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I happen to love Jamie Oliver’s recipes – and am a big fan of his efforts to bring attention to what children are eating in school. He has one of my all-time favorite pasta recipes (a lovely confection involving homemade noodles, mascarpone & caramelized peppers) that my mind still wanders to when it conjures up a noodle craving. Some day, I’ll tackle a paleo-fied version! I also love how he thinks about ingredients and writes recipes – his site is one of my go-to sources when I’m feeling underwhelmed by the forces of inspiration.

This recipe is based on one of his – it’s paleo-fied and uses more budget-friendly canned tuna (sacrilege!) in place of fresh, though I imagine this dish would be even better with the fresh.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30


Tuna Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Zoodles

Based on The Best Tuna Meatballs In A Delicious Tomato Sauce (Le Migliori Polpette Di Tonno) by Jamie Oliver


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes with chiles
Kosher salt & black pepper
Possibly some vinegar


1 can water-packed tuna, drained
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ounce salted almonds
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. fresh herbs – I used basil, though parsley was what I really wanted (and didn’t have)
1 egg
1 tsp. black pepper


1 large zucchini

Dice the onion and garlic and add to a medium pan over medium/medium-high heat, along with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Sautee the veggies until beginning to brown at the edges, stirring frequently to avoid burning.  Add the oregano, tomatoes, salt, pepper and half a can of water and bring to a boil. Hard simmer/low boil 15 minutes, or until the water reduces out. Taste for salt/acid and add vinegar if needed.

While the sauce is working, knock out the meatballs. First, chop your almonds fine – or blitz them in a food processor – or bash them in a mortar – or in a baggie – just get them into tiny pieces. Chiffonade the basil. Combine all meatball ingredients in a small-ish bowl and work  with your fingers until combined.

In a large pan over medium heat, bring 2 Tbsp. olive oil up to almost-shimmering. Add the meatballs as you form them into ping pong sized balls. You should get 6-7 meatballs of this size. If you want to serve more than 1 hungry person, consider doubling the meatball recipe.

Fry the meatballs until browned, jiggling the pan around every few minutes to hit all sides.

Make zoodles in the fashion you prefer while the meatballs are cooking. I used my bff the spiralizer and they came together in about a minute. If you like cooked zoodles, throw into the pan during the last minute or two of cooking – I happen to like them raw, so added mine directly to the bowl.

Serve the zoodles topped with the meatballs and sauce – makes enough to serve 2 (zoodles and tomato sauce) – I ate all the meatballs myself and was happy with dinner. I imagine you could stretch the meatballs to feed two. This dish would be killer with the macadamia nut ricotta I made recently, too.