Vegetarian Wednesday: Quinoa “Meat” balls

One of the conversations we had with David’s cousins during our trip to NYC was about our diets.   We discussed David’s adversity to eating fruits and his love of chips and pop.  They wisely advised that we eat more natural and less processed foods.

We also told them about our plans to do a cleanse.  But after hearing about some of their experiences with cleanses and seeing as how much we love our food, they suggested we start with incorporating one vegetarian day a week.  This definitely seemed more feasible and less extreme.

Upon our return, David enthusiastically went grocery shopping and came back with bananas, oranges, mangos, cherries and grapes.  I am happy to report that his fruit consumption has doubled…from once to twice a week.  ;)  At least it’s a step in the right direction.  As for the chips, we still have some in the house, but hopefully won’t be purchasing more once those are done.

For our first vegetarian meal, I went to my trusty vegetarian friend for a recipe.  She recommended these quinoa “meat” balls.  I’ve heard a lot about quinoa’s health benefits (high in balanced protein, fibre and vitamins and gluten-free), but have never eaten or cooked with it.  Boy have I been missing out!  These quinoa balls were delicious and satisfying.  It may have been a placebo effect, but I actually felt like I was eating real meatballs.  I’m liking this whole vegetarian concept…

What’s your favourite vegetarian recipe?

Recipe (adapted from Tales from a Kitchen Misfit and The Small Boston Kitchen):

makes about 12-13 balls

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or chicken stock)
  • 6 crimini mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 of 1 pound bag of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 egg – one for egg wash
  • 4 tbsp pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh or dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flasks
  • salt (1/2 tsp) and pepper (20 grindings) to taste
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  1. Cook quinoa according to package using either water or chicken stock and set aside to cool a bit.
  2. Fry up the peppers, onions and mushroom in a little bit of olive oil until the peppers and onions have softened and the mushrooms have browned and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, wilt the spinach until it just softens.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the fried mushrooms, wilted spinach, pepper and onions.
  5. Add the oregano, rosemary and red pepper flasks.
  6. Salt (I used 1/2 tsp, but it could have used a bit more) and pepper to taste.
  7. Add the pine nuts and combine mixture.
  8. Add the cooled quinoa and mix in one of the eggs.
  9. Shape the mixture into even-sized balls (I used an ice-cream scoop or you can flatten them into patties for faster cooking) and place on a greased (with olive oil) and foil lined baking sheet.
  10. Make an egg wash by mixing together the remaining egg and a splash (1 tsp) of water.
  11. Using a brush, paint the meatballs with the egg wash.
  12. Bake at 400°F until they are cooked through, browned and slightly crispy (~25 min, shorter if balls are smaller).
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33 thoughts on “Vegetarian Wednesday: Quinoa “Meat” balls

  1. Pingback: Vegetarian Wednesday | trials in food | Why Go Vegetarian

  2. What is it with guys and fruit? A few of the guys I’ve dated have been so anti-fruit that I could only laugh about it. Fruit seems like the most harmless and delicious thing to me.

    I’ve been trying to do more meat-free days too; I’ve also been cooking a lot with quinoa. These look great – do they have any problems staying together?

    • definitely a guy thing. i think they are just more savoury creatures. these “meat” balls are more fragile than the real ones, but they hold together pretty well when you cook them. how do you like to cook quinoa?

  3. My husband isn’t a fruit eater, either. He pretty much never eats fresh fruit and prefers his baked into a cake, pie, muffin, or cobbler instead. I, on the other hand, am perfectly happy to snack on fresh fruit all day if it’s in the house. (Micah’s one exception is blueberries, but only if they’re not too tart.)

    These quinoa meatballs look fantastic! I just tried quinoa for the first time a few months ago and loved it, but I haven’t tried it prepared like this before. Bookmarking for later! :)

  4. Pingback: Vegetarian day week 2 a flop | trials in food

  5. Wow I absolutely love this idea! I’m always looking for clean fixes and new takes on quinoa and this seems like a great idea! I have to say, my favorite vegetarian recipe is my tofu sweet potato Shepard’s pie! Better than the real thing ;) I’ll eventually post the recipe on my blog!

  6. Yum! These look amazing. One of my faves is quinoa salad with black beans, bell peppers and corn, with a pinch of cumin and cayenne for heat. I make a big batch and eat it all week long. Every one in my circle now has the recipe too since they loved it at every gathering I held or brought it to. :) I bet the same thing would happen if I brought these babies. Thanks for sharing! ~Gina

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