meatballs

Hummus, Spicy Quinoa Crusted Meatballs, Feta & Olives

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. 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.  I bake my meatballs with convection heat, 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. Example, add more chili flakes if you want a little more kick, if you are 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.

meatballs

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.

meatballs

meatballs

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, 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.

meatballs

meatballsIn 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, the end of the day you created a disappointing meal. Understanding food and nutrition labels goes hand in hand with finding healthier options at the grocery store.

roasted carrots

meatballs

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 in 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.

Quinoa

Chefs tips:
In order to create a hummus that is silky smooth, you want to simmer the canned chickpeas (drained) with vegetable stock, carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf for about one hour. Make sure the chickpeas are covered at all times with the vegetable stock (or water). After the one hour simmer, remove the bayleaf, and puree the chickpeas in a high speed blender.

The recipe for the hummus is more than you will need for the meatballs. No worries, the extra hummus is great as a sandwich spread or served with a pita; it will be gone in no time.

Chefs tips:
Rinse 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.
Enjoy!

 

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