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Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

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Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs are hearty, healthy and delicious. Quinoa and ground turkey combine for mouthwatering meatballs, baked to perfection. Pair the meatballs with an Asian-style sauce for a wonderful finish.

This post and recipe card updated September 13 2020
Overhead shot of finished meatballs in a white bowl with a green napkin on the side

I never heard of quinoa until a few years ago, when my friends Jack & Betty introduced me to it. I tasted a little at a restaurant a couple of times, but that was about it.

When I finally gave in and made quinoa at home I cooked it in water, according to directions…and nearly threw it out. Quinoa cooked in water tastes like wallpaper paste.

The next time I used broth, and it was life-changing. Broth adds so much flavor to the quinoa and made me a fan. Kale and Quinoa Patties is on my regular menu rotation. I also love to make Steak Fajita Quinoa Salad and Chimichurri Shrimp Vegetable Bowl.

I always have ground turkey in the freezer because it’s versatile and a great substitute for ground beef. And one of my favorite recipes is Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • The hearty meatballs are perfect as a snack, main course, or appetizer
  • The sauce is easy to make and customize
  • The meatballs are freezer-friendly
Overhead angled close up shot of finished turkey quinoa meatballs in a white bowl

These Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs are so delicious! The meatballs are very tender, and the sauce adds a huge burst of flavor.

WHAT IS QUINOA?

Quinoa is a complete protein, is high in both fiber and iron, and is an overall good-for-you superfood.

Types of Quinoa

  • White quinoa has the most delicate texture.
  • Tri-color quinoa is a combination of white, red (richer taste and chewier texture) and black (earthy flavor)
  • You can also find red and black quinoa sold separately in some grocery stores.
TIPS FOR ASIAN QUINOA TURKEY MEATBALLS

Make the quinoa ahead! When I remember, I’ll make the quinoa in the morning and have it ready to go as needed. Notice I said “when I remember”…because I forget more often than I actually remember.

I prefer to use tri-color Quinoa for Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs because I like the depth of color. But I’ve made it many times with white quinoa as well.

Use 93% lean ground turkey. To me, the 97% lean is just too lean and dries out quickly.

Panko Bread Crumbs act as a binder and keep the mixture from being too sticky.

Sriracha Hot Sauce adds flavor and just a little heat. You can add more or less, to taste.

The sauce is simple to make, with only 6 ingredients. Make it while the meatballs cook, and they’ll be ready at the same time.

MAKING THE MEATBALLS

Use a cookie scoop to ensure that all the Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs are the same size.

Scoop the mixture out of the bowl, release it into your hand, and roll lightly between your hands to form. Don’t worry if they’re not all perfectly round.

A 1 5/8” cookie scoop yields 24 generous-sized meatballs when you make the full recipe. For an appetizer, use a 1 1/8” scoop.

Front shot of finished Asian quinoa turkey meatballs in a white bowl
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Add dry quinoa to a saucepan and toast over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add broth, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15-18 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl to cool.

In a large bowl add ground turkey, onion, garlic, green onions, salt, and pepper. Add quinoa and stir to combine.

overhead process shot: meatball ingredients in a glass bowl

In a small bowl, add eggs, add soy sauce, and Sriracha. Whisk to combine, and add to quinoa and turkey mixture. Stir mixture together well until fully combined

Using a 1 5/8″ cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into your hands, and roll into balls. Space meatballs in the baking dish. You will get 24 meatballs.

overhead process shot: meatballs in a glass baking dish

Bake 18-20 minutes, until cooked through.

WHILE THE MEATBALLS BAKE

Add soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, ginger, and Sriracha to a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Add to saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens.

Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish.

overhead process shot: baked meatballs in a white bowl, sauce in a measuring cup, plus sesame seeds and spring onions in small bowls

Pour the sauce over the meatballs, and finish with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions

Overhead shot of finished meatballs in a white bowl
SERVINGS AND OPTIONS

Tips for serving as an appetizer

  • Use a 1 1/8″ cookie scoop
  • Cook the meatballs for 12 minutes
  • Serve them in a crockpot or warming dish
  • Serve the sauce on the side, as a dipping sauce

Make-ahead Options

As I mentioned earlier, you can certainly make the quinoa a few hours, or even a day ahead.

