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Quinoa Balls

Prepare savory baked quinoa balls to replace traditional meatballs in a recipe or as a tasty appetizer. Serve the quinoa snack with your favorite dipping sauces.

Quinoa ball dipped into aioli.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate. Quinoa is a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids, and is highly nutritious. The quinoa seeds are small and round with a mild, nutty flavor and come in various colors, including white, red, and black.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Quinoa: Use white, red, or black quinoa, or use a combination of them to make my quinoa ball recipe.
  • Carrots: Tender carrots act as a flavorful binder.
  • Garlic: I suggest using two fresh garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Beans: Cannelini beans increase the protein and work with the carrots to bind the ingredients. You can also replace the beans with chickpeas or black beans.
  • Spices: Flavor the hearty quinoa balls with black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, and dried parsley.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Make it Green: Include greens like spinach or fresh herbs such as basil or parsley.
  • Up the Protein: Stir in flax or chia seeds for additional protein.
  • Use Seasonal Vegetables: Replace carrots with vegetables that are; I have tried acorn squash, butternut squash, and sweet or russet potatoes. You can also bring new life to any leftover cooked vegetables in the refrigerator.
  • Make it Spicy: Change the flavor by seasoning the quinoa balls with za’atar, taco seasoning, or my Slap Ya Mama’s Seasoning recipe.

How Do You Make Quinoa Balls?

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Combine 2 cups of water, quinoa, and salt in a saute pan and bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 2: Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Then, cover and cook for 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Transfer it to a mixing bowl.

Cooked quinoa in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Add the carrots and ¾ cup of water to the same pan and boil over medium heat.

Reduce and cover the pan; cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the carrots are tender and the water is absorbed.

Carrots and garlic searing in a pan.

Step 4: Add the garlic and Cannellini beans to the pan. Saute for another minute or until the water evaporates. Drain and add it to the mixing bowl with the quinoa. Set it aside and let it cool.

Beans added to the cooking carrots and garlic.

Step 5: Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the carrots and beans.

Quinoa, vegetables, and beans mashed in a mixing bowl.

Step 6: Add the black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and parsley; stir to combine. Set it aside to cool.

Spices added to the quinoa mixture in a bowl.

Step 7: Preheat the oven to 400℉ (204℃). With lightly oiled hands, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and line them onto the rimmed baking sheet.

The quinoa mixture rolled into one inch balls on a baking sheet.

Step 8: Spray the balls with avocado oil and bake for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

Quinoa balls baking in the oven.

Expert Tips

  • Drain the canned beans before adding them to the saute pan.
  • Use a potato masher or fork to mash and combine the beans and vegetables into the quinoa.
  • Let the quinoa, bean, and vegetable mixture cool before rolling them into balls to prevent them from falling apart.
  • Roll the quinoa balls with oiled hands to keep them from sticking to you.

Serving Suggestions

Dunk the balls into dipping sauces like sugo al pomodoro, hot mustard, sos czosnkowy, BBQ aioli, lemon dill aioli, Big Mac Sauce, or chipotle lime sauce for a quick snack.

Use the quinoa balls to replace regular meatballs, or serve them over a bed of mixed greens. They’re great with fresh salad like avocado cucumber tomato salad or cucumber beet salad. You can also stuff the quinoa balls in a pita with tzatziki and butter bean hummus instead of falafel.

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze the cooked or uncooked quinoa balls in a freezer-safe container or bag for 3 months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the balls in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat: Warm the leftovers in the microwave or the oven at 350℉ (165℃) for 5 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What vegetables can you use in these veggie bites?

I love using carrots and garlic, but this recipe is a great way to include hidden vegetables that may turn picky eaters away. Try adding zucchini, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, corn, or broccoli into the quinoa mixture.

More Vegetarian Recipes:

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Quinoa balls on a plate.

Quinoa Balls

Tressa Jamil
Make savory baked quinoa balls to replace traditional meatballs in a recipe, or serve them as a tasty appetizer or snack at your next get-together.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Appetizer, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 142 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • cups water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • cooking spray
Instructions
 
  • Combine 2 cups of water, quinoa, and salt in a saute pan and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Then, cover and cook for 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Transfer it to a mixing bowl.
  • Add the carrots and ¾ cup of water to the same pan and boil over medium heat. Reduce and cover the pan; cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the carrots are tender and the water is absorbed.
  • Add the garlic and Cannellini beans to the pan. Saute for another minute or until the water evaporates. Drain and add it to the mixing bowl with the quinoa. Set it aside and let it cool.
  • Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the carrots and beans.
  • Add the black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and parsley; stir to combine. Set it aside to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 400℉ (204℃). With lightly oiled hands, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and line them onto the rimmed baking sheet.
  • Spray the balls with avocado oil and bake for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Drain the canned beans before adding them to the saute pan.
  • Use a potato masher or fork to mash and combine the beans and vegetables into the quinoa.
  • Let the quinoa, bean, and vegetable mixture cool before rolling them into balls to prevent them from falling apart.
  • Roll the quinoa balls with oiled hands to keep them from sticking to you.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 4 Balls | Calories: 142 kcal | Carbohydrates: 25 g | Protein: 7 g | Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Sodium: 372 mg | Potassium: 451 mg | Fiber: 5 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 180 IU | Vitamin C: 2 mg | Calcium: 6 mg | Iron: 14 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Debra

Monday 23rd of October 2023

Tressa, I have some questions. On step 4 you say drain and add “it” to the quinoa. I assume you mean the carrot, garlic and bean mixture. But in step 5 you say to mash the carrots and beans and then add them to the quinoa. But they were already added in step 4. Pls clarify. Tx

Tressa Jamil

Tuesday 24th of October 2023

My mistake, I will correct the instructions immediately. Thank you for bringing them to my attention. You can technically mash them before adding them to the quinoa, but I just mashed everything together.

Deepti

Saturday 30th of September 2023

These Quinoa balls look so perfect! I am adding them to a gravy with rice for a complete meal. Thanks so much!

Tressa Jamil

Monday 2nd of October 2023

Yum, that sounds delicious.

Laura

Friday 29th of September 2023

What a great option for vegetarians! Such a good recipe!

Tressa Jamil

Friday 29th of September 2023

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Consider trying one of these vegetarian recipes, next!

Han

Friday 29th of September 2023

I just have one issue with this recipe and it's that it's too addictive. Seriously, I ate like 8 in one go!

Tressa Jamil

Friday 29th of September 2023

Wow, what a raving review!! I am glad my quinoa balls were such a hit!

Charlotte

Friday 29th of September 2023

I love making these Quinoa balls and putting them on my salads for lunch during the week! They keep me full and energized! Thanks for another great recipe!

Tressa Jamil

Friday 29th of September 2023

I love the idea of adding the quinoa balls to salad - happy you enjoyed them.