This recipe for chicken quinoa meatballs may seem a bit bizarre. Trust me this recipe is beyond tasty and it is loaded with healthy goodness. I have been on a meatball kick, and have been mulling around this recipe for a while. It happened after I had leftover quinoa, and was stumped as to what I should do with it. Normally I gently warm up leftover quinoa for breakfast, but, am bored with that idea. So this recipe was created.
I have expressed my profound love of the meatball for some time now, and trust me it is not going to stop. Last month we were gearing up for a heavy workload that would involve traveling. Which in turn meant getting home late in the evening.
When we lived in San Francisco late-night returns were easy as we’d stop by the grocery store near our house and pick up the usual “return home” dinner; roasted chicken, endives, blue cheese, a baguette, and a bottle of red. Now we are not near a market, so I need to prepare in advance for these returns home.
The meatball is perfect as I can make up a batch, enjoy half of the recipe the same day as cooking, and pop the others into the freezer. All we need to do is warm up the little balls of goodness, and make some rice or pasta.
Back to that leftover quinoa. I had this idea as I was gathering ingredients to toss it into the chicken meatball recipe I was working on that quinoa would be a welcome boost of protein as well I thought the texture would be a great addition to otherwise “slimy” ground chicken. As I was grabbing ingredients out of the pantry, and chopping herbs and other savories, I noticed a sad carrot in the bottom of the veggie bin, and in it went! I have often thought, if we had kids, I’d get a kick out of hiding vegetables in their food and then doing the “nanny nanny nanny, you ate spinach” back at them!
Since I was clearly leading down the path of making this recipe more on the healthy side, I decided to bake the meatballs, which ended up being a good decision. Baking meatballs is not only easy, but the clean-up is almost void. No greasy pans to contend with or splattered fat all over the stove.
Don’t worry baking meatballs still makes for a golden brown experience. I place the meatballs on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment (easy clean-up) and let them do their thing. The meatballs still get a golden brown on the outside while staying moist inside. Perfect!
We enjoyed half of this meatball recipe as they came out of the oven, serving them with Tzatziki, a green salad, and pita.
When we arrived home after a long flight, I simmered the frozen meatballs in my favorite tikka masala sauce that I keep on hand, made some rice, and had a lovely (and healthy) dinner at home.
More Meatball Recipes
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 yellow onion
- handful cilantro
- 1 carrot, grated
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup panko
- 1 egg
- pinch kosher salt
- pinch black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top.
Using a food processor mince the garlic, onion and cilantro together. Add to the chicken.
Add the grated carrot, quinoa, panko, and egg. Mix well using your hands.
Shape into small meatballs; made 38.
Bake for 15 minutes. Using kitchen tongs flip the meatballs over.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven.
Baking meatballs keeps them leaner than frying and still moist and flavorful.