Recipe Review: Sainsbury’s 2 of your 5-a-day Meatball, Lentil and Cabbage Hotpot

We’ve all heard about how important it is to get 5-a-day into your diet as it’s said to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, but also help in general well-being and health. I’d presumed that as I eat a lot of potatoes and drink a lot of juice, amongst other things, that my number would figure high in the count, but potatoes don’t count towards your 5-a-day at all, whereas interestingly enough sweet potatoes do. It also surprised me to learn that beans and pulses only count as 1 of your 5-a-day no matter how much of it you eat.

Sainsbury’s is on a mission to help make it easier to understand what contributes towards your 5-a-day. So, what does count? ? Here’s a list of some items:

    • Fresh fruit and vegetables
    • Frozen fruit and vegetables
    • Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables – buy the ones tinned in natural juice or water, with no added sugar
      or salt
    • Dried fruit, such as currants, dates, sultanas and figs
    • Fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews or pasta dishes
    • A glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day. That’s mainly because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables
    • A smoothie containing all of the edible pulped fruit and/or vegetable may count as more than one portion but this depends on how it’s made. Smoothies count as up to a maximum of two portions per day*

(*info taken from Sainsbury’s press release)

Sainsbury’s has a range of recipes which count between 1 to 5, of your 5-a-day. I try the Meatball, Lentil and Cabbage Hotpot, which is 2 out of 5. The instructions are simple and easy to do, just a case of doing a bit of chopping, frying and then waiting for it to stew basically.

And the result? Well, it’s a good one-pot wonder dish – a smokey, rich sauce with a refreshing coolness from the crème fraiche. The fresh courgettes lift the dish, the cabbage adds texture, and the lentils give bulk making it filling and substantial. What lets the dish down though is the quality of the meatballs, as they taste cheap and far too manufactured. It’d worth taking a little extra time to make your own meatballs, even if you were to add just salt and pepper it would still be better than theirs. But at £1.65 per person, serving 4, I think it’s very good value overall, not forgetting the added bonus of counting as 2 of your 5-a-day.

meatball recipe ingredients

Selection of recipe ingredients

To find out more about how you can get 5-a-day into your diet visit:

Disclosure: Food I Fancy was given Sainsbury’s food vouchers.

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Sainsbury’s Meatball, Lentil and Cabbage Hotpot

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 55 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Website Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's 2 of your 5-a day meatball and lentil hotpot.


  • 1 tablespoon SO Organic rapeseed oil
  • 560g pack Just Cook beef meatballs with tomato sauce & parmesan by Sainsbury’s
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika by Sainsbury’s (plus an extra pinch to garnish)
  • 390g carton Italian chopped tomatoes with basil & oregano by Sainsbury's
  • 500ml Sainsbury’s Signature beef stock
  • 120g dried green lentils by Sainsbury’s
  • 1/2 x 28g pack fresh flat-leaf parsley (plus extra to garnish)
  • 1/4 x Savoy cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 courgette, trimmed, halved horizontally, and cut into crescents
  • 4 teaspoons 50% less fat crème fraîche by Sainsbury’s


Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 10 mins, turning, until brown all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic and paprika to the pan and cook for 5 mins, until the onion is soft. Return the meatballs to the pan with the tomatoes, stock, lentils and sachets of sauce and parmesan from the meatball pack. Turn up the heat and boil for 10 mins. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 mins, until the lentils are tender.
Stir in the parsley, cabbage and courgette, and cook for 10 mins. Serve with the crème fraîche sprinkled with the extra paprika and a scattering of parsley.

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