Wholesome Cook

Organic spaghetti and meatballs, plus why Woolies wins over Coles

Oh boy! Last Monday, Coles supermarkets have launched a new “freshness” campaign, slashing prices on 12 fresh fruit and veg products and promoting it with a very annoying “there’s no freshness like Coles freshness” jingle. According to their major competitor, Woolworths the fresh food people, there’s nothing special about what’s on offer and, considering that out of shoppers with a basketful of similar items on sale from both supermarkets, Woolies customers come out on top budgetwise,  the campaign could even be considered misleading. According to Twitterverse, people are finding it pretty annoying, laughable and misleading to say the least. As do farmers.

To be honest, I’ve never bought anything from the Coles’s deli counter because all the products look dry around the edges and don’t even get me started on the sad looking fish. Woolworths is much better at this and I feel safe buying those products there. Fruit and veg? I prefer an extra trip to the local grocer or a farmers market, which we are so blessed with here in Sydney – everything is so much fresher, strawberries are mould free and you get to chat to the producers who get a fair buck for their work.

However, what I have found a clear but a rarely advertised advantage of Woolworths over Coles, which in my books makes Woolworths a better choice for pantry essentials, is their fairly recently launched Macro Wholefood Market range. One such item I discovered is Woolworths’ Macro certified organic meatballs. Yes, they are pre-made , but because they are certified organic, I have the confidence of knowing that nothing harmful has been added to the mix and the meat itself comes from a good source. And they taste pretty good too.

While most of the time I don’t mind spending a good hour preparing a meal, there are times when such an extravagant use of my time is, well, too extravagant and certain pre-made foods come in handy. I still read the labels and pick things that are free of nasties, but at least I know that choosing products from the Macro range will make life a lot easier, and our food choices that little bit more whole.


Serves 4

Organic spaghetti and meatballs

To make this meal, I have used Woolworths’ Macro Wholefood Market range certified organic meatballs and spaghetti. Tomatoes and herbs for the recipe came from our lovely neighbour’s garden, and while not certified organic, they were bursting with so much freshness the kids ate a whole handful on the way home, and were themselves commenting on the wonderful flavour.

For the spaghetti and meatballs:

  • 400g pack Macro organic meatballs
  • 100g Macro organic spaghetti, dry
  • 8 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup of mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 2 sprigs of basil, leaves only
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

To serve:

  • parmesan cheese

To make the meatball sauce: heat oil in a medium stockpot over high heat. Brown meatballs for about 2 minutes in two batches then remove and set aside. Place the pot back on the stove over medium  heat, add tomatoes, crushed garlic and herbs. Stir around to release the juices and flavours. Add wine and meatballs. Cook for another 10 minutes to allow the meatballs to cook through.

To make the spaghetti: cook according to packet instructions.

To serve: divide spaghetti and meatball sauce between your serving plates. Sprinkle with a little flaked parmesan cheese.


Amy @fridays5cents February 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

If I haven’t been able to get to a farmers market that weekend (I have an 8mo!), I always go shopping at Woolies! I agree that their produce is fresher and presented well.

Regarding deli items, for me I find that it depends on what store you go to and who is on.. the other day at my local, I was disappointed with my chicken options, and needed to ask for products that weren’t on display. Saying that, they were happy to help :-)

Anna @ the shady pine February 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I’ll definitely be trying the meatballs…I hadn’t noticed them at our Woolies so will take a closer look. I think the whole Coles price vegie cut is very sad…it’s just driving the other supermarkets to do the same to stay competitive and the producers end up losing out as you can be sure the supermarkets won’t squeeze their margins.

I think I’ll be sticking to our local green grocer that’s for sure.

Miss Piggy February 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Hmmm, it won’t be long before Woolies enters a price war with Coles over vegetables – just look at what these two supermarkets are doing to the dairy industry. We’ll be lucky to have any farmers left in Australia before the decade is out.

I’m interested in these meatballs though – I wonder if they are free range as well as organic?

Wholesome Cook February 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Yes they are, any meat that is certified organic comes from animals that are raised the “natural” way, meaning they get to roam free outside, and in case of cows, eat grass or organic feed. Antibiotics and other drugs, including supplements and vitamins are prohibited also.

Miss Piggy February 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

Cool – thanks for letting me know.

Lizzy (Good Things) February 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Curious to know what is on the list of ingredients….

