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November 7, 2012

by Alyssa

Rosemary Quinoa Meatballs

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Rosemary Quinoa Meatballs | Gluten-Free | Queen of Quinoa

You know how sometimes your dinners are everything that you imagined? You're having one of those nights when you're craving a specific dish, think you can recreate it gluten-free, but realize you don't have the right ingredients in your pantry. So you throw what you have in a bowl, mix it up, bake it, and hope for the best.

That happened to us last night. And the result was phenomenal.

Rosemary quinoa meatballs.

A glorious dinner, with some even leftover lunch. It was that good.

Rosemary Quinoa Meatballs | Gluten-Free | Queen of Quinoa

Let's start by saying I'm in love with spaghetti and meatballs. It's one of my favorite meals, and always reminds me of my wonderful family. My mother makes an insanely good tomato gravy, but even better meatballs. They're moist and tender, full of flavor, and pair perfectly with the deep red sauce. Red meat, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, everything that I don't eat.

But with these meatballs, I had to change it up. My fridge was not obliging my traditional recipe, so I spiced things up and used what I had. Turkey instead of beef, rosemary instead of parmesan cheese, and quinoa instead of breadcrumbs.

The meatballs were outrageous, in a good way of course. Full of flavor, totally juicy and utterly delicious. I chose to serve them over spaghetti squash (which saves big time in the calorie department and also adds a ton of nutrients to your meal), and with (gasp!) jarred tomato sauce. I was in a rush and ended up completely satisfied. The meal (and leftovers) were amazing.

Rosemary Quinoa Meatballs | Gluten-Free | Queen of Quinoa

Rosemary Quinoa Meatballs

A glorious dinner, with some even leftover lunch. It was that good.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 450kcal
Author Queen of Quinoa
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  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons toasted quinoa flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 large spaghetti squash seeded
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups jarred or fresh tomato sauce, warmed
  • Freshly grated Locatelli cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fill a baking dish with 1/2-inch of water and place the spaghetti squash flesh side down. Bake until tender, about 20 - 30 minutes.
  • While the squash is baking, prepare the meatballs by adding all the remaining ingrediens (aside from the sauce) into a mixing bowl. Form the meat into meatballs (about 1-inch wide), and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Place on the lower shelf of the oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, rotating the meatballs halfway through.
  • Remove the meatballs and squash from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Scrape the squash out of the skin with two forks and serve into bowls. Top with tomato sauce and meatballs, sprinkled with fresh grated cheese.


gluten-free | dairy-free | sugar-free


Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 1030mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1590IU | Vitamin C: 12.3mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 4.8mg


Baking with Quinoa by Alyssa Rimmer | Queen of Quinoa

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. I was led to this recipe from a Meatless Monday’s Pinterest post. Very disappointed that it includes turkey! Sounds yummy but I’m looking for meat substitutes for meatballs and was hoping quinoa could be used. Any suggestions?

  2. Hi, i just read a recipe saying to soak the quinoa then boil it… Do you have to soak it before you put it in meatballs? …didn’t even know this stuff existed last wk

    • Hi there! I never soak my quinoa before boiling it, so I don’t think that’s a necessary step. It will make it cook less, but other than that I don’t really see the point 🙂 Let me know how it goes! xo

  3. I just made these tonight. They are AWESOME!! I had them with spaghetti squash and some homemade tomato/basil sauce that I had in the freezer. I love the rosemary flavor and will try other herbs and spices the next time. Thanks for this recipe! I would never have thought about using quinoa in my meatballs!

  4. These sound absolutely amazing! Especially with the added rosemary. And I bet they’re so much lighter than traditional meatballs.

  5. I keep seeing recipes using spaghetti squash instead of noodles. How different does that taste? I think I need to try it out. Also, I love the idea of using quinoa in meatballs. I just used quinoa in chili the other day and loved it.

    • Julia – spaghetti squash is AMAZING!!! I can’t say enough good things about it. It definitely doesn’t taste like normal pasta – it basically just tastes like squash, but feels like noodles. It’s such a great low-calorie and fiber-rich alternative to pasta. I could eat it everyday! And it holds up nicely to sauces which is always a plus. Let me know if you try it – I highly recommend it 🙂 Also, would love to see your Quinoa Chili Recipe – I have yet to experiment with that! xx Alyssa

  6. These look so amazing!! I am craving pasta (and meatballs) this week. Pasta is totally my comfort food, as much as I ADORE spaghetti squash and know it’s better for me, it is always so hard to choose that over regular pasta 🙂

    • Thanks Beth! I totally feel ya on the pasta situation. It’s hard to go the healthy route sometimes – especially when it comes to a hearty Italian pasta. Pasta is and always will be my comfort food. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with that 🙂

  7. Those look delicious and so, so easy!! I’ve been loving spaghetti squash lately and can always use another way to enjoy it!

    • Thanks Alisa! I’m so happy spaghetti squash is in season. So versatile and healthy! A fabulous alternative to my lovely carb-filled brown rice pasta 🙂

  8. what a coincidence!! i made spaghetti & meatballs last night too! it must be this cold weather (and our italian upbringing). do you have snow in VT? i miss you dahling!

    • It’s totally the cold weather. Plus spaghetti and meatballs might just be the best dinner ever. Ps – we need to catch up! I’ve been terrible about it, but I miss you!!


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