This kale, lemon and parmesan meatball recipe is perfect for batch-cooking

Looking for a recipe to batch cook for the week? This plant-based meatball dish from Donna Hay’s book The Fast Five is packed with immune-supporting nutrients to help ward off those office bugs.

When it comes to batch cooking for the week, there are a few things you need from your recipe. First, it’s got to be quick. Secondly, it’s got to help us get to our 30 plants a week goal (the pursuit of good gut health never takes a break). And lastly, it’s got to taste incredible – and potentially get richer and more tasty as the days go on. 

All that said, we think we’ve found the perfect dish to whip up ahead of time. These plant-based meatballs are packed with beta-carotene (important for a strong immune system) and vitamin C (which helps us to ward off and recover from colds) thanks to their kale content. The bulk is made from white cannellini beans which are loaded with protein and fibre (great for the gut), and antioxidant-rich almonds (important for combating oxidative stress).

This recipe serves four, so if you’re making it on a Monday evening, you’ll have the majority of your office lunches or evening meals sorted for the week.


For the meatballs

8 cups (280g) firmly packed finely shredded kale leaves

1 x 400g can white (cannellini) beans, rinsed, drained and roughly mashed

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

1½ cups (360g) fresh ricotta

1 egg

1½ cups (180g) ground almonds

½ cup (40g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

For the sage and garlic sauce

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

12 sage leaves

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 cups (500g) diced canned tomatoes

½ cup (125ml) good-quality vegetable or chicken stock 


Place the kale in a bowl and cover with boiling water. 

Allow to stand for 3 minutes, then drain well. Place between absorbent kitchen paper and press to drain any excess moisture.

Combine the kale, beans, lemon rind, ricotta, egg, almonds, parmesan, salt and pepper. 

Shape the mixture into 16 x ¼-cup meatballs.

Preheat oven to 220°C (440°F).

To make the sage and garlic sauce, heat a large ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat. 

Add the oil, sage and garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until soft. Add the tomatoes and stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. 

Add the meatballs and transfer the pan to the oven. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with extra parmesan alongside pasta or crusty bread.

The Fast Five: Shortcuts To Deliciousness by Donna Hay (£25, Fourth Estate) is out now

Image: Con Poulos

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