Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs

I found this recipe and decided to try it because I’m looking to eliminate or at the very least reduce the flesh I consume. I know many who do quite well without even any animal products, but I’m cool with vegetarian for now.

I’ve decided that I’d rather cook for myself. If the other people in my house don’t like it, they can be the ones to make their own dinner. I’m cooking one meal, the healthy alternative one.

The following is not my original recipe. I found it, tried it, liked it, shared it.

Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs {Gluten Free Option}

By: Lindsey

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Yield: 18 Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa [instruction below] (Mare’s Note: I used Success Quinoa in a bag (use two bags)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated (Mare’s Note: I used shaved to great result)
  • ¼ cup asiago cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (Mare’s Note: I do not like cilantro so I left it out; recipe still delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 3 small garlic gloves, minced fine (Mare’s Note: I used three large cloves but I don’t plan on breathing on anyone anytime soon.)
  • 1 large egg (Mare’s Note: I used two to hold it together better)
  • 2 large pinches kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 pinch to ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. In a fine sieve strainer, pour 1 cup quinoa, pick over for stones, and rinse with cold water. In a medium saucepan mix the quinoa with 2 cups cold water (or broth). Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil and a large pinch of kosher salt, and stir to mix. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stir, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook covered for approximately 30-40 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is soft.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°. Heat a large cast iron skillet or pan over medium heat until searing hot.
  3. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour a little olive oil into the preheated skillet. Form a meatball a little smaller than a golf ball and place the meatball in the skillet starting in the center. Working as quickly as possible, repeat with the remaining meatballs, radiating them out from the center in a spiral pattern. [You could certainly pre-form all the meat balls and have them ready for this step, but I am all about cutting out wasted time, and that, is wasted time.]
  4. Once you have finished placing all the meatballs in the skillet, it is time to start turning them! Gently turn each meatball once it has browned on the opposite side. My burner causes my large cast iron skillet to be unevenly hot, so I swap some of the middle meatballs for the outer meatballs to ensure an even sear.
  5. Bake in skillet or transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Notes:

To make these meatballs gluten free, simply use gluten free breadcrumbs. You could also try substituting gluten free flour for the breadcrumbs but I cannot vouch for how that will work.

I like to make a large pot of quinoa at the beginning of the week, so that I can make these or anything else quickly without having to wait for the quinoa to cook.

(MARE’S NOTE: I whipped up a jar of spaghetti sauce instead of fussing with it, making an easy meal. The meatballs are really worth the wait. My uber-carnivorous roommate and husband devoured it.)

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