Chilli Meatball Orzo

  • 20MINS
  • 47MINS
  • Serves 6
  • 358KCAL

Not sure what to have for dinner tonight? This slimming friendly dish is a new spin on meatballs and pasta, with a twist of chilli!

  • Batch Cook pinchofnom.com
  • Dairy Free pinchofnom.com
  • Everyday Light pinchofnom.com
Easy Peasy Chilli Meatball Orzo pinchofnom.com
5

NutritionPer Serving

  • Calories358
  • Carbs41g
  • Protein30g
  • Fat5.9g
  • Saturates2.3g
  • Sugars8.3g

Chilli Meatball Orzo - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

For the full list of ingredients and comprehensive instructions, please see the recipe card below. Before you scroll, there’s important stuff in the blurb!

We love to mix some of our favourite meals together to come up with brand new ideas for dinner – and this Chilli Meatball Orzo might just be one of our favourite creations!

It’s a combo of chilli con carne and meatballs with pasta, but, because it uses orzo, it reminds us of a risotto too. Can’t decide what to have for dinner? This is the best of all worlds!

To keep the recipe slimming friendly, we’ve used reduced fat mince and plenty of veggies. This means that you get a super hearty, filling and delicious dinner, all for 358 calories. It freezes well too, so this dish is a batch cooking dream. 

Our recipe gives the chilli a mild heat, so it’s perfect if you’re cooking for people who aren’t big fans of spicy dishes. If you like yours a little more fiery, there’s no reason you can’t be a bit more generous with the chilli powder!

What diets is this Chilli Meatball Orzo suitable for?

This Chilli Meatball Orzo recipe is dairy free. It can be made gluten free as long as you swap out the following ingredients for gluten free versions; 

  • Medium slice wholemeal bread
  • Beef stock cube
  • Orzo

Please make sure to double or triple check all of your ingredients if you’re cooking for people with allergies.

How Weight Watchers friendly is this Chilli Meatball Orzo recipe?

Weight Watchers’ new PersonalPoints plan calculates each individual’s Points allowance based on their unique food preferences and goals. This means we’re no longer able to offer exact WW points for our recipes.

The good news is that all of our recipes are still Weight Watchers friendly! If you have any questions about your Points budgets or you’re unsure how a certain recipe will fit into your plan, please reach out to Weight Watchers directly.

Do you need any special ingredients to make Chilli Meatball Orzo?

You’ll need some orzo which is a type of pasta that looks a little bit like rice. You can find it in your usual supermarket, alongside the other varieties of dried pasta. 

There are a couple of bits of equipment that can help to make this recipe easier:

Hints & Tips

Below we added some of our communities most common hints and tips. We hope you find them useful.

NEW TIP
If you like your chilli with a little more heat, use a hot chilli powder rather than mild chilli powder.
NEW TIP
Chilli Meatball Orzo with garlic green beans - So Yummy!
Easy to prepare, add more chilli if you like it hot, but the recipe amount was just perfect for us. Really tasty & filling, served with garlic beans. Delicious!
NEW TIP
Spicy spicy
I used ready made Quorn meatballs and vege stock to make the recipe vegetarian

We love hearing from you, submit any tips or tricks you have for this dish and we’ll review them and add some of them here. Just click here.

SEND US a HINT & TIP, Or QUOTE for this recipe

THANKS
we have your picture

The process

  • Check Now we have your Hint & tip
    we’ll check them over.
  • Review We’ll review your Hint & Tip, and see if its suitable to use on the website.

Your details

  • Name: %name%
  • Recipe: %recipeName%

YOUR HINTS & TIPS

Your “QUOTE”

SWAG!

Due to the large number of submissions we recieve we’re afraid we’ll only inform you if we use it on the Recipe page - then we’ll send you some swag…

(Please remember others may of had the same idea as you!)

Close

‘This is a filling, family meal. Easy to make and enjoyed by all the family.’

Emma Whitehouse

This post contains affiliate links: what this means

You’ll need a large casserole dish with a lid that’s suitable for using on the hob. This one is hob safe and oven safe so it will come in handy for a wide range of dishes.

A mini food processor like this one is ideal for whizzing up bread to make breadcrumbs. 

How many calories are in this Chilli Meatball Orzo?

There are 358 calories in each portion of this Chilli Meatball Orzo recipe, which means it falls into our Everyday Light recipe category. If you’re counting calories or following one of the popular diet plans like Weight Watchers, this recipe fits in perfectly!

NHS guidelines suggest men should aim for 2,500 calories per day to maintain a healthy body weight, and women require around 2000 calories. Each person has different calorie requirements depending on their goal, so you may want to adjust your daily calorie intake according to your own personal goal.

Step 1

For the meatballs: place the bread in a food processor or mini chopper and blitz until it becomes fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can use a coarse grater to do this.

