1 Meal 3 Ways: Pork, Fennel & Quinoa Meatballs (or Burgers)

  • Yield : 25 meatballs
  • Prep Time : 40m
  • Cook Time : 20m
  • Ready In : 60m

Pork, Fennel & Quinoa Meatballs

If you haven’t tried it before pork and fennel is a very tasty combination, so these Pork, Fennel & Quinoa Meatballs were always going to be delicious. There was a battle between father and son for the leftovers and George won, enjoying them for lunch cut up with chopped spaghetti. With no added salt they are suitable for all ages and can also be enjoyed as burger patties for an easy dinner or weekend BBQ lunch (so make that 4 ways!).  Suitable for the freezer, the last batch I made I doubled the quantity and used half the mixture as meatballs and half the quantity as burger patties.  I love filling my freezer!

Nutrition Note: Using cooked quinoa as an alternative to breadcrumbs is a great if you have cooked quinoa available in the fridge or need your meatballs wheat or gluten free.

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  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 brown or red onion, grated
  • 500g lean pork mince (or 250g pork + 250g veal)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp parsley or fennel fronds, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 quantity Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce (go to: https://ohcooks.wpengine.com/recipe/fresh-tomato-basil-pasta-sauce/ )
  • OR Simple tomato sauce: 2 x 400g tins no added salt chopped tomatoes + 1 tsp sugar + 1 tbsp torn basil or chopped parsley


Step 1

Place the fennel seeds in a small fry pan over low- medium heat and lightly toast for a 1-2 minutes. Remove the seeds from the pan and crush using a mortar and pestle. -

Step 2

Combine the crushed seeds, pork mince, onion, quinoa, egg and herbs in a large bowl. Mix together using your hands and shape into small balls. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and cook meatballs until well browned and cook through. Remove from the pan and set aside. -

Step 3

Wipe the pan clean, then add the Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce or the ingredients for the Simple Tomato Sauce and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. -

Step 4

Baby: Serve pureed, minced or mashed with extra sauce or water to achieve desired consistency.
Toddler: Serve as finger food with cooked pasta spirals or roasted (sweet) potato and steamed vegetables.
Adult: Serve meatballs with spaghetti or roasted (sweet) potato and a side salad. -

Step 5

BURGER VARIATION: At step 2 shape the mince mixture into burger patties, cook for 4-5 minutes each side on a barbecue then serve on a multigrain/wholemeal roll with salad e.g. roasted beetroot, avocado, tomato, cucumber, lettuce. -

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by KC on July 24, 2014

    I found the meatballs really didn’t stick together even though I used the specified quantities of each ingredient. Tried flattening them out like rissoles but that didn’t work either. Ended up being more like a mince. It tasted good, but didn’t work as a finger food for my baby.

  2. posted by Natalie on January 24, 2015

    I’m going to give these a try this week. Could you throw some veg like grated zucchini or carrot in there?

    • posted by Jess on January 24, 2015

      Yes, of course 🙂 Jx

  3. posted by Natalie on January 25, 2015

    These turned out well and are yum! I did a big batch so fried some and grilled the others. Found the grilled ones held their shape much better.

  4. posted by Preeya on June 7, 2015

    Can I please make a cooking suggestion – pan frying didnt work for me. It fell apart very quickly. I would suggest updating the recipe to bake meatballs for 20mins at 200 degrees with a sprinkle of oil.
    Was amazing!

    • posted by Jess on June 14, 2015

      Thank you for the feedback Preeya. Glad you enjoyed them, Jx

  5. posted by Erica ferreira on September 21, 2015

    Hi there I found that they taste absolutely amazing. We just cannot get enough of them. We baked them and the quinoa helped to bind the mixture together. Question? Do I freeze them cooked or not?

    • posted by Jess on September 22, 2015

      Hi Erica, yes they are great for the freezer. I’m glad you enjoyed them. Jess x


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