These meatless "meatballs" will amaze you!
Do you love to cook with quinoa? Maybe you want to learn how to cook it, or a few different ways to enjoy it? If you’re looking for a substitute for meat on a Meatless Monday or as part of your new plant-based meal, quinoa is the way to go. You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite meals to eat a healthier diet! Making these Quinoa Meatballs is the way to go.
Learning to cook with quinoa is simple, and the grain is packed full of plant-based protein (making it a great alternative to meat). These Quinoa Meatballs are just as hearty as a traditional beef meatball, but they’re much lower in saturated fat. Quinoa meatballs are even a great substitute for turkey and chicken meatballs because you’ll consume a serving of whole grains as well as a protein!
Turn This Quinoa Meatball Recipe Into a Vegan Meal
If you’re following a plant-based diet, you know you can’t have cheese or eggs. We have a quick-and-easy tip for turning these Quinoa Meatballs into an entirely vegan recipe. Instead of using the eggs, mix together 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for a minute before mixing it in with the remaining ingredients.
The purpose of the egg is to bind together the quinoa, lentils, and other ingredients. Flax works perfectly as a binder because it expands into a gel-like substance when combined with water. It’s similar to the way that chia seeds swell, except flax doesn’t have that chewy texture you’ll notice from chia seeds. Plus, there are all kinds of benefits from consuming more flax.
As for the cheese, it’s mostly there as a flavoring ingredient, so feel free to skip it if you’re going dairy-free or vegan. The recipe is delicious as-is, but we always like to help you with easy substitutions to make our recipes fit your diet and wellness plan. Let us know in the comments if you’d had any success with changes and replacements. We always love hearing what you think of our recipes!
Check out our step-by-step video!
Quinoa Meatballs | Vegetarian "Meatball" Recipe
- 1/2 cup quinoa dry, pre-rinsed
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup green lentils cooked, well drained
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs or whole wheat panko bread crumbs (add additional bread crumbs if the meatballs need to be firmer and aren't holding together well)
- 1/4 cup parmesan freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon parsley leaves flat, freshly chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano freshly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- Sea salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 egg white (for vegan add 2-3 teaspoons water)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Add pre-rinsed quinoa and water to a medium pot, cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. In the meantime, in a large non-stick skillet add 1 tablespoon olive oil, heat to medium-low and sauté diced onions and bell pepper until tender about 4 minutes, add garlic, parsley and oregano and sauté one additional minute.
- Remove quinoa from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes. Press down on quinoa with a paper towel to remove any remaining water.
- In a large mixing bowl combine sautéed onion, garlic, parsley and oregano along with remaining ingredients, except oil. Use either a potato masher or fork and mash the ingredients until the lentils are well mashed. Using your hands, shape into 1 ½ “ (meatless) meatballs, place in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a large non-stick skillet, heat to medium-low and add quinoa (meatless) meatballs. Brown meatballs, turn over and brown on the other side. Cook until browned and heated through, about 16 minutes. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel.
- If you plan to serve these (meatless) meatballs with marinara, add to the marinara sauce, gently turn to coat. Simmer until hot and serve over pasta.
- These are a perfect food to eat prior to working out as they provide complex carbohydrates for energy and protein for building muscles. When on hand, I’ll have a few before a workout.
- TIP: For a vegan version, use vegan egg replacer or 1 tbsp of flax meal mixed with 3 tbsp water rather than the 2-3 teaspoons straight water.
Here's a tip from Joey, one of our readers:"Instead of browning the meatballs in a skillet, I brushed them with olive oil and broiled them for about 15 minutes (flip meatballs after 7 minutes). Result is evenly browned meatballs."
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