Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #34: Meatball Sandwich

Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #34: Meatball Sandwich
This was our 34th cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. We’ll be going on hiatus for a few weeks due to our annual Halloween party as well as a small trip I’m taking to Victoria. Also, this time of year is just insanely busy… which is why I’m only just now getting around to posting this meal, which we actually made last weekend. Whoops. Anyway, for this one we chose “Meatball Sandwich, Pickled Cabbage, Chopped Salad, and Banana Ice Cream.” We chose it because we took a punt the week before and bought bananas, reckoning they’d ripen up in time to use. They did! I was on chef’s duty for this one and – though I thought I was speeding along – I clocked in at a disappointing 40:46. It was tasty though.

Meatball Sandwich meal

Substitutions: I actually made a double-batch of the meatballs (simply because I accidentally thawed too much hamburger). Other than that, we followed the recipe pretty much exactly!

Quick verdict: Nothing too challenging or objectionable here! Just a nice simple meal, and probably one that would appeal to kids as well. The sandwich was hearty, but I thought the meatballs were a little bland. The red cabbage really perked up the sandwich though, especially with the chilli and mint. (The recipe makes more than double the slaw actually need. We were eating it all week.) The chopped salad was very good, with the avocado and feta giving it an almost creamy texture. The “ice cream” was a bit of a gimmick, and I’m not sure the coconut added much. We both rated it an 8 out of 10. A pretty good meal, but nothing that really stood out as amazing. You could feed this one to just about anybody though!

Read on for a photo essay of the preparation.Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels. The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready to go. The oven was turned on to 160C. The food processor was fitted with the slicing disc. We had sliced and pre-frozen the bananas as directed. We had two frying pans for the meatballs (since I cooked so many), and a roasting pan for finishing them in the oven.

First up are the ingredients for the meatball sandwich: basil, minced beef, wholegrain mustard, lemon, egg, pancetta, ciabatta, and Jarlsberg cheese.

Sandwich ingredients

For the red cabbage: red cabbage, red onion, mint, red chilli, and lemon.

Red cabbage ingredients

For the chopped salad: cucumber, tomatoes, avocadoes, basil, salad leaves, English mustard, red wine vinegar, and feta cheese.

Chopped salad

For the ice cream: pre-sliced and frozen bananas, yoghurt, honey, desiccated coconut, and crunchy biscotti.

Ice cream ingredients

Pots and pans, ready to go! All of the pans are for the meatballs.

Pots and pans

The food processor, fitted with the slicing disc. (You also use the blade later on the ice cream.)

Food processor

And I’m off! I began by roughly chopping the basil for the meatballs.

Chopping basil

I added the basil to the minced beef and added lemon zest.

Zesting lemon

Then I separated an egg yolk…

Egg yolk

…before adding it to the mix.

The mix

To finish the meat mixture, I added salt, pepper, wholegrain mustard, and olive oil.

Seasoning the meat

Once I scrunched all the meat up with my hands to thoroughly mix it, I divided the bowl into even segments so my meatballs would be roughly the same size. They all went into the hot frying pans to cook!


Now for the slaw. I started by breaking down the red cabbage.

Chopping red cabbage

I ran the cabbage through the food processor to slice it, then dumped it in a bowl.

Sliced cabbage

I finely chopped up a chilli…

Chopping chilli

…before adding it to the bowl along with sliced red onion and mint.

Adding onion and mint

My meatballs were brown at this point, so I combined them all into the roasting pan. Then I draped the pancetta slices over the top and put the whole thing into the oven to keep cooking. I also chucked the ciabatta on the bottom shelf to warm.

Meatballs into the oven

I finished the slaw by dressing it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and lemon juice.

Dressing the slaw

After a thorough scrunch, it was done!

Red cabbage slaw

Next I moved on to the chopped salad. Jamie assembles all of this on a wooden board, but I couldn’t be bothered. I chopped each component up and chucked it in a bowl. First, the cucumber.

Chopping cucumber

Next tomatoes.


I then added the avocado flesh and some chopped basil.

Avocado and basil

To make the dressing, I combined English mustard and salt…

Mustard and salt

…with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Oil and vinegar

I added the salad leaves to the bowl, then poured the whisked dressing over the top.

Dressing the salad

To finish it, I gave it a toss and then crumbled feta on top.

Crumbling feta

Now for the ice cream! I cleaned the food processor and chucked in the frozen bananas, yoghurt, and honey.

Making ice cream

Then I whizzed it all up!

Whizzed ice cream

I put the coconut into a bowl and tried to roll each spoonful of ice cream in it to cover. It didn’t work that well; my ice cream wasn’t very stiff. (I think the bananas may have thawed too much.) Eventually I just spooned the ice cream into the serving bowls and sprinkled coconut on top.

Rolling ice cream in coconut

Time to assemble the sandwich! I took out the warm ciabatta and carefully cut it in half.

Slicing the ciabatta

I drizzled each slice with extra virgin olive oil and then laid slices of Jarlsberg cheese on top.


Then I added a good handful of slaw to each one.

Topping with slaw

Here’s how the meatballs and pancetta looked as they came out of the oven.

Meatballs and pancetta

I added the meat to the sandwiches…


…and here they are finished!

Finished sandwiches

Here’s the completed meal of meatball sandwich with chopped salad (and beer).

Completed meal

And here’s the finished dessert (after it had firmed up a bit more in the freezer) with some biscotti on the side.

Banana ice cream

Tasting notes: I think to an American, a “meatball sandwich” is an entirely different beast. I was expecting something in a sauce, frankly. The Snook explains that this is more what he thinks an Australian or British person might expect. It was a good sandwich though, and I think the red cabbage slaw is the key. It really adds some nice texture, colour, and zinginess to what is otherwise pretty much just a burger. The chopped salad was a nice accompaniment, giving the meal a summertime picnic feel. As for the ice cream, I wish he’d give up these attempts to fake it with whizzed up fruit! I get that fruit and yoghurt is “healthier,” but it never seems to come out firm enough within the time allotted. The Snook thinks it might have been more exciting if I’d had time to refreeze the little balls before rolling them in the coconut, and I tend to agree. Still, overall we liked all the components of this meal just fine. It might be a good one to try with kids, as it’s mostly familiar but introduces some interesting elements. Overall an 8 out of 10 for us.

Stay tuned in a few weeks for another recipe from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals!


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  1. Your meatball sandwich looks so yummy and my kind of burger – the gourmet kind 😀 I love red cabbage but sadly it doesn’t get used very much in recipes. I think your right that it would perk up the burger.

    btw.. flies seemed to have died off today ;D

  2. we made this one a couple of months back. it was a hit with the kids (well, they didn’t touch the cabbage). they looooved the banana ice-cream.

  3. I love making frozen banana ice cream… The banana has to be really, really frozen for it to work, and ii’ve found it doesn’t need anything added most of the time.

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