This dish was a fluke. It started with overripe tomatoes (that desperately needed to be used up) and a packet of mince. A couple of items classified as ‘what’s-in-the-fridge-that-needs-to-be-used-up’ and pantry staples later, this Chunky Tomato Sauce with Meatballs recipe was born. It ended in a delightfully tasty meal that’s become a repeat. As requested, I’m sharing the no fuss recipe for this chunky tomato sauce with meatballs below.


A few pointers: You don’t need to peel the tomatoes; however, I prefer not having the peels in sauces. If you are peeling the tomatoes, I recommend using a peeler that has a serrated edge. You don’t need a specific tomato peeler; I use this Shogun one, which is brilliant for delicate veggies, like tomatoes and tough-skinned ones, like butternut. I recommend using very ripe tomatoes, they’re juicer and create a better sauce.


I’ve served it with both couscous and pasta. The pasta was the winner, but you can use any grain you want.


Clean the Fridge Out Chunky Tomato Sauce with Meatballs

A few simple fresh ingredients and pantry staples is all you need to make this comforting chunky tomato sauce with meatballs. Serve alongside your grain of choice.
Course: Mains
Dietary: Dairy Free, No Added Sugar, Nut Free
Servings: 4 servings


Chunky Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 eggplant chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 C vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp tomato paste


  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs I used a mix of rosemary, chives and parsley
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • oil for browning

For serving

  • Pasta / couscous / quinoa


  • Add the peeled and chopped tomatoes, chopped eggplant, olive oil and spices to a large frying pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, until it has reduced to a thick and chunky sauce. About 25 minutes.
  • Add in your vegetable broth and tomato paste and mix well.
  • Remove from heat and set aside. You can also taste for seasoning now, adding more as needed.
  • While the tomato sauce is cooking, make the meatballs. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together well. Divide the mixture into tablespoon sized meatballs.
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add the meatballs in (if it’s too crowded in the pan, do this in two batches) and cook until browned on all sides. About 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Once the meatballs are browned and the tomato sauce is cooked, pour the tomato sauce on top of the meatballs (your pan must be large enough to accommodate it all).
  • Cook on a low heat for 25-30 minutes, until the meatballs are fully cooked through.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, prepare your grain. Either pasta, couscous or quinoa.
  • Serve hot meatballs on top of your choice of grain.


If you don’t have fresh herbs for the meatballs, use 2 tsp dried herbs instead.
You can use ½ tsp garlic powder instead of the minced garlic in the meatballs.
If you don’t have vegetable broth, you can use boiling water in the tomato sauce instead.


Chunky Tomato Sauce with Meatballs 1

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