Lemon, fennel and chilli pork meatballs

I have definitely flicked that Christmas over eating switch. I need to reign it back in as it is only December 6th! I also want to lighten what I eat a bit. I absolutely want to make and eat food that denies the weather and speaks of brighter times. 

These meatballs are a perfect start. Have them with your carb of choice – pasta, rice, potatoes (pile them on a baked potato!), cous cous, or have them with your brunch eggs. I love meatballs with my eggs, they are the perfect vehicle for dragging through a runny egg yolk. These would be great in a sandwich too! Add some cheese and make a toastie or have them in a baguette. 

I originally made these with wild boar which I get from my farmers market but I fully understand that wild boar is not an easy meat to source. It is great if you can though, so do use it, but I also make these with pork. I make these gluten free and so the lightness that would normally come from bread, I add with some chickpea flour. The real joy of that experiment was that it gifted the meatballs a lovely crust.

Gluten Free Meatballs – use chickpea flour in place of soaked breadcrumbs 

Long before my doctor put me on this gluten free diet I have always had chickpea flour in my cupboard. I adore panelle, socca, all the different types of chickpea pancakes. It is so useful and versatile. I still dream about one I bought from a chickpea farmer at a market in Provence about 4 or 5 years ago. It was bright yellow and memories of socca in Nice from my youth prompted the purchase. It was incredible tasting so much of chickpea (which chickpea flour doesn’t often do). Gram flour from Indian shops is chickpea flour also. 

Lemon, fennel and Aleppo chilli pork meatballs
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Lemon, fennel and Aleppo chilli pork meatballs


  • 400g minced pork, minced
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo chilli (substitute a chilli of your choice if you can't get it)
  • the zest of one unwaxed lemon
  • 50g chickpea flour
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400ml tomato passata
  • parsley
  • 2 tbsp frying oil of your choice (I used extra virgin rapeseed oil)
  • optional: sherry or cider vinegar


  • This couldn't be easier. Put the zest, chilli, fennel seeds, garlic, chickpea flour, a good pinch of sea salt and the pork into a food processor and blitz until it has come together well.
  • Taste test a small portion and adjust the salt if necessary.
  • Shape into small meatballs (mine were just a little smaller than a ping pong ball and I made 22).
  • Fry in the oil over a medium heat until brown all over.
  • Add the passata, bring to the boil and leave to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little hot water from the kettle if it looks like it is drying out.
  • Taste and adjust salt levels. Depending on your tomatoes you may like to add a splash of vinegar (I like sherry or cider vinegar) to liven it up.
  • Top with parsley and serve immediately with the carb of your choice.
  • https://eatlikeagirl.com/lemon-fennel-chilli-pork-meatballs/

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    Written by Niamh
    Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.