Fabulousness, you guys! I can’t believe how tasty these are! I was at a gourmet deli the other day and they had these baked turkey, quinoa and spinach meatballs. I have to confess, I’d never even heard of them so I bought a few and was thrilled with the taste but was also determined to make them free of eggs and bread crumbs and this is the result.
Once I got home and googled it, I was so surprised to see these all over the internet but we’re making ours even healthier and yummier!
I used the gluten-free, red and white quinoa that I used in this dish and it was perfect. It also gives the meatball it’s distinctive look. The trick here is to saute the veggies first, let them cool off and then add it to the mixture. The moisture will do the job of holding the meatballs together with no breadcrumbs or egg. You have to be a little more aggressive in rolling your meatballs (don’t overdo it, turkey doesn’t like to be manhandled!) and then let them sit overnight to form perfect round balls.
I used onion, celery and garlic in my saute mixture but I had intended to add carrots as well but somehow they didn’t make it from my grocery cart to my fridge. Not sure where they disappeared to but I’ve looked everywhere!
Now if you’re in a rush, go ahead, use some panko or an egg but if you can find time to make these ahead and freeze them, you’re golden.
I made the tomato sauce a little spicier than usual because it was what I was craving but if you like yours a little more tame, you can ease back on the amount of heat.
You can put your dish on pasta, rice, freekah, or just have it by itself. I used some tiny organic, vegan penne – delicious. You could even completely forget the sauce and top it wish some Sriracha – scrumptious! Top with a little parmesan and fresh parsley and everyone will be fighting to get to the table first.
I’m completely obsessed with meatballs and have been working on an Indian meatball recipe all summer long. It is still in the experimental stages but I’m not giving up until I have the flavor just right. Can’t wait to share it. Cheers!
- Turkey, Quinoa and Spinach Meatballs
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup carrots, diced
- 1/3 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 spinach, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- A pinch of red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce or worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (or puree 8 – 10 tomatoes)
- 1 14 ounce can of tomato sauce (fire-roasted would be fun!)
- 1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle adobe and sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
- small handful of fresh basil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in medium sized saucepan. Saute garlic, onion, carrots and celery till soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Combine turkey, quinoa, spinach, parsley, chili flakes, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add cooled sauteed veggies and mix well. You can make the meatballs any size you desire. I tend to go with the large, golf sized balls.
- Place on parchment paper on baking tray and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove and let come to room temperature while you make the sauce the next day.
- Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes in an oven proof dish or cast iron pan. Remove, turn meatballs and add cooked sauce. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
- Heat olive oil in extra large saucepan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chipotle adobe and sauce, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.