Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

Spicy Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

Packed with flavor, these spicy quinoa turkey meatballs are a little over 200cals per serving. Skinny meatballs never tasted this good.

Skinny meatballs never tasted this good. Packed with flavor, these spicy quinoa turkey meatballs are a little over 200cals per serving. And you won’t even taste it.

January is a month of healthy diet, right? I’m doing pretty good following the trend and drinking my share of smoothies, or what not, with a healthy doze of decadence, of course. After a light dinner, I helped myself with this extra thick hot chocolate. I may or may not have had a bowl of freshly made vanilla ice cream. It’s all about balance, people. Otherwise, I can’t do it.

Packed with flavor, these spicy quinoa turkey meatballs are a little over 200cals per serving. Skinny meatballs never tasted this good.

Now, let’s talk turkey. You’ve probably seen lots of healthy recipes call for turkey meat. Or you might have swapped ground turkey for ground beef to cut the calories. But did you know that not all turkey meat is healthier than, say, beef? Especially when it comes to ground turkey, it can actually be higher in fat and calories compared to lean ground beef. So what should we look for, you ask. It’s all about the right cut of meat, my friend. Look for lean ground turkey (<- made of only white meat, as dark turkey meat is not so lean), or better yet, buy boneless turkey breast and grind it yourself. This way, you know for sure that you’re actually making a fair trade.

Not only we’re using lean ground turkey here, we are also adding some quinoa in the mix for healthy and delicious spin. The red quinoa adds fantastic texture, lightens up the meatballs and makes them so pretty to look at. When I made this for dinner, I was afraid that my husband wouldn’t like it. After all, he is a beef rancher, and he loves his beef, ya know. To my surprise, and even to his surprise, he loved them, and even asked for seconds.

Ok, let’s make these babies, shall we? As usual, here is step-by-step instruction for those of us who love the visuals. 🙂

Spicy Quinoa Turkey Meatballs- step-by-step photo direction

Bonus! You can freeze the baked meatballs for later use. When you’re ready to serve, simply make the sauce and cook the frozen meatballs in the sauce.

Packed with flavor, these spicy quinoa turkey meatballs are a little over 200cals per serving. Skinny meatballs never tasted this good. Enjoy!

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Spicy Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

Packed with flavor, these spicy quinoa turkey meatballs are a little over 200cals per serving. Skinny meatballs never tasted this good.

Yield: 44-45 meatballs

Total Time:1 hour 30 min

Ingredients:

For meatballs
  • ½ cup (100gr) red quinoa
  • ½ cup (30gr) Panko (aka Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 20oz (570gr) lean ground turkey
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
For sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 can (15oz/425gr) tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions with a ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a blender, or a food processor, pulse the panko until fine crumbs.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with milk, salt and all the seasonings. Add ground turkey, cooled cooked quinoa, panko and pressed garlic. Dig right in with your clean hands and mix everything together until well combined.
  5. Using a medium cookie scoop, form 1.5-inch uniform meatballs. You will get about 44 of them. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet, lined with silicone mat. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add pressed garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Pour in tomato sauce and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add hot sauce and the rest of the seasonings. Add the cooked meatballs and simmer over medium low heat for about 5 minutes.

You can freeze the baked meatballs for later use. When ready to serve, simply make the sauce and cook the frozen meatballs in the sauce.

All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory by Shinee

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26 comments

  1. These look amazing! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  2. Wow, these look amazing. I love the bright read against the white plate, its smashing 🙂

  3. These meatballs sound so good, Shinee. Thank you

  4. These look really good! 200 cals a serving…but how big is a serving?

  5. Skinny and meatballs don’t usually go together so this is awesome!

  6. My daughter adores meatballs. She would love these too. She is slowly increasing her spice tolerance and would be happy to try these.

    • Oh, these are so good. Try adding the hot sauce just a little at a time (less than specified in the recipe) to adjust to your taste. Thanks, Christie, for stopping by. 🙂

  7. Talk about hiding quinoa in a dish that I’ll gobble down without even realising! And WOW these look SO awesome Shinee!! So glossy and irresistible!!

  8. These turkey meatballs look sooo good!!! love the quinoa in there!!! I love red quinoa, I think it’s so pretty! This is gorgeous and brilliant!!

  9. These look so yummy…. you wouldn’t even suspect anything healthy about them! Maybe even yummy/ sercretly healthy enough to dish the daily ice cream?! Haha. 😉 Pinned!

  10. I’ve never thought to put quinoa in meatballs. It sounds divine! Yummmmm!

  11. These are just genius! They look totally delicious and not skinny at all — just how I like my healthy food 😉

  12. YES healthy recipes are everywhere, but not half of them look as good as your meatballs! 🙂 And so true about the turkey meat! I always, always check the package if I’m buying ground turkey to see what the nutritional info says!

  13. These look delicious! And to use Quinoa. Such a great idea! Love that they are spicy too. Yum. I wish I was eating healthy, but I just can’t do it. That’s why I have to work out, hehe. Pinned!!