If you only have time to make one homemade meal this week, make these meatballs and thank me later. I stumbled across Turniptheoven.com via Pinterest and would rank Lucy’s blog as one of the best things I’ve found on Pinterest, to date. Her meals are delicious, recipes are healthy and best of all – she’s a mom and therefor has picky, messy and adorable little eaters in mind, when she creates her meals.
Toddlers and husbands all have one thing in common – they love meatballs and I was a little intimidated making homemade meatballs using traditional recipes with breadcrumbs. I have a severe gluten allergy and it’s hard to tell how a recipe may turn out once I start swapping out gluten free ingredients for those with gluten. I figured something like meatballs would really need the breadcrumbs to bind well, and it seemed like a lot of work for something that may fall apart and be a dinner fail.
I was so intrigued when I found Lucy’s recipe used quinoa to bind the balls. We are big fans of quinoa in this house, as it’s filling and packs in the protein and iron. The recipe has few ingredients, but packs a ton of flavor. I especially love the slight flavor from the lemon zest. You can use red or white quinoa in this recipe – both turn out delicious. To save a little time with prep and dishes, I use prepared quinoa I get from the freezer aisle at Ralphs.
In addition to being gluten free, these meatballs are so simple to make. I typically don’t like recipes that require much handling of raw meat since I’m usually juggling (or picking up, putting down, repeat) Ryder while prepping food, so I prep the ingredients while Ryder plays and then save the mixing and assembly of balls for nap time, which takes about 5 minutes to prepare.
The best thing about these meatballs are they are so versatile. I prefer to eat them over zoodles, Ryder enjoys them chopped up with some pasta and Lou loves them as snacks. If you haven’t tried zoodles yet, you are missing out. They are a great pasta alternative and simple to prepare, using a Spiralizer. I use the Paderno Spiralizer and love it!
They aren’t messy so they are easy to pack along for an outing. Lou went paddle boarding last weekend, tossed some of the balls in a ziplock and ate them like protein balls, while out on the water. They are also my go to recipe when a friend has a new baby, as they are simple to snack on while breastfeeding or holding your little one.
One word of advice when you try this recipe. Double or triple the recipe. They are so delicious and go fast. Three dozen typically last three to four days in our house.
- 1 pound organic ground chicken
- 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (I use fresh prepared in a tube)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, quinoa, parmesan, egg, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- With clean hands, gently work the mixture together until it is well combined. Shape into 12 balls (each about the size of a golf ball) and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste and olive oil. Brush over the tops of the meatballs.
- Bake 20 minutes. They should just be starting to brown and a little parmesan melting out.
- 4 medium to large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
- Cut ends off zucchini and place in the spiralizer (Blade D on the Padermo).
- Once you have spiralized your zucchini, lay them on a paper towel and let them release moisture before cooking.
- Heat EVOO in a pan. Once hot, add the zucchini noodles. Gently toss with tongs for about 3 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper and parmesan and toss.