Every January my favorite online Yoga Guru Adrienne hosts a 30 days of yoga ‘event’ where she posts consecutive free videos to help you reconnect with an at-home practice. Today, while on the mat, she commented: “use this space to play and explore!” Her motto of ‘find what feels good’ emphasizes not just forcing yourself into poses for the sake of it but really figuring out what works best for you in that moment. This also translates to my style of cooking. While I use recipes as a general framework, I am constantly experimenting. My goal is to get to a place where I don’t need recipes and I can throw together meals after work that are made of real food using a range of flavors.
One item on my cooking challenge list is to make meatballs from every continent. (Have any favorites? I would love suggestions!) Meatballs are such a relaxing dish to throw together. The act of mixing finely diced veggies and herbs by hand is strangely soothing. This particular recipe uses quinoa as the binder rather than breadcrumbs making them extra healthy. When making them myself I chose to increase the mushrooms and add some red onion for flavor since I didn’t have any chives or fresh ginger.
My goal for this meal was to serve these as our main dish and so I made the meatballs slightly larger than the original recipe called for. I was worried this would dry them out but I think the addition of mushrooms provided a bit of extra liquid and so they weren’t dry at all. Also, the sauce was so tasty that I ended up combining it with the remaining quinoa and serving it with the meatballs over spinach.
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 5-6 baby bella mushrooms
- 1/3 cup very finely diced red onion
- Drop hot sesame oil
- 1 egg
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (this is about 1/4 cup dry)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Ginger – ground – light sprinkle (didn’t measure)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tea toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Steps and Notes:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Saute the onion, garlic, and mushroom in light oil for 2-3 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa according to the package.
- Note: I suggest cooking a bit more than is required for serving with the meal
- In a mixing bowl combine the turkey, egg, quinoa, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, onions, garlic, and mushroom. Mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper.
- Form medium sized meatballs.
- Note: I know folks have lots of tricks for using various kitchen tools. I find my hands the best tool for these. I made about 10 with this batch.
- Place the meatballs on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
- In a separate bowl combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water.
- In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, brown sugar, sesame oil, and sriracha. Add 1/2 cup of water and whisk well. Then, add the cornstarch mixture until thick. This will take 2-3 minutes.
- Optional: Spoon 3 tablespoons of the remaining sauce into the remaining quinoa. Add some spinach to a bowl, then some quinoa and top with the meatballs to serve.
Thoughts for Next Time:
- Double the recipe, I wish I had these for leftovers for longer than they lasted.
- Sprinkle with fresh chives
- Make a bit more of the sauce for reheating leftovers (would have been easier to do this the first time when all of the ingredients were out).