Cholesterol diet plan

Delicious Cholesterol-Friendly Italian Meatballs

Beef is often avoided by those with high cholesterol because it’s high in fat. But cooking with extra lean beef mince is a great way to continue eating beef as part of a low cholesterol diet, because it only contains 2g of saturated fat per 100g.

I love making meatballs, because they’re so easy, and you can add lots of vegetables to the sauce, making it a really healthy, nutritious and filling meal. You can also add lots of cholesterol-reducing ingredients, like garlic, ground flaxseeds, beans, olives and spinach.

It’s quite a long ingredient list, but some of the ingredients are optional – just exclude anything you don’t like. Once you’ve made the meatballs and chopped the vegetables, you just have to add things to the pan in stages and stir, so it’s a very easy recipe.

The secret ingredients are the soy sauce and sun-dried tomatoes, so I’d recommend not leaving those out. The soy sauce adds a really rich flavour and colour, and the sun-dried tomatoes add a lovely tangy taste.

Sundried tomatoes

Information

  • Serves: 4-6
  • Preparation time: 10 mins
  • Cooking time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1kg extra lean mince (i.e. 2g sat fat per 100g)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2-6 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped (see notes)
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 pitted kalamata or black olives (optional)
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (optional)
  • 200g tinned chickpeas/kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water (optional)
  • Accompaniments (e.g. wholewheat spaghetti or courgette noodles)

Method

  1. Take small handfuls of the beef mince and roll into meatballs in your hands (about 3cm diameter).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan (medium-to-high heat).
  3. Add the diced onion and fry until soft (about 3 mins).
  4. Add the meatballs and fry until sealed (8-10 mins), turning every few mins.
  5. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, soy sauce, stock cubes, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, olives and ground flaxseeds, then stir together.
  6. Simmer for 10 mins (you can use this time to prepare your accompaniments). Add a small amount of water to the pan after 5 mins if you want a thinner consistency.
  7. Add the chickpeas/beans (if using) and spinach, stir, then simmer for 2 mins.
  8. Add chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with accompaniments.

Notes

  • Garlic is a great cholesterol-lowering food, so I use 1 clove per person, but use as much as you like. I use a garlic mincer, as I don’t really like the taste of the ready-minced garlic you can buy in jars.
  • The meatballs can be kept in the fridge once cooked to eat later in the week. In fact, I find they always taste even better once they’ve been left a couple of days. They also freeze really well.

For more cholesterol-friendly recipes and tips on how to reduce cholesterol naturally, click here.