There is something intriguing about the process of making great meatballs, maybe it’s the simplicity of how to make them or the complex flavor that can be achieved with the right selection of herbs and spices.
Making great homemade meatballs are one reason not to eat out
First of all, eating out can be a real challenge in choosing what to order. Secondly, there are so many things we want from our food, it has to be tasty, appealing, sustainable, nutritional, reasonably priced, something light, mindfully prepared, etc., etc. You have to agree, that’s a lot to ask of food and a ton of decisions need to be made before ordering. My wife and I have a few local favorites we like to go to. We don’t eat at chain restaurants and have been focusing on a more balanced diet by cooking and eating at home. My wife agrees, spending more time around the stove cooking real food that is good for us, and as a bonus, we are saving money. My recipe of spicy quinoa-crusted meatballs with whipped hummus is all about simple mindful preparation while choosing and focusing on real food, both for enjoyment and nourishment. I bake my meatballs with convection heat, and slightly breaded with my quinoa crunch recipe, the meatballs are elevated to another level.
Please feel free to play with the recipe and the spices. For example, add more chili flakes if you want a little more kick, if you are a garlic fan add more garlic. If you don’t like garlic hummus, serve with a black bean hummus, a red pepper hummus, or a grain salad.
Cooking should be fun and it’s all about imagination, innovation, and flavor combinations.
Food in the absence of flavor
We all agree that food prepared in the absence of flavor and passion will quickly lose its appeal. Meatballs are comfort food, they speak wellness and it cannot get any simpler than making meatballs. The recipe, a combination of lean ground beef, lean ground turkey, cooked quinoa, roasted spices, and fresh herbs is easy to assemble and well worth the effort. My green Harissa recipe compliments the dish perfectly. However, a good-quality store-purchased Harissa will work just fine.
There are three types of quinoa: white, red, and black; this recipe is using white quinoa. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and it can be incorporated into a healthy diabetic diet. Quinoa is also high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin E. Even though, technically, it is not a grain, it still counts as a whole grain. One more bonus, it is very high in antioxidants; substances that are believed to help fight aging and many diseases. End of the day, quinoa is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.
In order to eat healthy, you have to shop healthy. Shopping skills are as important as cooking skills.
It’s pretty clear if you purchase food of poor quality it makes no difference how well you can cook, at the end of the day you created a disappointing meal. Understanding food and nutrition labels go hand in hand with finding healthier options at the grocery store.
A few weeks ago, I attended a great inspiring presentation from David Eisenberg, Associate Professor of Nutrition at Harvard. His presentation was about teaching kitchens and thinking outside the box in an era of global obesity and diabetes. What an informative presentation, talking about self-care skills, the key to battling lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Fact: today one-third of the U.S. population is obese and two-thirds are overweight; that is eye-opening.
Fact: it is proven that people who eat meals prepared at home more frequently have a lower long-term risk of developing food-related diseases.
Hummus, Spicy Quinoa Crusted Meatballs, Feta & Olives
- 30 oz chickpeas canned caned
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 small carrot peeled
- 1/2 medium onion peeled
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 each bay leave
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 oz tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 10 oz turkey ground
- 10 oz ground beef lean 90/10
- 1/2 cup quinoa white
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- 1/2 tsp paprika sweet
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp cumin ground
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds toasted and ground
- 1 pinch chili flakes
- 2 slices whole grain bread
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 each egg white
- 1 cup quinoa crunch
- Rinse canned chickpeas under cold water. Add onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and rinsed chickpeas to the stockpot, cover with water and simmer for one hour. Keep chickpeas covered with water during the simmer at all times. Remove bay leaf, and add warm chickpeas with vegetables and liquid to a blender. Add garlic cloves, sea salt, tahini, and cumin, and blend while warm, until silky smooth. I use my Vitamix, blending until the hummus has a milkshake consistency. Place hummus in the refrigerator and chill.30 oz chickpeas canned, 3 cloves garlic, 1 small carrot, 1/2 medium onion, 1 stalk celery, 2 each bay leave, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 oz tahini, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp lemon
- Rinse quinoa under cold water to remove the bitterness. Add 1 /2 cup of rinsed quinoa to a saucepan, add 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork set aside.1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup water
Make quinoa meatballs
- Remove crust from whole grain bread, and cube, add to a bowl and add buttermilk. Make sure that the bread is completely moist throughout, after letting it sit for several minutes mash with a fork. Add measured ingredients, cooked quinoa, and egg white to soaked bread, and blend well. Add the ground turkey and beef and mix gently by hand with moist bread and seasonings.1 tsp cumin, 10 oz turkey, 10 oz ground beef, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup parsley, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 pinch chili flakes, 2 slices whole grain bread, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1 each egg white, 1/2 tsp cumin
- With your hands shape the meatball mixture into 2-ounce meatballs. Place roasted quinoa crunch in a small bowl, and lightly roll meatballs in roasted quinoa crunch to make the quinoa crunch adhere.
Bake meatballs - Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Brush the baking sheet pan lightly with olive oil, and add quinoa-crusted meatballs in a single layer. Bake meatballs until well browned and fully cooked for about 20 minutes.
- Finish Mezze plate with whipped hummus, sprinkle hummus generously with quinoa crunch, and a touch of olive oil. Accompany with baked meatballs, oven-roasted carrots, feta cheese, olives, and green Harissa.1 cup quinoa crunch
Chefs tipsRinse quinoa well! There is a bitter natural coating, called saponin on every tiny seed that needs to be rinsed away; if you don't do this, it's going to taste bitter. Bread the meatballs lightly with the quinoa crunch to ensure an awesome crust. You don't want to over bread them. By blending lean turkey, lean beef, spices, and quinoa, I've created a healthier meal while also dramatically increasing the total nutrition of the meal. The Mezze platter is a great combination of awesome flavors and works great as an appetizer, snack, or entree.
As a bonus, the savory quinoa crunch is the perfect topping for sides or salads adding a wonderful crunch and flavor.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate