Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce


Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce


These mushroom meatballs with homemade tomato sauce require a bit more effort but it is so worth it in the end.

As with the beginning of every new year, my thoughts move to healthier alternatives. I have not had a cake or cookie for over a week and you know what? I am not even missing them one bit.

In fact, so much so, that I am just about to make a cake for my up and coming e-book and I am not going to touch it. Nope, straight in the freezer it will go.

Although I make most of our meals from scratch, the new year also brings a concerted effort to go that little further. Like this recipe for mushroom meatballs with homemade tomato sauce. The mushroom meatballs are meatless, which sounds so odd to write. However, if I called them mushroom balls you would miss the point entirely. For these really do taste (and look) like meatballs, only a million times better. Seriously.

I am the self-proclaimed queen of simple, but these are a little more involved than just bunging frozen meatballs in a jar of marinara. However, some things in life are worth the effort and these mushroom meatballs are a prime example. Another recent dish that also took a little preparation was my spelt pita bread with grilled chicken kebab. I usually make these kind of dishes on the weekend when I’ve got more time to spend on them. 


Why mushrooms are a great alternative to minced meat

The mushroom meatballs are made, surprisingly, with mushrooms. Added to them are onions, garlic, breadcrumbs and a little mozzarella. Since becoming a vegetarian, I am always on the look out for food that behaves the same way. Also, in some circumstances, has a similar texture. For me, giving up meat was more about not wanting to eat animals, but the enjoyment of eating meat (as in, what it tastes like), often still remains. Plus, I’ve got tonnes of old favorites, such as spaghetti Bolognese or lasagne, and mincing mushrooms provides a pretty authentic replacement for minced meat. I used minced mushrooms to make a gorgeous mushroom bolognese stuffed garlic bread, and it is hard to differentiate between minced meat and mushrooms. 

Mince meat substitutions aside, another great thing about mushrooms is that they are a great source of protein, something that is often lacking in our diets when we give up meat. They also have a low calorific count, they contain antioxidants, along with minerals and vitamins. Mushrooms are tiny powerhouses, for sure, and they are pretty cheap, too (much cheaper than meat, for sure). Lastly, there are thousands of varieties of edible mushrooms, so it will never get boring. 


Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce


Homemade tomato sauce

The tomato sauce is simple and quick with a robust tomato and garlic flavour and an underlying onion backdrop.

On researching this recipe (or should I say, wondering what to call it), I found that marinara (which is what this was initially going to be named) and tomato sauce are entirely different. I thought they were one and the same.

My tomato sauce probably falls somewhere between the two, if I think about it. But let’s not get bogged down with titles. This isn’t authentic Italian or anything else. And who cares? The taste is all that matters and these mushroom meatballs with homemade tomato sauce has that in spades.


What can you serve with these mushroom meatballs?

I served mine with spaghetti (gluten free in my case) but these would be awesome with any kind of pasta. This dish would be so yummy served on a bed of creamy mashed potato. Or, why not stuff them in a super soft spelt bread bun?


Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


Mushroom Meatballs:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 250g (9 oz) mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 50g (1¾ oz) mozzarella (grated)
  • 50g (1 cup) breadcrumbs (see note 1)
  • 1 egg (beaten)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 800g (28 oz) tinned tomatoes (see note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (or sugar)
  • 400ml (1⅔ cups) water or stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • mozzarella (for sprinkling)


Mushroom Meatballs:

  • Heat the olive oil and butter together in a large pan.
  • Chop the onions (finely), and then cook for around five minutes until they soften.
  • Add the garlic, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, cayenne, and oregano, then continue to cook until the mushrooms lose all their liquid (about 5 minutes). Set to one side to cool.
  • Mix the mozzarella and breadcrumbs together, then add the cooled mushroom mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, beat an egg and stir it in to the other ingredients. Cover and place in the fridge for several hours (or at least one hour).


  • Heat up the oil and butter in a pan, and fry the onions for around 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, ketchup (or sugar), bay leaf, seasoning and seasoning along with around 400ml of water or stock (I usually just fill one of the empty tomato cans with water and add that).
  • Cook until mixture reduces and thickens (around 45 minutes).


  • While the sauce is cooking, heat the oven to 225ºC / 437℉, and line a large oven tray with aluminum foil.
  • Roll the mushroom mixture into balls (I made 8 but they were large) and place on the tray.
  • Bake for around 20 minutes until they are nice and golden (you may need to move them around a bit at the half way mark to ensure they don't stick, but be careful because they are fragile when warm).
  • When ready, remove from the oven and let cool for around 5 minutes.
  • Place in the pan with the tomato sauce and spoon some over. Please note: the above images show the meatballs sitting on the top, but this was purely for aesthetic purposes when taking the shots.
  • Before serving, sprinkle over a little extra mozzarella. Enjoy!


  1. I used my own breadcrumbs made from a spelt loaf, but you can use any.
  2. Tinned tomatoes refer to canned tomatoes (you can use either diced or crushed tomatoes). Alternatively, you can use fresh tomatoes in this recipe.
I have converted grams to cups/ounces/tablespoons using online converters. Although I have no reason to believe they are inaccurate, please be aware that I have not made the recipe with imperial measurements.
In addition, many ingredients are different in Europe compared to North America. I do all I can to offer possible alternatives and to ensure the best possible outcomes for everyone. However, results cannot always be guaranteed if you have not used the same ingredients, measurements or methods as me.
Lastly, I do everything I can to ensure that my recipes (and instructions) are accurate and easy to follow. However, I am human, and don't always get it right. If you notice anything strange, a mistake, or even a typo, please let me know in the comments. 



Mushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato SauceMushroom Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce

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