I don’t think I’ve met a kid that doesn’t like meatballs and sauce. There are different ways to cook meatballs – some folks pan fry them, others cook them right in the sauce without any browning, and in this case, I oven roasted these meatballs.
Although cooking meatballs directly in sauce is the leanest way to cook them since no oil is needed and results in a nice soft meatball, I think pan frying meatballs yields a nice outer crust, more flavor and a little more texture. Oven roasting provides the best of both worlds – a bit of browning with minimal oil and a tender meatball.
Recently, I came across a recipe for quinoa meatballs on Cooking Light and also in an Food & Wine issue. Both recipes mix cooked whole quinoa in with the meatball mixture, which is a great idea, but I didn’t think my boys would go for it, so I blended the quinoa before mixing it into the meatball mix.
Topped with some sauce and cheese and melted together, these Oven Roasted Quinoa Meatballs went over well with my boys and I loved the fact that they had some extra nutrition from the quinoa.
Oven Roasted Quinoa Meatballs
- 1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 pound organic lean ground beef
- 3/4 pound antibiotic free ground turkey
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- fresh parsley finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees; grease 9x9 baking pan with olive oil. Place quinoa, garlic, parsley and eggs in food processor and process until almost smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and mix well with ground meats, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Form into large meatballs, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place in oiled baking dish and roast for 25 minutes or until just cooked through. Drain off excess cooking liquid. Spoon marinara sauce on top and bake until sauce is hot, about 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Adapted from Food & Wine.