Traditionally served with spaghetti and a tomato-based sauce, this dish adds a twist by including it as a finger food.   The inclusion of  peppers when serving also increases vegetable consumption. Taking only a short time to prepare and cook, this dish is easy and practical whilst using low-cost ingredients.  This dish can be decorated with other ingredients to make faces, making it ideal for a children’s party.

Serves:  4 (3 meatballs each)

Dietary: milk-free, gluten-free, nut-free, sesame-free, mustard-free, celery-free, and egg-free

May contain: Sulphates (meatballs)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


400 g Meatballs, pork, beef or turkey
1 large red pepper
1 small onion
400 g can tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tsp mixed dry herbs
Pepper to taste
1 tsp of sunflower oil
Cocktail Sticks



  1. Wash hands.
  2. Chop half the pepper into sticks and dice the rest along with the onions. Finely chop the garlic.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan and add meatballs, slowly cooking until browned.
  4. Add the diced peppers, garlic, onions, and fry until lightly browned and set aside.
  5. Put the stick peppers into the frying pan and lightly brown.
  6. Add cooked stick pepper and meatballs to a cocktail stick.
  7. Add chopped tomatoes and the cooked onions to a boiling pan, season with a pinch of pepper and mixed herbs, and cook until warm.
  8. Spoon the tomato mixture into a dipping bowl and serve with the cocktail sticks.


This recipe has been donated by Lauren Hughes, a student Nutritionist, Liverpool Hope University



Per meatball
Total calories: 75 kcal
Fat: 3.0 g
of which saturates 1.2 g
Carbohydrate: 3.0 g
of which are sugars 2.4 g
Fibre: 0.9 g
Protein: 8.3 g
Salt: 0.35 g



  • This dish is a good source of protein and vitamin C.
  • This dish has no added sugar or salt. Leading a high-sugar and salt diet can result in the development of negative health conditions.
  • Regularly consuming high-sugar and salt foods from a young age can lead to children developing high sugar and salt thresholds. As a result of this, children will seek foods high in sugar and salt later in life, which is likely to impact their health.
  • Refined sugars should be avoided, and naturally occurring sugars should be consumed instead, like that from fruit and vegetables, due to the added consumption of other essential nutrients.



  • This dish can be adapted to suit available time and dietary requirements. For example, this dish utilises store-bought meatballs. However, if more time is available and a fresher product is required, the meatballs can be prepared at home using minced meat and seasoning.
  • The meatballs in this dish can also be changed to suit the consumer’s preferences and dietary and nutritional requirements. For example, a meat-free meatball could be used to replace the meat or a different type of meat could be used, e.g. turkey mince rather than beef. Lower fat mince could also be selected if required.
  • The dip used in this dish can also be changed to suit the consumer’s preference. This dish uses a tin of chopped tomatoes. However, a dip made with fresh vegetables could be used if preferred.
  • The vegetables used in the dish can also be changed to suit season, cost and prep time.


Consumer tested by Aoife Kelly, Student Nutritionist

Checked by Kathy Lewis, R.Nutr., Registered Nutritionist


©  The Caroline Walker Trust 2021