Step 1 pinchofnom.com

Step 2

Place the minced beef, onion, garlic, chilli powder, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Use clean hands to mix together well and divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into 12 meatballs.

Step 2 pinchofnom.com Step 2 pinchofnom.com

Step 3

Spray a large deep frying pan with low calorie cooking spray. Place over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning, to seal and lightly brown on all sides.

Step 3 pinchofnom.com

Step 4

Remove the sealed meatballs from the frying pan and place on a plate. Set aside.

Step 5

To make the sauce: Add the onion, green and red peppers to the frying pan, stir and fry over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is golden and the peppers soften.

Step 5 pinchofnom.com

Step 6

Add the garlic, chilli powder, paprika and cumin, stir and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

Step 6 pinchofnom.com

Step 7

Lower the heat and add the stock cube to the water. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock, kidney beans and orzo to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper. Stir well, then place the sealed meatballs in the sauce.

Step 7 pinchofnom.com Step 7 pinchofnom.com

Step 8

Cover with a lid or cover tightly with foil. Simmer gently over the lowest heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until piping hot throughout.

Step 9

The meatballs should be cooked through and have no pinkness inside, the orzo should be tender, and the sauce should be thickened slightly.

Step 10

Stir in the parsley and serve with an accompaniment of your choice.

Chilli Meatball Orzo - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

What could I serve with this Chilli Meatball Orzo?

This recipe is packed with beans and veggies to help make it super filling. If you do want to serve something on the side, we’d recommend adding some steamed vegetables or any of the following side dishes:

Garlic Green Beans pinchofnom.com
Easy Peasy
  • 5MINS
  • 39KCal
Mexican Corn on the Cob pinchofnom.com
Easy Peasy
  • 15MINS
  • 124KCal
Grilled / BBQ Courgettes pinchofnom.com
Easy Peasy
  • 25MINS
  • 70KCal
Mexican Slaw pinchofnom.com
Easy Peasy
  • 10MINS
  • 85KCal

How do you know when Chilli Meatball Orzo is cooked?

The meatballs should be cooked until they are heated all the way through and there is no pinkness left in the middle. You should also make sure that the orzo has softened and the sauce has thickened before serving. This should take around 40 minutes. 

Standard advice here in the UK is to cook food until it has reached 70°C and stayed at that temperature for 2 minutes. This is to keep your family safe. 

How long can you keep Chilli Meatball Orzo in the fridge?

Once you’ve served this recipe, you’ll ideally need to eat it within 4 hours.

This dish is great for batch cooking and will taste even better the next day. You can store any leftover Chilli Meatball Orzo in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Make sure that you allow your leftovers to cool before putting them in a container with a lid and chilling in the refrigerator. 

Can I freeze Chilli Meatball Orzo?

YES you can freeze this recipe! If you do, then remember to do the following:

  • Allow it to cool and then freeze as soon as it is cold enough.
  • Place in a container or bag that is suitable for freezing.
  • Add a label with the recipe name and the date that you froze it. 

How do I reheat Chilli Meatball Orzo?

From chilled: Reheat in a pan, covered with a lid, over a low heat until piping hot. Alternatively, place in a microwavable container with a loosely fitting lid and heat for 4-7 minutes until hot all the way through. Whichever method you choose, you will need to add a little water to thin down the mixture before reheating

From frozen: Allow to defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat using the instructions above. 

PRE-ORDER Our NEW cookbook Enjoy NOW

Chilli Meatball Orzo

Not sure what to have for dinner tonight? This slimming friendly dish is a new spin on meatballs and pasta, with a twist of chilli!
  • Prep Time
    20 MINS
  • Cook Time
    47 MINS
  • KCals 358
  • Carbs 41G

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 500 g 5% fat beef mince
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 medium slice wholemeal bread
  • 1 small egg, beaten with a fork
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

For the sauce

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 600 ml boiling water
  • 400 g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200 g orzo
  • 10 g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • low calorie cooking spray

large, deep frying pan with a lid, or a hob safe casserole dish with a lid

Medium mixing bowl

food processor or mini chopper (useful but not essential)

We use a fan assisted oven for all of our recipes. Check out our oven temperature conversion guide.

Please do not screenshot this. Recipes are updated often

Instructions

  1. For the meatballs: place the bread in a food processor or mini chopper and blitz until it becomes fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can use a coarse grater to do this.
  2. Place the minced beef, onion, garlic, chilli powder, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Use clean hands to mix together well and divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into 12 meatballs.
  3. Spray a large deep frying pan with low calorie cooking spray. Place over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning, to seal and lightly brown on all sides.
  4. Remove the sealed meatballs from the frying pan and place on a plate. Set aside.
  5. To make the sauce: Add the onion, green and red peppers to the frying pan, stir and fry over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is golden and the peppers soften.
  6. Add the garlic, chilli powder, paprika and cumin, stir and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  7. Lower the heat and add the stock cube to the water. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock, kidney beans and orzo to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper. Stir well, then place the sealed meatballs in the sauce.
  8. Cover with a lid or cover tightly with foil. Simmer gently over the lowest heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until piping hot throughout.
  9. The meatballs should be cooked through and have no pinkness inside, the orzo should be tender, and the sauce should be thickened slightly.
  10. Stir in the parsley and serve with an accompaniment of your choice.

