Last minute dinner sorted: Cook cheesy meatballs tonight

Mince, mash, cheese: three of life’s ultimate comfort foods for when comfort is so much in need. You could think of this as a deconstructed cottage pie, or a pastry-less potato topper. What it is, really, is more attractively rendered version of the classic mince and tatties, which is to say, a dish everyone will enjoy.

There’s a side salad here, but you could just as easily serve up peas cooked from frozen, green beans or, really, nothing at all. The meat and potatoes are the main event.

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Cheesy meatballs with thyme potato mash and cherry tomato spinach salad

by Nadia Lim


Thyme potato mash

600g potatoes, peeled and diced 2cm

1 tablespoon butter

3-4 tablespoons milk

2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

Cheesy meatballs

450g beef mince

½ cup dried wholemeal breadcrumbs

1 carrot, grated

1 courgette, grated

1 egg

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon tomato sauce

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup grated colby cheese

Cherry tomato spinach salad

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon runny honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

1 apple

2–3 handfuls baby spinach leaves


Preheat oven to 220C. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Cook in pot of boiling water for 12–15 minutes until soft potatoes.

Drain, return to pot with butter, milk and thyme and mash until smooth.

Place all cheesy meatball ingredients (except cheese) in a large bowl, season with pepper and mix well to combine.

Use a heaped tablespoon measure and damp hands to roll into large golf ball-sized balls. Place on prepared tray and gently press the top of each ball to flatten slightly. Sprinkle cheese over each ball. Back for 10 minutes.

Turn grill to high and grill for about 2 minutes until cheese is golden brown, check regularly to avoid burning.

While meatballs are cooking prepare the salad. Whisk vinegar, mustard, honey and olive oil together in a bowl; cut cherry tomatoes in half; dice apple 1cm; place all in bowl with dressing and spinach leaves and toss to coat.

To serve

Divide thyme potato mash and cherry tomato spinach salad between plates and serve cheesy meatballs on the side.

More last-minute dinners

Pasta with long-cooked broccoli, by Ray McVinnie. Full recipe here.

Lemon & thyme chicken with pea & potato mash, by Olivia Andrews. Full recipe here.

Corn fritters with roast vegetable salad, by Nadia Lim. Full recipe here.

Cajun fish wraps and kumara chips with salad, by Nadia Lim. Full recipe here.

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