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Marinara meatballs with bulgur wheat tabbouleh

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Adjust Servings:
500g turkey breast mince
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried red chilli
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 Weetabix, crushed
30g parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
1 large free-range egg, beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp tomato purée (double concentrate)
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sugar
Small handful of fresh basil, leaves torn
800ml stock, made with 1 chicken or Kallo yeast-free stock cube
200g bulgur wheat
2 medium carrot, peeled and grated
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced to taste

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Marinara meatballs with bulgur wheat tabbouleh

Lighter and leaner than your traditional spaghetti with meatballs. My recipe uses turkey mince instead of pork or beef and sits on a bed of fibre-boosting bulgur wheat, which is pimped up with colourful vegetables. My homemade tomato sauce is also lower in sugar than shop-bought versions and really cheap and easy to make from scratch.

  • Spicy
  • 60 Mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy





  1. In a bowl, combine the turkey mince with the crushed garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, dried chilli, Weetabix and parmesan and mix well. Stir in the beaten egg and use your hands to bind the mixture together. Roll the turkey mince into 16 equal-sized balls and lay on a baking tray. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.

  2. To make the tomato sauce, heat half a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the red onion gently for 10-15 minutes or until softened and starting to colour.

  3. Stir in the garlic, celery salt, fennels seeds and smoked paprika and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute more.

  4. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, oregano, sugar and 100ml of canned water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and leave to blip away gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally.

  5. Meanwhile, add the stock to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir in the bulgur wheat and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat. Drain off any excess water and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

  6. In a separate frying pan, add the remaining olive oil and fry the meatballs over a medium-to-high heat, in batches, for 4-5 minutes until well coloured. Place on a clean baking tray and finishing cooking in a preheated oven at 180C for 8-10 minutes. To check if they’re cooked, cut one open – there should be no sign of pink in the middle.

  7. When the bulgur wheat is ready, fluff the grains with a fork and stir in the grated carrot, spring onions, extra-virgin olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Squeeze in the lemon juice to taste and keep warm while you blend the tomato sauce to a smooth texture (add a little hot water to loosen if needed). Season to taste and stir in the basil leaves.

  8. To plate up, divide the bulgur wheat tabbouleh between bowls and top with four meatballs. Ladle over some of the tomato sauce (use the rest for another recipe) and finish with a grating of parmesan before serving.

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