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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Baked Cheesy Meatballs with Beetroot Sauce

This is the second month that I have joined in with the Swallow's Recipe for Life challenge on Bangers & Mash, which you can read more about here.

I love recipe challenges & when I saw that the 3 ingredients this month were beetroot, carrot & cheese I immediately thought of a cake, strangely enough, and then salad. I had one carrot in the fridge but no beetroot so I nipped to the local shop on the way home from the school run and picked up a pack so I could try something out for dinner. I'll still make a cake but I need to go shopping first.

I picked up the tip of using bread soaked in milk in the meatballs from a chef that I watched cooking a few weeks ago, I've used dried breadcrumbs in meatballs before but never wet bread and it certainly makes the meatballs moister. The beetroot in the sauce produces a beautiful red colour and my daughter, who claims to not like beetroot, loved it (although I didn't mention the beetroot until after she'd eaten it!). The meatballs have carrot in so with that & the beetroot sauce your kids will be well on their way to their 5 a day without knowing it.


Baked Cheesy Meatballs with Beetroot Sauce - serves 4

Meatballs - makes 25-30
2 slices of wholemeal crust
300ml Milk
500g Lean Beef Mince
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 onion, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt & pepper to season
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
100g smoked Bavarian / Austrian cheese, cut into 1cm cubes

200g cooked beetroot
2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 onion, chopped
handful of fresh basil

  • Tear the bread into small pieces & place in a bowl and cover with the milk
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes until the bread has soaked up the milk
  • Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add the bread to a large bowl, discard the milk
  • Add the mince, carrot, onion, garlic, salt & pepper, cayenne & herbs to the bowl
  • Get your hands in the bowl and mix all the ingredients together
  • Take a piece of the mince in your hands and firm into a ball, pressing a cube of cheese into the centre & moulding the mince around it - the meatballs should be approx 4cm in diameter
  • Repeat until all the mince has been used up
  • Blend the beetroot, tomatoes, garlic, onion & basil until smooth - if you prefer a chunkier texture you could mash or blend more lightly
  • Arrange the meatballs in a large (pre-oiled) shallow baking dish and cover with the sauce
  • Sprinkle over any remaining cubes of cheese
  • Bake in a 200C oven for 1 hour, turning the meatballs over and covering with sauce twice during this time
  • Serve with pasta



  1. This is genius, Helen! I would never have anticipated a meatball recipe with this month's trio of ingredients. They look so tasty and the perfect way to sneak a few veggies past some unsuspecting kids. Love it! And very much looking forward to seeing your cake too... Thanks so much for taking part in Recipes for Life :)

  2. Elaine Livingstone15 March 2013 08:25

    This sounds pleasantly different.

  3. Oh I'm loving the oozy cheesy centers to your meatballs - I've never thought of that but I know they'd be a huge hit in our house! And any recipe that sneaks a few hidden veggies in is a winner with me. I agree with Vanesther - a genius use of the three ingredients!

  4. hmmm thats an interesting sauce idea to use beetroot. and a great tip about using wet bread instead of dry breadcrumbs in the meatballs. did Jack eat these or throw them??? x



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