This has quickly become one of my “go to” meals – healthy, delicious, hearty, and relatively quick and easy. It has also become one of my favorite dishes to eat as a leftover for lunch with extra broccoli. The quinoa is a great way to make the meatballs moist and tender, while at the same time reducing the meat in the meal. The large quantity of broccoli relative to the pasta makes it filling AND lower in calories. (Sorry no picture – I ate it already!)
1 lb 99 percent fat-free ground turkey
½ cup cooked quinoa
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ to ½ tsp kosher salt, to taste
Olive oil spray
½ cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 24-oz jars low-sodium marinara sauce
6 cups broccoli florets
1 cup dry whole-wheat penne
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1. For meatballs: In a bowl, combine the turkey, quinoa, egg, oregano and thyme. Season with salt and set aside. Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat on medium-low. Add onion and garlic; sauté until translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Let cool; combine onion and garlic with the turkey mixture. Form into 10 to 12 2-inch balls.
2. In a large pot, combine the sauce and meatballs; cover and heat on medium. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, steam broccoli and cook penne according to package directions. In a serving dish, combine steamed broccoli, cooked penne and meatballs. Add sauce, as desired. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4.
Per serving: about 400 calories
In the interests of full disclosure, this is not an original recipe. I would give credit if I could, but I’m not sure where it came from and I can’t find it on the internet.