Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

Today I want to share one of my favorite comfort food meals with a healthy spin.  This recipe has a ton of flavor - is very easy to make and makes several servings so is great for leftovers. Since i'm not a huge lover of red meat and like to keep my meat eating lean where possible for this recipe I use ground turkey.  Everything in this recipe is made from scratch and is, you guessed it, healthy. Big shout out to my talented husband, who was a huge help in co-creating it. Here we served it with spaghetti squash and a side salad (not pictured).

 

The Meatballs:

Ingredients:

1LB 94% Lean Hormone Free Ground Turkey

1/2 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

1/4 cup breadcrumbs to help bind

2 gloves garlic

Salt & Pepper

*Blend all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with your hands - yep that's right get in there w/ those mitts. Once everything is well mixed start making golf ball size balls and place them in your roasting pan (make sure the edges of the balls are touching each other it helps them to cook).  Make sure all of the meatballs are roughly the same size so that they cook evenly. Cook in the oven @ 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the balls reaches 165 degrees (using a food thermometer).

 

The Sauce:

1 large jar or can of Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes (16oz)

1 TBLSP tomato paste

4 cloves garlic

1/2 large onion

1 large organic carrot 

1/2 cup organic baby bella mushrooms thinly sliced

1 handful basil 

2 TBLSP extra virgin olive oil

(Optional* - add a few handfuls fresh spinach)

Start by adding the diced 1/2 onion and diced carrot to a pan on medium heat with the olive oil. Cook the onion until it begins to look translucent with the carrot (approx 3-5 min). Next add the tomato paste and blend it well with the onion & carrot and cook another 2 mins. (Optional step: turn the heat to high and de-glaze the bottom of the pan w/ about 1/3 cup red wine). If you added the wine wait until it cooks down and thickens then turn the heat back down to medium and add the rest of the ingredients: tomatoes and sauce, mushrooms, garlic, basil. Cover and let simmer on med-low heat for at least 20 minutes but up to 1 hour. The longer it goes the more delicious and flavorful it becomes. Season to taste with salt & pepper before serving.

I always like to add in more leafy greens wherever I can so as an option throw in a few handfuls of spinach into the sauce at the end and let those wilt in the sauce for approx 1-2min. Serve over spaghetti squash or brown rice pasta (a few of my favorite brands are Jovial and Tinkyada - both have great texture and are less gummy than others i've tried).