Italian Tuna Balls

In an attempt to eat more fish and sea food to vary my diet a bit more, we made Italian tuna balls for dinner last night. I thought that this recipe sounded intriguing and  it was something a little different from normal meatballs. I always think it's also good to have some recipes up your sleeve that are mostly store cupboard ingredients, it means you've always got a fall back option for dinner if something happens!

We were quite pleased with the look of these tuna balls, I thought that they looked quite appetising and had a good colour to them. I thought they actually looked quite comparative to normal meatballs. They were actually quite filling and had a good fresh flavour to them.

The recipe called for a jar of pasta sauce (which would still taste good), but we prefer to make our own sauces. 

You can find the original recipe here but we did modify some of the ingredients as it didn't quite hold together. We also made this gluten free with our own pasta sauce.

Serves 4


Tuna Balls:
2 cans of 160 g tuna in oil 
small handful of pine nuts - chopped to help the meatballs hold together
grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Handful of parsley - chopped finely
2 medium sized eggs
50 g of gluten free breadcrumbs (we used Warburtons white gluten free sliced bread)
Salt and Pepper
400 g of paste - spaghetti, fusilli or whatever shape you would like

Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons of oregano
2 cloves of garlic - crushed
1 large onion - chopped finely
Salt and Pepper

  1. Heat a medium sized frying pan with approx 2 tablespoons of oil.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and fry on a medium heat until the onions start to soften but not colour then add the garlic and fry for 1 more minute.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, tomato puree, oregano and sugar.
  4. Tip the tomatoes into the pan along with the salt and pepper.
  5. Bring the tomato sauce mixture up to the boil and turn the heat down, put the lid onto the pan and cook for approx 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened
  6. In the meantime, drain the tuna, keep the oil to one side and flake it into a bowl.
  7. Add the pine nuts, parsley, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and mix the ingredients together.
  8. Once they are mixed, beat the eggs and add to the mixture along with the lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper.
  9. Mix together with your hands until the mixture starts to come together.
  10. Form into 12 walnut sized balls and place in the fridge.
  11. Cook the pasta according the instructions on the back of the packet.
  12. When the sauce has been simmering for 10 minutes, use some of the oil that you have set aside when draining the tuna and fry the tuna meatballs until they are looking golden brown in colour. 
  13. Add the meatballs  to the pan with the simmering tomato sauce and serve with the cooked pasta

We both really enjoyed this recipe, the tomato sauce seemed to go really well with the fresh tasting tuna balls. I would recommend this recipe to others, if you are not gluten free you can just use any breadcrumbs you like instead of the gluten free bread.

Please also let me know your comments and the above recipe. If you try this out, let me know how it turned out for you.



  1. This looks gorgeous! And pretty healthy too! It's definitely going on my meal plan for next week :) xxx

    1. Thank you jess, you'll have to let me know how it turns out for you x