Healthy Meatballs in Mushroom Sauce


These delicious meatballs in mushroom sauce are low in fat and made using simple ingredients.  Cooked from scratch in just over 35 minutes!

Top down view of meatballs in mushroom sauce in large pan.

These delicious meatballs in mushroom sauce are not only quick and easy to make (thanks to my method, see below) they are healthier than most recipes of this type. This dish is made using a generous amount of (naturally low-carb) mushrooms (approx. 30% more than other recipes). Instead of heavy cream I used a combination of vegetable stock, a small amount of single/light cream and a dollop of sour cream for more complexity of flavour.

Meatballs in mushroom sauce ingredients and substitutions

The meatballs

  • Ground meat containing around 7% fat.
  • Onion: adds flavour and moisture.
  • Parsley: adds flavour.
  • Soft bun: absorbs the moisture from the onion and parsley, binds the mixture and makes the meatballs soft and fluffy. Use 1.5 slices of soft white bread instead if desired. I do not recommend using breadcrumbs instead in this recipe.
  • Salt and pepper.

The mushroom sauce

  • Mushrooms: I used ordinary white mushrooms but you can use chestnut mushrooms instead or in addition to the regular mushrooms.
  • Onion.
  • Oil: vegetable or olive.
  • Stock: adds flavour. Either vegetable or chicken stock will work.
  • Flour: thickens the sauce.
  • Single/light cream: approx. 18% fat.
  • Sour cream: regular or reduced-fat.
Ingredients for making meatballs in mushroom sauce in individual dishes.
Meatballs in mushroom sauce ingredients.

What meat to use

These easy meatballs with mushroom sauce can be made with any ground meat (such as turkey, pork, beef or chicken).  Make sure it’s low in fat but not too lean, such as chicken breast for example (it contains very little fat).  I used ground turkey thigh meat with 7% fat (anything less might result in your meatballs being a little dry).

How big should meatballs be

This depends on the type of dish you are making. This recipe, for example, contains a generous amount of chunky mushroom sauce so the meatballs need to be quite sizeable, otherwise the sauce would dominate the dish. If you are making meatballs for soup, on the other hand, the meatballs should be smaller.

Do I have to cook the meatballs before putting in the sauce

You should not cook the meatballs completely, but I strongly recommend browning them briefly for added colour and flavour. They will finish cooking in the mushroom sauce, which will not only infuse them with flavour but also keep them moist and soft. The sauce, on the other hand, absorbs the juices from the meat so the finished dish is truly delicious!

How to make meatballs for mushroom sauce

1.Prepare the meatball mixture. To a food processor add the onion, parsley and bread pieces.

Chopped onion, parsley and chinks of bread in blender.

2. Pulse briefly until the mixture is crumbly.

Crumbly mixture of bread and onion in blender bowl.

3. Add the meat, salt and pepper and pulse again a few times just to combine the ingredients (do not overblend).

Meatball mixture in blender bowl.

4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and form good size meatballs (you should have 12-14 meatballs).

Raw meatballs on top of large white plate.

5. In a large non-stick pan heat up 2 teaspoons of oil, add the meatballs and brown them quickly over a medium heat turning often (this should take no longer than 4 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside (they will finish cooking in the sauce).

Top down view of browned meatballs in large pan.

How to make healthy mushroom sauce for meatballs

1.Prepare the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms in a food processor and pulse several times until finely chopped, but be careful not to overblend the mixture (you can do this in 2 batches).

Top down view of chopped mushrooms in blender bowl.

2. To the pan add 1 tablespoon of oil, heat up then add the onion and cook gently for about 3 minutes stirring often. Add the finely chopped mushrooms and cook over a medium heat for several minutes until all the juices have been absorbed, stirring often.

3. Add the flour and stir until it’s no longer visible.

Frying chopped mushrooms in large pan with blue spoon.

4. Pour in most of the stock and the cream and continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens. Stir in the sour cream and adjust the seasoning as needed (the sauce should be quite thick at this point).

Creamy mushroom sauce in large shallow pan with blue spoon.

How to assemble the recipe

1. Place the meatballs in the sauce, cover, bring to the boil then simmer gently for 10-12 minutes (or until the meatballs are cooked through) stirring occasionally.

Meatballs in chunky mushroom sauce in large shallow pan.

2. Top up with a little more stock, if necessary, remove from the heat, garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy your meatballs in mushroom sauce!

Serving suggestions

These healthy meatballs and mushroom sauce are great with mashed potatoes, roasted mashed rutabaga/swede or pasta, but you could also serve them with bulgur wheat, quinoa or buckwheat. Also delicious with fresh crusty bread. Other sides you can use include steamed vegetables, such as broccoli or carrots.

Do I have to use the food processor

I strongly recommend it – for both the mushrooms as well as meatballs. It will not only save you time, but will also improve the texture of your meatballs. The food processor combines ingredients quickly and efficiently producing perfectly soft meatballs (though be careful not to overblend the ingredients).

