Skinny Quinoa Meatballs

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All of the protein and flavor, none of the saturated fat!

If you’re a vegetarian, or trying harder to eat a plant-based diet, then quinoa is likely already a staple in your pantry. Quinoa, a now legendary superfood, packs a whopping dose of protein, and is a great alternative for those who are foregoing meat, but want the benefits of lean, clean protein in their meals. Quinoa is also rich in fiber and antioxidants, making it a perfect choice for anyone practicing clean, healthy eating, whether you’re going meat-free or not! Enthusiasts regularly use it in place of rice and other grains, and incorporate it into salads, soups, and a multitude of recipes.

But quinoa can also be used as a literal meat substitute. Craving moist, juicy meatballs, like the ones you loved when you were a kid? Quinoa can easily be incorporated into a healthy quinoa meatball recipe, lending heft and texture to meatballs without the fat and cholesterol or beef or pork. Our quinoa meatball recipe uses traditional meatball ingredients such as garlic, Parmesan, and onion, but also makes use of creative, healthy substitutions, such as chickpeas for texture and taste, and whole wheat bread instead of white bread. These meatballs are clean and guilt-free, and will taste delicious in a variety of pasta recipes, on top of veggies, or even as an appetizer!

You can make these quinoa meatballs ahead and refrigerate them, warming them up when you are ready to eat. This is a delicious and healthy idea to try for your next family meal!

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Skinny Quinoa Meatballs

These guilt-free and delicious vegetarian meatballs are perfect for a family dinner or appetizer.
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 3 meatballs
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Universal


  • 1/2 cup quinoa uncooked, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 to 2 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread ground in a grinder
  • 1 cup chickpeas pre-cooked, drained completely
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 garlic clove minced or grated
  • 1 onion medium, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley fresh, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 cup wheat flour quinoa, almond, buckwheat flour for substitutes (or other kinds of healthy flour) for coating the meatballs
  • lettuce fresh
  • 1 cup marinara sauce warmed up


  • In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and the water and let it boil over high heat. When it boils, put down the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed. Let it cool.
  • In a medium bowl, put the chickpeas and mash with a masher. Add the cooled quinoa, 1 slice of ground bread, Parmesan, egg white, garlic, onion, parsley, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, oregano, salt, and paprika. Mix well.
  • Make some balls with the mixture. If the meatballs are hard to pack, add a little bit more of the remaining ground bread.
  • On a big plate, put the wheat flour then roll the quinoa balls to coat them.
  • Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  • Over medium heat, pour the remaining extra virgin olive oil then brown all the sides of the quinoa meatballs. Use a spoon and a fork to turn them carefully to avoid breaking.
  • When they are cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper towels to absorb the oil.
  • To serve, place some lettuce leaves on the plate, some warm marinara sauce then the quinoa meatballs.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 3meatballs | Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 155mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 11
Keywords Vegetarian

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More Quinoa Recipe That You Will Love:
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Skinny Quinoa Stir-Fry
Maple Banana Quinoa Recipe
Sweet Morning Breakfast Quinoa
Protein Quinoa Pancakes

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Rowena Dumlao-Giardina

Rowena is a recipe developer and food & travel writer/photographer from Italy with Asian roots. Creating healthy dishes in her own kitchen is priority. She believes there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that her family is eating natural & nutritious meals.

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  1. Hi: I did bake them. I did spray them with the remaining OO and place them on a oven tray at 338F, 15 minutes each side; I like them very crispie: so nice. thank you for this recipe.
    Thank you very much.

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