Quinoa Meatballs with spinach are a healthy vegetarian meatball that even meat-eaters will love! Easy to make and delicious. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
These vegetarian meatballs made with protein packed quinoa, spinach, onion, and garlic are full of flavor and make a perfect vegetarian main dish. Serve them with pasta, polenta, over a salad, or in a sandwich.
I'm sure you've heard of veggie burgers, right? They are one of my favorite meatless dishes to make. But, why not make veggie meatballs? I mean, they are just a tinier version of burgers and so versatile! The only thing you have to make sure of is that you get that texture right.
When I make meatless meatballs, quinoa is usually one of my favorite substitutes for meat. I like the hearty texture and nutty flavor it adds and it does hurt that it has some natural protein. For these veggie meatballs, quinoa is paired with spinach and just enough eggs and breadcrumbs to hold everything together. You could definitely add Parmesan cheese as well, which would be delicious!
How do you make Quinoa Meatballs?
These vegetarian meatballs are as easy to put together as regular meatballs, and so much healthier!
What I do is to first cut up the onions and garlic and cook the quinoa according to package directions. Then, I preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or you could use foil or cooking spray if you feel like doing dishes). I set that aside and add the olive oil to a skillet set at medium heat.
To the skillet, I add the chopped onions and garlic and cook them together for 5-6 minutes or until they are nice and softened and filling up the house with their delicious aroma.
Next, I add the spinach, spices, and tomato paste and cook that with the garlic and onions for another 2-3 minutes. I like to taste as I go, so I suggest you do that as well. You can add more spices or salt and pepper here if you think it needs it.
To the bowl that the quinoa is in, I add the skillet veggies and spices. I stir them together with the quinoa until it's all combined. Then I add the eggs, bread crumbs, and more salt and pepper. Scooping out about two tablespoons of the mixture at a time, I roll out the meatballs and set them on the baking sheet. I usually can get about 20 meatballs from this meatball recipe.
I then slide the tray into the oven and cook the meatballs at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes on the first side. I flip the meatballs and then put the tray back in the oven, baking on the other side for an additional 10 minutes.
Ways to Serve Quinoa Meatballs
I use these meatballs in all the ways you would serve "regular" meatballs, like:
- Adding them on top of low-carb or high-fiber pasta. Top with an easy red sauce.
- Pairing them with zucchini noodles, or other veggie noodles made out of summer squash, sweet potatoes, or even carrots.
- Meatball sliders are always a good idea!
- Serve these spinach meatballs over polenta! So good!
- Try serving these meatless meatballs over another grain like white, brown, or even cauliflower rice.
- Did someone say "meatball hoagie"? Add these meatballs to a hoagie roll or even a low-carb tortilla. Top with provolone, mozzarella, or Parmesan cheese and some marinara sauce. Add a touch of red pepper flakes or any of your favorite condiments.
- Wouldn't these meatballs be good inside a lettuce wrap, topped with roasted red peppers or some giardiniera?
- You can put these meatballs inside wonton wrappers with red sauce and a little cheese and bake them according to package directions.
- Why not eat these quinoa meatballs all by themselves? Finger foods are the best! Add a side of dipping sauce if you like.
Ideas for Customizing Quinoa Spinach Meatballs
- Use another grain like rice or barley instead of quinoa.
- Any kind of onion — red, yellow, or white — will work in this recipe. Mince them or put them in a food processor even to keep them from being too chunky. You want to taste them, not see them.
- If you don't have pre-seasoned breadcrumbs, add basil, thyme, or a pre-made Italian seasoning to the mix.
- Add more or less garlic — if you like to make sure to ward off vampires like I do, then you may like these as garlicky as I have suggested.
- Sub out the spinach all together or add chopped kale, broccoli, or any other finely-diced or easy-to-wilt vegetable to the mix.
- Change these meatballs into a meatloaf by adding the entire mixture to a greased loaf pan. Cook it at about 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, checking after 25 minutes for doneness. There is no meat in this dish so it could be ready sooner than you think!
There you have it — all my favorite ways to make Quinoa Spinach Meatballs. I hope you like them as much as I do!
Quinoa Spinach Meatballs
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- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 3 U garlic cloves, minced
- 8 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and completed drained of moisture
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 U egg
- 1 U egg white
- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes until fragrant and softened.
Add the spinach, oregano, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Add to a bowl with the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the eggs, whole wheat bread crumbs, and salt/pepper if needed.
Roll into 4 meatballs per serving (16 meatballs for 4 people) about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the baking sheet. This is 20 meatballs total.
Bake for 12 minutes on the first side. Flip over and bake for 10 more minutes.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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