Lemon Pork Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Lemony Pork Meatballs

If you’re looking for a new meatball recipe to make for dinner tonight, look no further than my Lemon Pork Meatballs, stuffed with pine nuts and served with a speedy anchovy and tomato sauce.

My Mum makes the best meatballs. Unfortunately, I’ve tried to make her fantastically tender beef version, served with a rich, smooth tomato sauce and tagliatelle myself before, and they never come out as well as hers. So I just don’t make meatballs to serve over pasta, just to go in things like my Greek Lamb Meatballs with Orzo and Feta or my Sausage Meatball and White Bean Stew. Until now.

Made just with pork mince, seasoned with zingy lemon zest and given a bit of bite with toasted pine nuts, they’re delicious in an anchovy-laced tomato sauce over wholemeal spaghetti. They’re a bit more involved than my usual recipes (not in difficulty, they just generate a lot of dirty pots and pans!) so save them for a weekend with a good glass of Italian red and some good parmesan grated over the top, rather than for a weeknight supper.

Or, if you work from home you can easily tackle this recipe in stages.
Lemony Pork Meatballs with Wholemeal Spaghetti

This recipe for Lemon Pork Meatballs is slightly adapted from the Waitrose Weekend newspaper you can pick up free in store each weekend. I religiously tear out their weeknight recipes if something takes my fancy, and while they’re always tasty, this is the first one where I’ve felt that ‘yes I should make this again’ (with my own tweaks, of course!) It is one of those back pocket meatball recipes that will suit your cravings when something classic, but updated is a bit of what you fancy.
Lemony Pork Meatballs with Pine Nuts

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Lemony Pork Meatballs with Pine Nuts

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Dinner


These delicious, zingy pork meatballs in an anchovy-rich tomato sauce is great with wholemeal spaghetti or served with a bright green salad. They also freeze well so are great for batch cooking.


  • 400500g (roughly 1 lb, depends on your pack size!) Pork Mince
  • 1 Large Egg
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Large Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Pine Nuts, toasted and chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Anchovy Fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 Red Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp Plain (All Purpose) Flour
  • Light Cooking Oil
  • 1 x 400g Can Tinned Tomatoes
  • 400ml Passata 
  • 140g (5 oz) Wholemeal Spaghetti
  • Small Handful Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Combine the pork mince, egg, lemon juice, one of the crushed garlic cloves, chopped and toasted pine nuts and a generous amount of seasoning in a large bowl until the mixture is uniform (don’t worry, it is supposed to be quite wet!) but try not to scrunch the mince too much, as this will make tough meatballs! Roll the mixture out into roughly 20 walnut sized bowls and refrigerate until you need them.
  2. To make the sauce, gently fry the remaining crushed garlic clove, the chopped anchovy and the chilli in a large frying pan over a medium heat until the anchovy has melted and the garlic and chilli have softened.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes and the passata to the pan. Bring the sauce to the boil, then bring it down to a very low simmer, leaving it to thicken.
  4. To finish the meatballs, roll them in the flour and fry them until just golden in another large frying pan over a medium high heat, with enough light cooking oil to just cover the bottom. As you remove the meatball from the pan, set them to drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Once all the meatballs have been browned, transfer them to the tomato sauce to cook through. Put the spaghetti to cook in a large pan of boiling, salted water for about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve the meatballs over the spaghetti, with a generous amount of chopped parsley on each bowl.