Ever since discovering the health benefits of quinoa, I started using it instead of rice or bread crumbs in meatballs and stuffed vegetables. Not only is quinoa gluten-free, it’s also rich in protein and contains all the amino acids that make it a complete protein.
Packaged quinoa sold in supermarkets are rinsed thoroughly to remove the saponin but I like to rinse and soak it not only to remove some of the remaining saponin but also to activate the natural enzymes, so if you have time, soak quinoa for about an hour or rinse well before adding to the meat mixture.
Baking the meatballs in the oven at high temperature makes cleaning a breeze and to save some time (and energy) I use a cookie scoop for appetizer size meatballs and larger ice cream size scoop for serving as a main course but they would be equally delicious pan fried too.
- 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
- ¼ cup quinoa
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp sea salt or to taste
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 28 oz. diced tomatoes or 3 cups peeled, diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the quinoa with ½ cup of water in a small saucepan, let it cool.
Preheat the oven to 425F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a bowl, combine the ground beef, quinoa, parsley, onion and the seasonings, form into meatballs and place on the baking sheet, bake until they are cooked and browned, almost charred around the edges.
While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce; finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, sauté the vegetables until tender and start to take on a light colour, add the tomatoes and the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer over low heat until thickened.
Serve the meatballs with the dipping sauce on the side or add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for a few minutes or so right before serving.