Italian meatballs

Lean minced beef is a good source of iron. Two meatballs (1 serving) provide 1.6mg of iron – just one way to contribute towards the recommended 8mg of iron your toddler needs each day. This recipe serves 6.


  • 450g lean minced beef
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 whole egg
  • 80g homemade breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ clove garlic
  • 1 sweet pepper
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 50g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp basil

Please note: Remember not to add salt to any of your toddler’s recipes. Please check ingredients carefully as some products may contain allergens that you are unaware of. For example, processed meats may contain milk proteins, and some vegetable oils and margarines can contain soya.


  1. Pre heat oven to 150°C / 300°F / Gas Mark 2
  2. To make the meatballs, chop one onion. Place the onion in a large mixing bowl with the mince, parsley, breadcrumbs and a beaten egg.
  3. On a lightly floured chopping board roll the mince into small balls.
  4. Add 2 tbsps of olive oil to a frying pan and fry the meatballs until they are nicely browned all over.
  5. To make the tomato sauce, chop the second onion and sweet pepper adding to a pan along with 2 tbsps of olive oil and garlic. Cook gently until softened, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the tinned tomatoes and reduce liquid by two thirds.
  7. Keeping the pan on a gentle heat, and simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and add the parmesan cheese and chopped basil.
  9.  Put the miniature meatballs in an oven proof dish and top with the tomato sauce.
  10.  If you want to freeze for later use, cover the dish with cling film and allow to cool. Then freeze immediately. It is best to defrost the dish before cooking.
  11. Cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
  12. Remove, allow to cool to a toddler friendly temperature, and then serve.