Friday, October 10, 2014

BBQ Turkey Meatballs with Cheddar-Corn Quinoa

I am a big fan of recipes that are basically a whole meal in one.  I've always been one who struggles with putting together a meal: main course, side dish, dessert.... I kind of lose steam halfway through and end up throwing a casserole on the table.  Recipes that give me a main and a side together make me excited.  So do recipes that combine stuff that my family likes (meat) with stuff that I like (quinoa).  And thus you have BBQ turkey meatballs over cheddar-corn quinoa.

I actually made this one weekend night and had quite a few people over for dinner: my mom and sisters, and many of the Cormiers.  I knew they'd be excited about the meatballs (plus Mark was grilling ribs), and I was ready to chow down on the quinoa.  Obviously I was more excited about that part - corn right off the cob, red onion, scallions and cilantro tossed with quinoa, cheddar cheese, and lightly dressed with apple cider vinegar, garlic and olive oil... mmmmm.  The quinoa was totally delicious - and that was despite my salt container's little metal spout popping off and dumping tons of salt into the quinoa as it cooked.  If everyone including me loved the super salty quinoa, imagine how good it would be minus the salt water?!  It's decadent but still light and healthy.

Then there are the meatballs.  I didn't try them, obviously, but besides the ground turkey, they at least have good stuff in there, like scallions, cilantro, paprika, brown sugar, and some barbecue sauce.  They get brushed with more sauce during and after baking, so they're extra flavorful.  Every single last meatball was eaten, with lots of compliments.

I feel like this meal is a good compromise: meat for the carnivores, quinoa for me.  And the real idea is that you serve the meatballs over the quinoa and get the best of both worlds.  Go for it, omnivores!


BBQ turkey meatballs with cheddar-corn quinoa

from Pink Parsley


BBQ Turkey Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch cayenne
2 teaspoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons barbecue sauce, divided

Cheddar-Corn Quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 ears of corn, grilled, roasted, or boiled, kernels cut from cobs
1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings and rinsed under cold water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 scallion, minced
3/4 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


1) Make the meatballs first: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spray lightly with cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl, combine the chicken, panko, scallion, cilantro, paprika, garlic, mustard, salt, cayenne, brown sugar,  and 2 tablespoons of the bbq sauce.  Lightly but thoroughly mix with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients.  Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, form the mixture into balls, and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

3) Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of bbq sauce to a small bowl.  Bake the meatballs 11 to 12 minutes, then brush with the reserved bbq sauce.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are cooked through (160 degrees in the center).

4) Meanwhile, begin to make the quinoa: Bring the quinoa, broth, and a big pinch of salt to a boil in medium saucepan.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked through.

5) Remove the quinoa from heat, and add to a medium mixing bowl.  Stir in the corn, onion, cilantro, scallion, and cheese.

6) In small bowl, whisk together the oil, pepper flakes, garlic, and vinegar.  Pour over the quinoa and gently mix to combine.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

7) Serve the meatballs over the quinoa.

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