Packed with flavor, these spicy quinoa turkey meatballs are a little over 200cals per serving. Skinny meatballs never tasted this good.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
Spicy Quinoa Turkey Meatballs
- 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
- 20 oz 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
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions with a ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
- In a blender, or a food processor, pulse the panko until fine crumbs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.