Italian Chicken Meatballs with Cherry Tomato Sauce

Makes 12 meatballs

Chicken meatballs in NZ are sure to be a crowd-pleasing favourite!

Using free range chicken gives these meatballs a lighter feel than the traditional version while still being full of  flavour. We’ve garnished with roasted cherry tomatoes but this is optional. A handful of fresh basil and some great bread for mopping up the sauce is all you need.

Whether you’re hosting friends and family or in need of a quick and healthy mid-week meal idea, this chicken meatballs recipe in NZ is always a winner!


1 tray Bird & Barrow Free Range Chicken Mince

¼ onion, finely diced

¼ capsicum, finely diced

¼ cup pitted black olives, finely diced

1 egg, lightly whisked

½ cup almond meal

2 tbsp flour

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp sea salt

Cracked black pepper to season

Cherry Tomato Sauce

1 large cloves garlic, finely diced

2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes

1 cup tomato passata

½ cup water

Handful fresh basil leaves


To serve: Sourdough bread, fresh basil leaves, roasted cherry tomatoes (optional)


  1. Mix together the onion, capsicum, olives, chicken mince and egg in a large bowl. Add the almond meal, flour, oregano, salt and a generous seasoning of pepper.
  2. Use wet hands (this is important!) to form meatballs using heaped tablespoons of mince. Place the meatballs in the fridge to firm up for 1 hour if possible.
  3. Heat a generous glug of olive in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Cook the meatballs in 2 batches for 4 minutes on each side until golden. They don’t need to be completely cooked through at this stage, as you’ll simmer them in the sauce. Set aside while you start the sauce.
  4. Wipe out the pan and add another good glug of oil. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tinned cherry tomatoes, tomato passata and water. Simmer for five minutes. Add the chicken meatballs and simmer for another 10–12 minutes until the meatballs are completely cooked through. Season generously with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Toss through the fresh basil. Garnish with additional fresh basil leaves and roasted cherry tomatoes if using.
  5. Enjoy with chunks of sourdough bread.

Serving Suggestion

For a creative take on these chicken mince meatballs in NZ, serve them alongside al dente spaghetti or your preferred pasta. Top with a flavorful cherry tomato sauce for a taste of Italy.

Enhance the dish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Complement your meal with a crisp green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette.

Delicious chicken will always be the hero of this dish, so be sure to choose fresh and free range chicken mince for a rich, hearty dish.

This chicken meatballs recipe in NZ is sure to please, offering a delicious blend of flavours. Complete the experience with a glass of red wine, such as Chianti or Sangiovese. Buon appetito!