Lean pork and oregano meatballs with risoni

Lean pork & oregano meatballs with risoni

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Juicy, Italian baked meatballs in a rustic style sauce that is loaded with veg – this dish is the perfect hearty dinner!

It can sometimes be hard to get the texture of the humble meatball right, but baking it in the oven with this tasty marina sauce ensures they will remain moist and juicy.  
We’ve used lean pork mince to cut out the extra fat and saturated fats, the pork flavour profile is not as dominant as beef, but feel free to adjust if you have another mince preference. 
This recipe is enough to make two dinners. Cook the meatballs all at once and then freeze the rest, all that’s left to do when you’re eating the leftovers is boil up the remaining pasta – and that’s why we have picked the short-grain Risoni; quick cooking equals minimum effort.  
Serves - 8
Prep time - 15 minutes
Cook time - 30 minutes
Gluten free option
Dairy free
Nut free

Juicy Italian baked meatballs in a rustic style sauce that is loaded with vegetables

Juicy Italian baked meatballs in a rustic style sauce that is loaded with vegetables



  • 700g lean pork mince
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ¼ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 small red capsicum, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 700g bottle passata
  • 600g Risoni (300g now, 300g later) - choose a gluten-free option if preferred
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

How to make

1. Preheat oven to 200°/180°C (fan forced).

2. Place mince, carrot, zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs and oregano in a large bowl. Mix well to combine. Shape mixture into 16 balls and set aside.

3. Heat oil in a 6cm deep, 23cm round (8 cup capacity) oven-safe pan or baking dish. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add celery and capsicum and cook for a further 3 minutes.

4. Add meatballs to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned.

5. Pour passata over the pan and bring to the boil. Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.

6. Cook 300g Risoni according to packet instructions. 7. To serve, stir basil through meatballs and serve alongside Risoni.


  • To freeze the remainder of the meatballs, set aside to cool for an hour before placing in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months
  • To thaw the dish, it is best left to defrost in the refrigerator overnight
  • To reheat the dish, preheat oven to 180°/160°C (fan forced). Remove meatballs from container and place in a heavy-based baking dish. Cook for 30 minutes. Whilst the meatballs are cooking, boil the remaining 300g of Risoni in boiling water as per packet instructions

Nutritional information

Kilojoules 2110 kJ Protein 28.5 g
Carbohydrates, total
- sugars, total
79.2 g
9.4 g
Fat, total
- saturated fat
6.4 g
1.6 g
Sodium 270 mg
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Rachel Scoular is an avid foodie, APD Dietitian and founder of @healthyhappyhabits