Make the meatballs ahead:

  • Combine and roll the meatballs
  • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 4 hours
  • Transfer the meatballs to a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until you’re ready to use
  • Bake from frozen for 20-25 minutes

Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs are high on my list of favorite meals. I don’t make them as often as I should, and I really need to change that.

MORE MEATBALL RECIPES
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Asian Quinoa Meatballs - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

Yield: 24 meatballs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Asian Quinoa Turkey Meatballs are hearty, healthy, and delicious. Quinoa and ground turkey combine for mouthwatering meatballs, baked to perfection. Pair the meatballs with an Asian-style sauce for a wonderful finish

Ingredients

MEATBALLS

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dry
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves raw and roasted garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

SAUCE

GARNISH

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Instructions

QUINOA - MAKE AHEAD TO SAVE TIME!

  1. Add quinoa to a small saucepan. Toast for a few minutes, until nutty smell develops
  2. Add broth, turn heat to low, and cook, covered, for 17-18 minutes
  3. When finished, remove from pan and allow to cool completely. I make my quinoa a few hours ahead

MEATBALLS

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add quinoa, turkey, onions, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic. In a separate small bowl, mix eggs, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Add to dry ingredients, and combine everything fully
  3. Using a cookie scoop, form the meatballs. You may want to use your hands to help form the meatballs. You will get about 24 meatballs with a 1 5/8" scoop
  4. Place meatballs into prepared baking dish. Bake 18-20 minutes, until cooked through

SAUCE (make while the meatballs bake)

  1. Add soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, ginger, and Sriracha to a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water, and stir to combine. Add to the saucepan, and cook slowly over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened
  3. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, and garnish with the sesame seeds and spring onions

Notes

MAKING THE MEATBALLS

Use a cookie scoop to ensure that all the meatballs are the same size.

The meatballs will be very sticky, and that is okay...they will firm up in the oven

A 1 5/8" scoop yields 24 generous-sized meatballs. If you're serving as an appetizer, use a 1 1/8" scoop and you'll get 34-36 meatballs.

SERVINGS AND OPTIONS

Tips for serving as an appetizer

  • Use a 1 1/8″ cookie scoop
  • Cook the meatballs for 12 minutes
  • Serve them in a crockpot or warming dish
  • Serve the sauce on the side, as a dipping sauce

Make-ahead Options

As I mentioned earlier, you can certainly make the quinoa a few hours, or even a day ahead.

Make the meatballs ahead:

  • Combine and roll the meatballs
  • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 4 hours
  • Transfer the meatballs to a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until you’re ready to use
  • Bake from frozen for 20-25 minutes
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 6 meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 257Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 1342mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 23g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

Adapted from Damn Delicious

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Amelie

Monday 11th of December 2017

I was looking for vegetarian quinoa "meatballs", but these beauties instantly caught my eye. I'm putting this week's meal plan!

Karyl

Thursday 14th of December 2017

Thanks Amelie! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do

Leslie

Sunday 10th of December 2017

I've never thought to add quinoa to meatballs, but they look amazing!

Karyl

Thursday 14th of December 2017

Yes Leslie, quinoa is a great way to add protein and a unique texture to the meatballs. They are really delicious

Ben Myhre

Friday 8th of December 2017

That sauce looks spectacular.

Karyl

Thursday 14th of December 2017

Thanks Ben! It's sooo delicious

Helene

Friday 8th of December 2017

The sauce looks very tempting on the quinoa meatballs. I have got a lot of pork mince in the freezer right now, do you think I could use pork mince in this recipe too? This should be my Friday night dinner right now!

Karyl

Thursday 14th of December 2017

Yes, I think pork mince would work in this recipe as well! If you do try that, I'd love to hear how they turn out

Megan

Friday 8th of December 2017

These look so good, and I've been looking for something to serve as an appetizer at Christmas!

Karyl

Thursday 14th of December 2017

Thanks Megan! I know they will be a hit with your family/guests

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