If, however, you prefer not to use the food processor to make the meatball mixture that’s ok too. Just be sure to chop the onion and parsley as finely as you can. Also add a splash of milk to the bread pieces then gently squeeze out excess moisture before combining the bread with the other ingredients using your hands (the texture of your meatballs will be coarser than if you were using the food processor).

Can I make the mushroom sauce creamy

Yes, you can! I like the chunky texture of this mushroom sauce, but you can make it creamy if you prefer. Once cooked simply puree the sauce then pour back into the pan, and cook your meatballs in mushroom sauce as per Instructions.

Side view of meatballs and mushroom sauce in large shallow red pan.

What can I make ahead

You can prepare the meatballs ahead. Brown then cool them completely before refrigerating (covered) overnight.

You can also make the mushroom sauce in advance. Once the sauce has cooled completely transfer it to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. 

When you are ready to put the recipe together heat up the sauce in a large shallow dish first, then add in the meatballs and cook as per Instructions.

Top tips

  • You can use any ground meat with approx. 7% fat (I used turkey).
  • I like to combine the meatball ingredients in a blender (rather than stir by hand) as this produces soft meatballs, but you can stir the ingredients with a spoon if you prefer a coarser texture.
  • I recommend using the same large non-stick pan to make the meatballs, cook the mushroom sauce as well as the final dish.
  • Brown the meatballs (but do not cook completely) before combining with the sauce. Transfer to a plate (to stop the cooking process) while you make the sauce.
  • You probably won’t need to add any salt into the sauce (the stock is salty) but be generous with the pepper.
  • These healthy meatballs in mushroom sauce are best served hot.
  • If the sauce thickens add a splash of water to loosen the consistency.
  • Storing: Keep refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.

Freezing

Make the meatballs, brown them and set aside to cool. Cook the mushroom sauce then cool completely before combining with the meatballs. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight then transfer to a shallow pan and cook as per Instructions

Check out also these other easy meal recipe ideas including this collection of healthy chicken recipes!

Keep in touch!

If you make this meatballs in mushroom sauce recipe I’d love to know how it turned out for you.  Did you make any substitutions? Let me know in the comments below, thanks!

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Top down view of meatballs in mushroom sauce in large pan.

Healthy Meatballs in Mushroom Sauce

These meatballs in mushroom sauce are a delicious meal idea, low in fat and made using simple ingredients.  Cooked from scratch in just over 35 minutes!

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Course: Dinner

Cuisine: healthy, International

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 341kcal

Instructions

Make the meatballs

  • To a food processor add the onion, parsley and bread pieces. Pulse briefly until the mixture is crumbly.

  • Add the meat, salt and pepper and pulse again a few times just to combine the ingredients (do not overblend).

  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl and form good size meatballs (you should have 12-14 meatballs).

  • In a large non-stick pan heat up 2 teaspoons of oil, add the meatballs and brown them quickly over a medium heat turning often (this should take no longer than 4 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside (they will finish cooking in the sauce).

Make the mushroom sauce

  • Place the mushrooms in a food processor and pulse several times until finely chopped, but be careful not to overblend the mixture (you can do this in 2 batches).

  • To the pan add 1 tablespoon of oil, heat up then add the onion and cook gently for about 3 minutes stirring often. Add the finely chopped mushrooms and cook over a medium heat for several minutes until all the juices have been absorbed, stirring often.

  • Add the flour and stir until it’s no longer visible.

  • Pour in most of the stock and the cream and continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens. Stir in the sour cream and adjust the seasoning as needed (the sauce should be quite thick at this point).

Assemble the recipe

  • Place the meatballs in the sauce, cover, bring to the boil then simmer gently for 10-12 minutes (or until the meatballs are cooked through) stirring occasionally.

  • Top up with a little more stock, if necessary, remove from the heat and enjoy your meatballs in mushroom sauce!

Notes

  • You can use any ground meat with approx. 7% fat (I used turkey).
  • I like to combine the meatball ingredients in a blender (rather than stir by hand) as this produces soft meatballs, but you can stir the ingredients with a spoon if you prefer a coarser texture.
  • I recommend using the same large non-stick pan to make the meatballs, cook the mushroom sauce as well as the final dish.
  • Brown the meatballs (but do not cook completely) before combining with the sauce. Transfer to a plate (to stop the cooking process) while you make the sauce.
  • You probably won’t need to add any salt into the sauce (the stock is salty) but be generous with the pepper.
  • These healthy meatballs in mushroom sauce are best served hot.
  • If the sauce thickens add a splash of water to loosen the consistency.
  • Storing: Keep refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Make the meatballs, brown them and set aside to cool. Cook the mushroom sauce then cool completely before combining with the meatballs. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight then transfer to a shallow pan and cook as per Instructions

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 516mg | Potassium: 740mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 687IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3mg

*Nutritional information is automatically generated and should be considered as an estimate.

**A note about baking: If using a fan-assisted oven refer to your appliance’s instructions and adjust the temperature accordingly.





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