Looking for Slimming World Syns?

We agreed with Slimming World to remove their trademarked terms from our website

Find out why here

Recipe notes

Tip: If you haven't got a food processor or mini chopper, you can use a coarse grater to make the breadcrumbs.
Tip: Make sure to rinse the kidney beans after draining them.
Tip: This is mildly spiced, so if you prefer things hotter you can add another teaspoon of chilli powder to the sauce.

If you’ve made Chilli Meatball Orzo and love it, let us know by tagging us in your photos!

PRE-ORDER Our NEW cookbook Enjoy NOW

If you like these…try these

Vegetable Stew with Orzo pinchofnom.com
Easy Peasy
  • 1HR 25
  • 445KCal
Cheesy Fajita Orzotto pinchofnom.com
Cookbook Comfort Food pinchofnom.com
  • 35MINS
  • 477KCal
Mexican Chilli Beef pinchofnom.com
Simple
  • 7HR 10
  • 340KCal

14 comments

See what others have to say

JoTuesday 23rd August 2022

I am coeliac, so need GF. But I can’t find GF orzo anywhere.
Is there anything else I can replace the orzo with?

Thanks,
Jo.

Reply

    SharonWednesday 21st September 2022

    Hi Jo, if you can’t find gluten free orzo you could look for any gluten free tiny pasta shapes that are available and try using them instead. Alternatively, you could try using arborio rice which is gluten free. We haven’t tested these suggestions ourselves but they should work well.Thanks for your question and hope you enjoy this recipe!

    Reply

Maria MartinTuesday 12th April 2022

Hi , would you please be able to make a lighter version of a Teesside Parmosan. It’s a chicken escalope with béchamel sauce and cheese and parmosan cheese. It’s absolutely beautiful and definitely comfort food but is very high in calories.

Reply

    HollyThursday 14th April 2022

    Hey Maria, thanks so much for your message, I’ve just had a look online and a Teesside Parmo looks delicious! Keep your eye out for a PON twist!

    Reply

Catherine TThursday 17th March 2022

Hi. I’ve reduced the quantity on the recipe to make this for 3 of us, rather than 6. However, the amount of water for the stock remains the same (600ml). I’m guessing this is just a website error and I should reduce the water by half as well as the stock cube? Can’t wait to try this!

Reply

    HollyFriday 18th March 2022

    Hey Catherine, Yes if you are halving the recipe everything should be halved including the stock. I’ve now separated the water from the stock cube in the ingredients list so this problem has now been fixed. Hope that helps!

    Reply

SarahMonday 21st February 2022

Sorry, also is 600ml of stock right? Its seems an awful lot and my large frying pan is filled right to the brim and the meatballs are swimming!

Reply

    HollyTuesday 22nd February 2022

    Hey Sarah, 600ml boiling water is correct, for this recipe you need a large deep frying pan so a standard frying pan will be a little too shallow to hold everything. Hope that helps!

    Reply

SarahMonday 21st February 2022

Hi. Just wanted to check. The pictures show a serving of 3 meatballs, but the recipe says 12 meatballs to serve 6 people? 2 Meatballs even with some pasta seems a bit low? I am making this now and can easily make 18 decent size meatballs from the mixture to allow 3 each. Would you be able to confirm. Thank you.x

Reply

    HollyTuesday 22nd February 2022

    Hi Sarah, this recipe serves 6 and when the mixture is split into 12 that is 2 meatballs per person. If you’d like you can make the meatballs smaller so that you get more per portion. Hope that helps!

    Reply

      HelenFriday 25th February 2022

      The pictures show 3 meatballs per plate but if it only makes 12 then a serving should be 2, I think this must be a mistake.
      I made this without the meatballs tonight (just the veggie orzo) using veg stock rather than beef, and it was delicious!!

      HollyTuesday 1st March 2022

      Hey Helen, Yes this recipe serves 6 people and when the mixture is split into 12 that is 2 meatballs per person. If you’d like you can make the meatballs smaller so that you get more meatballs per portion. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

    Helen Kenna-MaeersSunday 26th June 2022

    Can you cook the chilli orzo meatballs in a slow cooker?

    Reply

      SharonFriday 8th July 2022

      Hi Helen, we haven’t tested the Chilli Meatball Orzo in the slow cooker but we have an article here that you should find useful: How to Convert Recipes to a Slow Cooker. Hope that helps.

Join the conversation

Comment or ask our advice

Leave a Reply

Our newsletter

Get the latest pinch