Meatballs are a reliable crowd pleaser, and this egg free recipe is one of our family favourites! Even the youngest family members can enjoy them; they are a great baby led weaning option. Cook up a batch and keep a stash in the freezer for a quick midweek dinner. Like all the recipes on this website, they are free from dairy, egg and soya. They are also nut free and have a gluten free option.
Meatballs with an extra nutritional boost for babies and kids
These egg free meatballs have a couple of secret ingredients which really boost their nutritional value; carrots and nutritional yeast! Hear me out… I know this doesn’t sound like an obvious combo, but it really works – both in terms of flavour and health benefits.
Nutritional yeast is a supercharged ingredient. It is a source of protein and fibre, and is high in a range of vitamins and minerals including zinc and vitamin B6. Most versions are additionally fortified with B12 and folic acid. It can be hard to get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 on a dairy free diet, so this is a good way to include it.
Carrots are a brilliant source of Vitamin A, alongside many others such as Vitamin C and Potassium. As well as being a healthy addition, they help keep the meatballs moist and add a slight sweetness. This is a great way to include some carrot in your child’s diet if they are a veg avoider. The carrot is grated so finely they won’t know it’s there!
As well as the secret ingredients, there is a not-so secret ingredient – beef! Beef is a fantastic source of iron, and according to Annabel Karmel, the Queen of Weaning, iron is considered to be the most critical nutrient for babies. Absorption of iron is increased when paired with a Vitamin C rich food… such as carrots!
How to bind meatballs without eggs
The best method I’ve tried to bind meatballs without eggs is to use a flax egg. To make a flax egg you simply need to mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 2 and a half tablespoons of cold water. Mix well and set aside for at least 10 minutes, ideally in the fridge. The mix will start to thicken and become gloopy.
Chilling the formed meatballs in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking is a good idea. It’s not essential, but it does help them maintain their shape when cooking.
What to serve with egg free meatballs
It can be hard to think up meals that suit the youngest to the oldest family members, but meatballs will keep everyone happy! They are really versatile; here are a few serving suggestions:
- With a roasted tomato or mixed veg sauce and spaghetti, rice or cous cous
- As part of a mezze type lunch with dips, veg sticks (slightly steamed for babies with minimal teeth!) and breadsticks. This style of lunch can be a great lunchbox option
- With mashed potato, gravy (always check ingredients) and peas or beans
- With homemade sweet potato wedges and steamed veg
Are egg free meatballs suitable for baby led weaning?
They certainly are! As mentioned above, it’s important to include iron rich foods in your baby’s diet from 6 months. These meatballs are quite soft and should be easy for babies to chew, but use your judgement on what your baby is able to manage when you are in the early stages of weaning.
Babies are likely to find it easiest to pick these up if you slice them into halves or quarters. Or, you can mash or chop them up small and serve on a pre-loaded spoon.
Can egg free meatballs be frozen?
These are a fantastic option for batch cooking and freezing. It’s easy to double up the quantities with hardly any extra effort. Freeze the meatballs when raw and defrost thoroughly before cooking.
To stop them sticking together in the freezer, you can initially freeze them laid flat on some greaseproof paper, and then transfer to a freezer bag or tupperware.
Egg free meatballs for babies & kids
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2½ tbsp cold water
- 30 g carrot, peeled and finely grated
- 400 g beef mince
- 30 g breadcrumbs (panko breadrumbs also work well. Swap for gluten free if needed)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1½ tsp mixed herbs
- olive oil for frying
- Make a flax egg by mixing 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 2½ tablespoons cold water. Give it a good mix and set aside for at least 10 minutes to thicken up.
- Give the grated carrot a good squeeze over a bowl or sink to get rid of any excess moisture. Then add the carrot to a large mixing bowl.
- Next add your beef mince to the mixing bowl, followed by the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and mixed herbs.
- When the flax egg mixture has thickened up, add that to the mixing bowl too. Using your hands, mix it up really well – give that mince a good squish!
- Next shape the mixture into roughly 22 small balls – depending on how large you make them you can get between 20 and 24 meatballs from this mixture. At this point set aside any meatballs you want to freeze.
- If you have time, chill your meatballs in the fridge for 30 minutes before cooking. This is not an essential step, but does help them retain their shape during cooking.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a large frying pan, over a medium heat. Add the meat balls and cook for around 10 minutes, turning regularly, until they are browned on the outside and cooked all the way through. You may need to do this in batches – I often use 2 frying pans at once!
- If needed, use some kitchen paper to dab off any excess oil before serving.
- If you or your child has an allergy, always double check that the recipe and all of the components are suitable. This includes checking ‘may contain’ statements on each ingredient and making your own assessment of risk based on personal circumstances.
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