Tuna Meatballs with Pesto Pasta

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This recipe from Jane Kennedy is a great alternative to traditional pork or beef meatballs, lighter and healthier, especially when combined with her parsley/almond pesto.

I have always hesitated to make my own pesto because the key ingredients, basil and pine nuts, can be expensive and I often find the flavour overwhelming. This lighter, cheaper and healthier alternative is a great option.

Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 425g tinned tuna in oil, drained

  • 100g dry breadcrumbs

  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons chives, snipped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

  • 400g spaghetti

Parsley Pesto:

  • 3 tablespoons blanched almonds

  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed

  • 1/3 cup chives, snipped

  • 80ml (4 tablespoons) olive oil

  • 25g parmesan, grated

  • freshly ground black pepper

Whiz the tuna, breadcrumbs, pine nuts, lemon zest, parsley, chives and egg in a food processor until just combined.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Reserve 250ml of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, shape tablespoons of the tuna mixture into balls. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat and cook the tuna balls, turning frequently, for 2–3 minutes, or until nicely golden.

To serve, toss the pesto through the remaining pasta in a large bowl, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to moisten. Top with the tuna meatballs and serve.


Recipe taken from Fabulous Food, Minus the Boombah, by Jane Kennedy
Jane Kennedy has long been known for her radio and television career in Australia. In Jane Kennedy: Fabulous Food, Minus the Boombah, she shares the recipes that allowed her to lose weight and feel fantastic: meals for every day in the home, for entertaining, for nights when you couldn’t be bothered cooking and just really want takeaway, and even some deceptively delicious desserts.

You can purchase Fabulous Food, Minus the Boombah at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant

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