Skip to content
Tinned tuna

Tinned tuna "meat"balls with crispy breadcrumbs recipe

178 ratings

Throw a can of tinned tuna into the mix to make some pescetarian-friendly meatballs. Make use of some stale bread, too! See method

  • Serves 4
  • 40 mins
  • 577 calories / serving
  • Freezable
  • Healthy
  • Dairy-free


  • 130g stale bread
  • 2 x 145g tins tuna chunks in sunflower oil
  • 1 lemon, zested 
  • 20g fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 1 finely sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin finely chopped tomatoes
  • 300g dried spaghetti
If you don't have chopped tomatoes, chop up a tin of plum tomatoes instead

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    18g 26%
  • Saturates

    3g 13%
  • Sugars

    8g 9%
  • Salt

    1.1g 18%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 73g Protein 28.5g Fibre 4.7g


  1. Blitz the bread to fine breadcrumbs in a food processor. Tip 80g into a bowl with the tuna (reserving the oil), lemon zest, half the parsley and the egg; season lightly. Use your hands to firmly shape into 16 evenly sized balls. Put on a plate and chill for 10 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the reserved oil in a medium frying pan over a medium-low heat. Fry the remaining breadcrumbs and sliced garlic for 5-8 mins until golden and crispy. Remove from the heat, add the remaining parsley, tip out onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Wipe the pan clean, heat 1 tbsp reserved oil, then fry the onion for 5 mins, stirring, until softened. Stir in the chopped garlic and oregano and cook for 2 mins until beginning to colour. Pour in the passata, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 mins. Season to taste and remove from the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti to pack instructions. Drain, reserving a mugful of cooking water. 
  5. Heat 1 tbsp reserved oil in another medium frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the tuna meatballs for 10 mins, turning regularly, until golden. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook for 1 min over a low heat.
  6. Tip the pasta into the sauce. Gently toss together until the pasta is coated, adding splashes of cooking water to loosen. Divide between bowls, scattering with the crispy breadcrumbs to serve.

See more Tinned tuna recipes

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.

You may also like

Be the first to comment

Before you comment please read our community guidelines.