Nana's Tuna Balls - Easy Weeknight Dinner

I absolutely LOVE meeting women who make it their mission to build each other up, support one another and tackle life with positive energy. Last week I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by an entire team of women that held these standards. This team of women was led by the ultimate lady boss herself, Denise Willson, and it is to her who I owe recipe cred. 

For Christmas, Denise compiled the best of her mother's recipes (better known as Nana or Olga Celeste Mancini Cuteri) into a powerpoint and passed them down to her children. I couldn't help myself but ask for Nana's recipes and thankfully Denise obliged! 

I promised I would make one of the recipes for the blog and it did not disappoint! My husband, Daniel, just ate half the recipe in one sitting! Healthy and husband-approved is a WIN in my book!

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Thank you Denise for sharing the family recipe :)


Tuna Fish Balls


  • 6 5-oz cans tuna canned in water
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 brown onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 small can tomato paste + 6 cans water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Pecorino or parmesan for garnishing

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Open 6 cans tuna into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In food processor, chop 2/3 of onion, 3 cloves garlic, eggs, ~1 cup parsley, salt and pepper (I used ~1 Tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper).
  4. Once well combined, add contents of food processor, bread crumbs and 2 Tbsp olive oil to tuna fish in mixing bowl. Mix well.
  5. Form ~24 balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes.
  7. While tuna fish balls are baking, prepare marinara sauce.
  8. Chop remaining 1/3 onion and 2 cloves garlic. Add with 1 Tbsp olive oil in pot on stovetop and sauté over medium-high heat ~5 minutes until onions are translucent.
  9. Add tomato paste + water, reduce heat and simmer for ~40 minutes, or until tuna fish balls are done baking and sauce has reduced and thickened.
  10. Add tuna fish balls to sauce. Top with shredded pecorino or parmesan and extra parsley for garnish. Enjoy!