26 Sep 2013
When my children were still small enough to mispronounce words, and insist mightily upon the accuracy of their own mispronunciations, “meatloaf” became “meatlove.” And thank goodness it did. I would so much rather eat meatlove than meatloaf. Wouldn’t you?
But there’s an even easier way to get around the name—make it as meatballs instead! Serve them with sauce and cheese in some crusty gluten free rolls and you’ve got meatball subs. Try them straight up on top of spaghetti with garlic and oil or a fresh tomato sauce, and a classic dinner is served. Make miniature meatballs and, instead of baking them, simmer them in a big pot of soup until cooked through. There are so very many ways to enjoy meatballs. And when you add the brand new Erewhon Quinoa & Chia Cereal where you might expect to use gluten free bread crumbs, these easy baked gluten free meatballs become a healthy bonanza of fiber and even more protein, too.
Since you may have never had the pleasure of trying this new Erewhon cereal, let’s talk about Quinoa & Chia for a moment. I can honestly say that I have never had another cereal quite like it. It has no more than a touch of sweetness from organic brown rice syrup, and even then the syrup is the second to last ingredient (ahead of only sea salt). That mere hint of sweetness both brings out and complements the nuttiness of the organic brown rice, chia and quinoa. This cereal is pure delight sprinkled over plain or flavored yogurt, and simply a natural choice for cooking and baking.
Now, I have always used bread crumbs in my meatballs (and my meatlove), and never considered them a “filler.” Using bread crumbs allowed me to add more flavor-packed ingredients, like Worcestershire sauce and marinara sauce, without worrying that the meatballs would be so moist that they wouldn’t hold together. Using crushed Erewhon Quinoa & Chia Cereal instead of bread crumbs means that the flakes do triple duty: structure + taste + nutrition. Home run!
Easy Baked Quinoa Meatballs
YIELD: 24 meatballs
DIET TYPE: Gluten Free
2 large eggs, beaten
¾ cup tomato marinara sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cups Erewhon Quinoa & Chia Cereal, crushed by hand
4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated*
2 pounds 96% lean ground beef
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the eggs, marinara sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and salt, and whisk to combine well. Mix in ¾ cup of the Erewhon Quinoa & Chia Cereal, reserving the remaining ½ cup to sprinkle on top of the meatballs before baking. Mix in 3 of the 4 ounces of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, reserving the remaining 1 ounce for sprinkling. Add the ground beef, and mix gently to combine well. You don’t want to mash the ground beef.
Divide the mixture into 24 meatballs, each about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Roll the portions into balls between wet palms, and place about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the tops of the meatballs with the olive oil, sprinkle with the reserved ½ cup of crushed cups Erewhon Quinoa & Chia Cereal and, finally, the reserved 1 ounce of grated cheese.
Place the meatballs in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the meatballs are golden brown and cooked all the way through. Serve immediately.
*NOTE: If you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, I bet nutritional yeast would be a great flavor-booster. Try replacing the 3 ounces of cheese that is added into the meatballs with a mix of nutritional yeast and more crushed cereal. Replace the cheese sprinkled on top with straight-up nutritional yeast.
Be well! NicoleCheck out my latest posts here