Cheat’s Meatballs with Butter Beans
Recipe and image by Nicola Galloway
This is my quick ‘cheats’ way to prepare meatballs without the fuss of making the mixture. Hand-made sausages from the butcher or supermarket are generally leaner and use less or no preservatives such as nitrates. Check packets for ingredients you recognise and ideally avoid spicy sausages unless you know your baby is OK with chilli. The addition of the butter beans extends the meal and adds fibre.
Why is this a breastfeeding-friendly meal? Protein (found in the sausages and butter beans) is important for milk production; however, ensure it is cooked into the sauce as raw garlic can cause problems for some babies. And a benefit besides nutrition, this is a super quick and simple dinner to prepare at the end of a busy day with a little one [plus siblings].
Note: Some breastfeeding babies can react to legumes making them rather gassy. If you are aware this is the case with your child then omit the butter beans from the recipe and increase the sausage quantity to 500g. Likewise with the garlic if you know this causes a problem for your baby.
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
400g good-quality beef or lamb sausages
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
approx. 800g vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly [OR 800 g can chopped tomatoes]
2 cloves garlic, chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped
400g can butter (lima) beans, drained and rinsed
iodised salt and pepper to season
First prepare the meatballs. Snip the ends of the sausage casing and squeeze out the sausage mixture shaping into walnut-sized balls as you go.
Heat a frying-pan over a moderate heat. Add the oil and meatballs and ‘brown’ off the meat by shaking the pan often to roll the balls around. Once evenly browned add the tomatoes, garlic and basil. Simmer uncovered until the tomatoes have reduced to a rich saucy consistency. Add the butter beans for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Check the meatballs are cooked through by cutting one in half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with spaghetti or fettuccine and top with grated Parmesan.
*Gluten-free: Ensure the sausages are gluten-free and use gluten-free pasta.