Tuna ‘meatballs’ with courgetti, spaghetti & tomato sauce

So much going on in this delicious dinner, I’m not sure where to start. All I can say is, despite having lots of bits to it, I did manage to get this on the table in under an hour, so it can’t be too tricky, right? And it’s certainly yummy! This got a big thumbs up from everyone round the table. 

First, the tuna ‘meatballs’. I’ve had my eye on making something like these for ages and not quite got around to it. I had some somewhere a while ago that were made with minced fresh tuna, which were amazing but did seem like a waste of delicious (and expensive!) fresh tuna. Once I’d figured out that you really could make them with tinned tuna, it was just a matter of time till they appeared on our plates. 

I’m delighted to say that the tuna meatballs were both super-easy, and highly delicious – and 99% as good as the fresh tuna ones at a fraction of the price. I will definitely be making them again! Whilst cooking them I was a little concerned that they would fall apart in the pan to create a crispy tuna pancake, but they held together beautifully (as you can see in the photo). I used a mixture of breadcrumbs and ground almonds to bind, partly because DH can’t eat much (if any) bread, and partly to add a slight nutty flavour. A success!

tuna meatballs frying

I cooked some spaghetti and tomato sauce to go with the ‘meatballs’, as is traditional, but also decided to make some ‘courgetti’ (‘zoodles’ in America, apparently) to bulk out the noodles without adding extra carbs. It also meant I could sneak in another vegetable while no-one was looking! There are some very elaborate spiralisers available – I was playing with some in a shop recently – but our budget spiraliser isn’t bad at all, and was much cheaper than the big fancy ones, not to mention smaller and easier to store. Having recently rediscovered it at the back of a drawer I’ve been using it loads and feeling smug at the money & space saved not buying an enormous bells-and-whistles one.

All-in-all, this was definitely a winner of a dinner. Kipper has avoided everything tomato for ages, but even she ate the tomato sauce and said that, “Now that I’m a big girl I like the tomato sauce.” Hooray! She was also a big fan of the courgetti, although having just returned from a holiday in the USA, insisted on calling the courgettes “zucchini”. Or as she says it, “Zoooo-kee-nee! It’s zoooo-kee-nee Mummy!”

This made enough for 3, although there were probably enough tuna meatballs for 4. 

Tuna 'meatballs' with courgetti, spaghetti & tomato sauce

If you want deliciously easy, family-friendly recipes like this one delivered straight to your inbox, simply click here to subscribe. (Of course, I’ll never pass on your email address to anyone.)

Tuna 'meatballs' with courgetti, spaghetti & tomato sauce
Serves 3
Write a review
Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
577 calories
67 g
55 g
29 g
16 g
4 g
554 g
99 g
13 g
0 g
23 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 577
Calories from Fat 250
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 19g
Cholesterol 55mg
Sodium 99mg
Total Carbohydrates 67g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Sugars 13g
Protein 16g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the tomato sauce
  1. 1 medium onion
  2. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 x 400g tin peeled tomatoes
For the tuna meatballs
  1. 2 x 160g tins tuna in spring water
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. zest of a lime
  4. 1 slice bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs (approx. 40g)
  5. 25g ground almonds
  6. 1 medium egg
  7. Pinch black pepper
  8. Few tbsp olive oil for frying
For the courgetti & spaghetti
  1. 2 large courgettes
  2. Approx. 180g spaghetti
First, make the tomato sauce
  1. Peel and dice the onion. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and saute the onion for 4-5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes, and break them up with a spoon.
  3. Simmer, partly covered, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes until well cooked. Process briefly with a stick blender if you prefer a smooth consistency.
While the sauce is cooking, make the tuna meatballs
  1. Drain the tinned tuna, and place in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, lime zest, breadcrumbs, almonds, egg and pepper. Mix and mash with a fork until everything is well amalgamated.
  2. With wet hands, form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a walnut. You should get around 20 balls.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan and cook the tuna meatballs, turning frequently, until crispy and brown on all sides - you will probably need to do this in batches. Once cooked, drain on absorbent paper and keep warm.
For the noodles
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet - mine took 11 minutes in boiling water.
  2. Use a spiraliser to cut the courgettes into long strands. Steam or microwave for a couple of minutes until just cooked.
  3. Drain the spaghetti and toss with the courgetti.
To serve
  1. Serve the spaghetti and courgetti topped with a spoonful of tomato sauce and a few tuna meatballs. Enjoy!
Family-Friends-Food https://family-friends-food.com/
tuna meatballs, courgetti (zoodles), spaghetti & tomato sauce

I’m putting this recipe forward for a few bloggy challenges. They are:
Extra Veg hosted this month by Kate at Veggie Desserts and organised by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy – since I snuck an extra portion of courgettes into the pasta.
Credit Crunch Munch, since this uses tinned tuna instead of fresh, for a delicious result. It’s hosted by Bakingqueen74 and organised by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All.
Family Foodies, which has an Italian theme, and is organised  by Louisa at Eat Your Veg and and co-organised and hosted this month by Vanesther at Bangers & Mash.



  1. Pingback:90 Spaghetti Recipes For National Spaghetti Day - From Val's Kitchen

  2. Pingback:Courgette Noodles Pesto Salad - Little Sunny Kitchen

  3. Sarah Klinkowitz

    Looks delicious – thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Helen @Fuss Free Flavours

    I love this dish, the spiraliser makes it so easy to add extra veg to your meals. I agree about using the tinned tuna – fresh would be such a waste.

  5. Pingback:Creamy courgette puff pastry tart - Family-Friends-Food

  6. I love love love the look of this! If only I had a spiraliser for the courgetti…

    • Get one! Get one! You won’t regret it. You can also spiralise carrots and cucumber and all sorts of things. A worthwhile investment…!

  7. Oh wow, absolutely love this dish Helen thank you for entering it into #CreditCrunchMunch;-)

  8. Lucy @ BakingQueen74

    This sounds so good, I will definitely be trying this out on my family soon, bound to be a winner here! thanks for linking up with #creditcrunchmunch

  9. Lovely recipe, very smart, great way of using tuna 🙂

  10. What an appetising, colourful dish! I’m a big fan of courgette spaghetti since I bough my spiralizer last year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *