I developed this recipe with turkey and quinoa, but have since used it successfully with just about every type of ground meat and variety of grain. The addition of grains not only adds nutritional value and keeps the texture light, but also helps those on a budget stretch a small amount of quality meat into a bigger meal. It's simple, clean, nutritious eating but will please even the pickiest of meatloaf lovers. Make extra grains and serve those alongside a green salad, steamed asparagus, or roasted vegetables. Enjoy!

Recipe Summary

prep:
35 mins
cook:
20 mins
total:
55 mins
Servings:
5
Yield:
20 meatballs
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Ingredients

5
Original recipe yields 5 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

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  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Mix ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce together in a small bowl.

  • Combine turkey, quinoa, eggs, parsley, sage, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add celery mixture and 1/3 cup of the ketchup mixture; mix until well-combined.

  • Spread 1/3 cup of the ketchup mixture on the bottom of two 9-inch square baking dishes. Form turkey mixture into meatballs with damp hands. Pour remaining 1/3 cup of the ketchup mixture over the meatballs.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until meatballs are no longer pink in the center and ketchup mixture is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

Substitute coconut or avocado oil for the olive oil if desired.

Substitute Bragg(R) Liquid Aminos for the soy sauce if desired.

You can also form the meat mixture into 2 meatloaves (using damp hands). Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), 45 to 60 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

419 calories; protein 34.7g; carbohydrates 35.8g; fat 16.4g; cholesterol 175mg; sodium 1657.3mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (6)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
05/01/2020
Used red wine vinegar instead of balsamic, brown rice instead of quinoa. Added 1/2 cup bread crumbs. It was still very moist when I made the balls. Just pulled it from the oven so I'll let you know how it tasted in a follow up review. Read More
(1)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/28/2017
I loved the tangy sweet sauce. I baked mine all in one 9x13 dish. My only issue was how wet the meatballs were they held together enough to bake but were so soft when serving. I think I might add a little breadcrumb to soak up some of the moisture next time that or leave the sauce out of the meatball mixture and only use the sauce in the bottom of the dish and to pour on top of. Overall very tasty and worth trying. Read More
(1)
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
11/09/2016
Decided to give this recipe a go tonight, figured it would be a nice and healthy experiment; I am beyond happy that I did! I decided to go the meatloaf route as didn't have time for rolling meatballs. I scaled everything back for 1 lb of turkey and left out the parsley as a personal preference. I didn't have low sodium soy sauce on hand so used regular and just scaled back the salt a bit. The texture and flavor of the loaf was wonderfully unexpected! The celery maintains a nice bite after the brief sautee, with enough "give" but enough "bite" to give a textural element different enough but not too extreme to really add nice depth to the dish. The quinoa also helps and just makes the whole "mouth-feel" of the meatloaf really unique and fun. I used one pan, instead of two, and as a result had to increase the baking time to reach 160 degrees. The one thing I will do differently next time (and there will be a next time!) is to simply grease the pan and move the ketchup mixture from the bottom and add it directly to the meat/quinoa mixture. I think that will lend itself better to a meatloaf and prevent the need/desire to get glaze from the top in every bite - the ketchup mix is so simplistic yet the zing from it really compliments the dish. I imagine that prepping the pan with the ketchup mix would be more optimal for meatballs, while a thick meatloaf would do better with the extra flavoring throughout. Overall, this seemingly "off the wall" recipe is delicious, fun to eat. Read More
(2)
Rating: 3 stars
01/28/2017
I loved the tangy sweet sauce. I baked mine all in one 9x13 dish. My only issue was how wet the meatballs were they held together enough to bake but were so soft when serving. I think I might add a little breadcrumb to soak up some of the moisture next time that or leave the sauce out of the meatball mixture and only use the sauce in the bottom of the dish and to pour on top of. Overall very tasty and worth trying. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
05/01/2020
Used red wine vinegar instead of balsamic, brown rice instead of quinoa. Added 1/2 cup bread crumbs. It was still very moist when I made the balls. Just pulled it from the oven so I'll let you know how it tasted in a follow up review. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 4 stars
09/19/2018
Wish I'd read the reviews first! I made the meatballs but was concerned over how wet they were as others mentioned. They definitely set up better as they cool but they pretty much fell apart as we ate them. I will make them again but would add a little more quinoa to soak up the liquid. The flavor was delicious! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/25/2016
A nice meatball recipe that is easily made gluten free by using tamari sauce instead of soy. The mixture is very wet but the meatballs hold up especially once they've cooled just a bit. The sauce is tangy and has a unique flavor to it. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
02/21/2017
I made this twice. The first time I felt the combo of the sage and balsamic glaze tasted odd. I switched it up to oregano the second time and personally liked it much better.. Read More
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