Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce

These mushroom meatballs with homemade tomato sauce require a bit more effort but it is so worth it in the end.

Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce

As with the beginning of every new year, my thoughts move to healthier alternatives. I have not had a cake or cookie for over a week and you know what? I am not even missing them one bit.

In fact, so much so, that I am just about to make a cake for my up and coming e-book and I am not going to touch it. Nope, straight in the freezer it will go.

Although I make most of our meals from scratch, the new year also brings a concerted effort to go that little further. Like this recipe for mushroom meatballs with homemade tomato sauce. The mushroom meatballs are meatless, which sounds so odd to write. However, if I called them mushroom balls you would miss the point entirely. For these really do taste (and look) like meatballs, only a million times better. Seriously.

I am the self-proclaimed queen of simple, but these are a little more involved than just bunging frozen meatballs in a jar of marinara. However, some things in life are worth the effort and these mushroom meatballs are a prime example. That said, if time is of the essence (this is not a rush job), why not go for something quicker like my 30 minute garlic and coconut curry or Swedish sausage stroganoff, instead?

Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce

The mushroom meatballs are made, surprisingly, with mushrooms. Added to them are onions, garlic, breadcrumbs and a little mozzarella. The tomato sauce is simple and quick with a robust tomato and garlic flavour and an underlying onion backdrop.

On researching this recipe (or should I say, wondering what to call it), I found that marinara (which is what this was initially going to be named) and tomato sauce are entirely different. I thought they were one and the same.

My tomato sauce probably falls somewhere between the two, if I think about it. But let’s not get bogged down with titles. This isn’t authentic Italian or anything else. And who cares? The taste is all that matters and these mushroom meatballs with homemade tomato sauce has that in spades.

I served mine with the obligatory spaghetti (gluten free in my case) but these would be awesome with creamy mashed potato, too.

Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Mushroom meatballs:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 250g mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 50g breadcrumbs (I used one of my own spelt loaves)
  • 50g mozzarella (grated)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (or sugar)
  • 400ml water or stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • mozzarella (for sprinkling)
  1. For the meatballs: heat the olive oil and butter together in a large pan. Chop the onions finely and then cook for around five minutes until they soften. Add the garlic, mushrooms, oregano and paprika, then continue to cook until the mushrooms lose all their liquid (about 5 minutes). Set to one side to cool.

  2. Mix the remaining dry ingredients together then add the cooled mushroom mixture. In a separate bowl, beat an egg and stir it in. Cover and place in the fridge for several hours (or at least one hour).

  3. For the sauce: again, heat up some oil and butter and fry the onions for around 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened. 

  4. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, ketchup (or sugar), bay leaf, seasoning and seasoning along with around 400ml of water or stock (I usually just fill one of the empty tomato cans with water and add that). Cook until mixture reduces and thickens (around 45 minutes).

  5. Heat the oven to 225ºC and line a large oven tray with aluminium foil. Roll the mushroom mixture into balls (I made 8 but they were large) and place on the tray. Bake for around 20 minutes until they are nice and golden (you may need to move them around a bit at the half way mark to ensure they don't stick, but be careful because they are fragile when warm).

  6. When ready, remove from the oven and let cool for around 5 minutes. Then, place in the pan with the tomato sauce and spoon some over. Please note that the above images show the meatballs sitting on the top but this was purely for aesthetic purpose when taking the shots. Before serving, sprinkle over a little extra mozzarella. Enjoy!

Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce

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