatballs

So, if you feel like me this January.

Or you just want a simple, tasty dish.

Then this is the one for you.


Healthy tasty beef meatballs

Course Main Course
Keyword beef meatballs, healthy meatballs, meatballs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost £


Tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you like a bit of heat)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes


  • 500 g lean minced beef
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Tomato sauce

  • In a large saucepan or frying pan with deep sides, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic and cook for 1min, then add the spices and cook, stirring, for approx 1 min or when they smell fragrant.
    Next, add the chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil, before lowering the heat to a simmer.
    Cover and leave to simmer for 10mins while you prep your meatballs.


  • In a medium bowl, mix the meat and the spices with your hands and make them into approx 20 – 24 small, 1-inch meatballs.
  • Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and turn the heat to medium-high to get to a boil before lowering again to medium-low. Cover and leave to simmer for approx 30 mins.
    Serve with brown rice, pasta or some nice greens