Wholesome Cook February 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Hey Lizzy, the list reads: Australian Organic Beef (80%), water, salt, potato starch, soy flour, rice flour, food acid 331, vitamin C, spices, sugar, dehydrated vegetables (onion, garlic), fermented rice.

Courtney February 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Okay, first off, I love the bowls!! So awesome. Second, I wish I knew more about these stores, but we don’t have them here in the States – but farmer’s markets are always best in my opinion. :) Finally, I think pre-made is fine, as long as you can pronounce the ingredients and know what they are. (And organic is even better.)

Laura February 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I love the macro range at Woollies too, but apart from that I’m a Coles girl. I just got back from a big woollies shop and found I couldn’t but a number of things on my list due to the fruit/veg being totally lacklustre, fruit flies all over the bruised apricots, bullet-like nectarines etc etc Maybe I’m just lucky to be near the best Coles in the country (where they shoot all the TV ads…)
I’ll be trying these meatballs for sure

[email protected] February 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I’ve always walked passed those pre-made meatballs in the meat section, but your post has got me considering stopping next time!

Bam's Kitchen February 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Thanks goodness for organic Auzzie beef in Hong Kong!!! I do not know what we would do without it. Very limited options otherwise here in HK. I still do not buy meat from the wet markets here in HK, China for all of the obvious reasons. Very cute dishes Martyna.

Three-Cookies February 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Non-food related question – did the plates come with the writing, or you did that?

Wholesome Cook February 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I did it with chalk. They are hi polished glaze in the middle, matte blackboard-like glaze on the outside rim! When I saw them I thought they would be perfect for the kids!

sara (Belly Rumbles) February 7, 2012 at 1:04 am

Great bowls, love them.

I am not going to get in to the Wollies & Coles debate, well I am. They are just as bad as each other, it really depends on the store you are shopping at. Fresh produce is generally not that great.

Now saying that, your spaghetti and meatballs dish looks awesome. Actually it is a kids dream, with chalk board bowls! You rocked the macro balls.

Maureen February 7, 2012 at 2:27 am

I have seen those meatballs at Woolies but I rarely buy prepared foods. If you’re saying they’re good, that’s enough in my book. I prefer Woolies too.

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 7, 2012 at 2:52 am

Ok, those plates are just too cool. Glad someone else asked about those!

Carolyn Jung February 7, 2012 at 3:55 am

Love the whimsical plating. And those meatballs look like the epitome of what great ones should be.

Just A Smidgen February 7, 2012 at 4:03 am

I think macro meals would be the closest to home-made if all the ingredients are pure as they say… Speaking of “macro-meals” did you catch the McDonald-meals advertising on Super Bowl… clip after clip of “do you know where our eggs come from… our meat comes from… our potatoes come from…” all espousing the natural purity of their food. Even my son (who enjoys a Big Mac Meal now and then) couldn’t stop laughing at the absurdity of it all!

Just A Smidgen February 7, 2012 at 4:04 am

Oh… and loooove those plates!!!

Just A Smidgen February 7, 2012 at 4:05 am

And… following you on Twitter now:)

Nami | Just One Cookbook February 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm

My goodness – I love this presentation of meatballs!!!! SUPER cute idea!

Raymund February 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Those plates are cool!

Koko February 8, 2012 at 4:30 am

Beautiful dish! I just love those plates!!

Mez February 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I’ve bought those meatballs before and really liked them. They are a convenience like you said but it’s not everyday that we can be KITCHEN MASTERS!!!! Hahahaahahaaa I find Coles scary and always shop at (what I call Safeway) plus I love the health food section at my Safeway heaps of the Macro stuff and always well stocked.


famdoz February 15, 2012 at 6:46 am

sorry, cant help asking.. Do you have some kind of promo deal with Woolworths?

Wholesome Cook February 15, 2012 at 7:52 am

Hi, a good question and I don’t mind. I don’t have any promotional deals with Woolworths, have not received nor am I due to receive any products free of charge, and everything I said in the post has been my personal opinion. I always disclose if posts have been incentivized or feature promotional items within the post so that it’s clear to you guys. :-)

Lyn July 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Just tried those meatballs…eurghhhh! Not sure if we got a bad batch but they were SO rubbery..dreadful! And no – it wasn’t that they were overlooked..also beware the macro products that aren’t organic – it would seem that they are just repackaging the home brand product in the macro packaging..


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