by | Apr 18, 2023

Baked Italian meatballs with Tuscan kale

Milk in a meatball?!? Absolutely! The milky breadcrumbs keep these meatballs succulent and fluffy and still allows the rich meaty flavour to shine through. If you’re using a plant-based mince, you can also substitute with a plant milk. If Autumn is getting you down, these meatballs are sure to cheer you up.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 120 ml Milk
  • 50 g Fresh White Bread without crusts
  • 1 Small Brown Onion, quartered
  • 10 g Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 100 g Tuscan Kale, roughly chopped
  • 40 g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 500 g Mince (I used a mixture of pork and beef. You can use a plant-based mince)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 700 g Tomato Passata


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan forced).
  • Take a large mixing bowl and add the white bread and milk. Let the broad soak.
  • Add the onion quarters, salt, fennel seeds and kale to a food processor and blitz until the kale and onion are very finely chopped.
  • Mash the bread into the milk with a fork until it is broken down into wet crumbs. Add the parmesan, mince and vegetable mix. Mix and knead it all together with your hands or in a stand mixer with the paddle for a couple of minutes, this will help it to bind.
  • Take a large deep baking tin or casserole dish and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Roll the mixture into meatballs, roughly the size of a plum. Space them out evenly on the baking tray. Once they’re all rolled, pop them into the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the tray from the oven, pour the passata over the meatballs, stir gently to coat them. Turn the oven down to 160 degrees and return to the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Once the meatballs are ready, serve with pasta or cheesy polenta and a nice side salad.


  • If you have more kale, trim off the thick stalks, take a large flat baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Lay the kale flat on the tray and rub thoroughly on both sides with olive oil. Pop it in the oven with the meatballs once you’ve added the passata. The crispy kale will make a great garnish!
Keyword Baked, Hearty, Meatballs