by Jari Love
Do you love meatballs but are looking for a healthy or vegetarian alternative? These bite-size, meat-free meatballs will do just the trick without leaving your taste buds deprived.
Sautéed vegetables are combined with cooked quinoa, Italian breadcrumbs and flax “eggs” that act as a binder for these meatless meatballs. They’re perfect for those who eat a plant-based, vegan diet or for sneaking in some vegetables for picky eaters.
The whole family will enjoy this Italian dish gone veggie friendly. We enjoy serving ours over fresh spiralized zucchini noodles, but you can certainly use pasta if desired. Look for a spiralizer online or in most home goods stores.
Quinoa-veggie meatballs over zucchini noodles recipe
This vegan dish uses quinoa and vegetables that are formed into “meat”balls and then baked and served over zucchini noodles for an easy healthy dinner.
Prep time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 (24 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
- 4 large zucchini
- Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
- In a bowl, combine the flaxseeds and hot water. Mix well, and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a spiralizer, prepare the zucchini noodles, transfer them to a large bowl, and set them aside until ready to use.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables, garlic and olive oil. Season with onion powder, salt and pepper, and cook the vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To the bowl of a food processor, add the flax mixture, quinoa, breadcrumbs, herbs, nutritional yeast and roasted vegetables.
- Pulse the mixture several times to blend and chop until the desired consistency is reached. (If the mixture is too sticky to handle, add a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs.)
- Roll the mixture into balls, keeping them uniform in size. Bake the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm.
- Once baked, add the meatballs to a saucepot, and cover with the jar of tomato sauce. Simmer until warm, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Divide the zucchini noodles among bowls, and top with the meatballs and tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley, and serve.
Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.