Gino D'Acampo's light spicy meatballs

(111 ratings)
Gino D'Acampo's light spicy meatballs
Gino D'Acampo's light spicy meatballs
  • Serves: 6

  • Prep time:

    (plus 20 mins chilling time)
  • Cooking time:

  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Bit of effort

  • Costs: Mid-price

Gino D'Acampo's light spicy meatballs recipe is an easy recipe which is perfect for the whole family. Made in under an hour and a half, this traditional Italian dish is bursting with flavour thanks to the rich tomato sauce and mixed spices of chilli and paprika. The tender meatballs in this recipe are really easy to make - perfect for getting the kids involved in the cooking. Gino says, about his famous meatball recipe: 'Every time I make meatballs at home, my boys love to get involved and of course, because they made it, they feel very proud when they eat it.' We just can't get enough of this classic Italian meatball recipe. Top with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and watch clean plates appear all round.


  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 4tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 40g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½tsp paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 x 720ml bottle of sieved tomatoes (passata)
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 300g cooked brown rice, to serve

'You don’t have to use chilli flakes and you can definitely substitute the beef mince with pork or lamb or even mixed together'

Gino D'Acampo, celebrity chef


  1. Put the minced beef, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan, chilli flakes and paprika in a large bowl. Season with salt and break in the egg. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with your hands, then shape into 12 equal sized balls. Place on a plate, cover with clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, tip the passata into a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, add in the basil leaves, bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and gently fry the meatballs over a medium heat for 5 mins until golden brown all over.
  4. Once ready, place the meatballs in the tomato sauce and return the pan to a low heat. Cook for 1 hr with the lid half on, stirring occasionally. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little water.
  5. To serve, divide the rice between six serving plates, place 2 meat balls on each serving and spoon over the tomato sauce.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This recipe is taken from The I Diet by Gino D’Acampo and Juliette Kellow.
The I Diet is published by Kyle Cathie Ltd, priced £12.99 and available from Amazon.
Photography by Kate Whitaker.

Nutritional information per portion

  • Low
  • Med
  • High
  • Calories 506(kcal)
  • Fat 18.7g
  • Saturates 6.7g
  • Sugars 6.9g
  • Salt 1.8g

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

Your rating

Average rating

  • 4
(111 ratings)

Your comments

Susan McKay

I've made many different meatball recipes but Gino's certainly deserves a 10, this recipe is a "keeper". Mmmmmm


Omg I nearly threw up got the recipe off the TV got a mix of lamb and pork mince and don't know if it was that or the sauce.The family hated it too!! Outcome for me its use lean beef mince and buy a jar of sauce.


Wow I've just cooked this recipe! It's super good. Yummy yummy! Thanks Gino.


Looks good going to try it!


very very nice,but can you freeze once cooked in sauce

Chris Bowen

These meatballs tasted so good! I added extra dried chilli flakes, it was super spicy

Charlotte Gunn

This is great recipe - possibly one of our favourite of all of Gino's dishes. The meatballs are full of flavour and it's so easy to make. Send us a pic if you've had a go at making it yourself.

Suzie Lane

They were so simple to make and tasted delicious. I will definately be doing them again!!


This is the best meatball recipe I have tried. Really light and full of flavour. My fussy 6 year old loved them as did my hubby. Definately a keeper! Thanks.

Sharon Eddy

I made these for my family.Great success all the plates were left clean. Easy to make and very tasty.

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